When government spends on the scale Washington’s got used to, that’s not a spending crisis, it’s a moral one. The Irish have a useful word for the times—flaithiúlacht—which translates to ruinous generosity, invariably with someone else’s money. There’s nothing virtuous about “caring” “compassionate” “progressives” demonstrating how caring and compassionate and progressive they are by spending money yet to be earned by generations yet to be born. That’s what “fiscal conservatives” often miss: this isn’t a green-eyeshade issue. Increasing dependency, disincentivizing self-reliance, absolving the citizenry from responsibility for their actions: the multitrillion-dollar debt catastrophe is not the problem but merely the symptom. It’s not just about balancing the books, but about balancing the most basic impulses of society. These are structural and, ultimately, moral questions. Credit depends on trust, and trust pre-supposes responsibility. So, if you have a credit boom in an age that has all but abolished personal responsibility, it’s not hard to figure how it’s going to end.
The U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt (and no, that’s not a satirist’s fancy but an all too real government body) uses as its motto the words of Alexander Hamilton:
"The United States debt, foreign and domestic, was the price of liberty. But in the early twenty-first century, foreign and domestic debt piles up to the cost of liberty."
And over time, as we see in the urge to expunge words like “default” and “foreclosure” and indeed any form of consequence from life, they have a debilitating effect. A society can cope with corroded infrastructure and a devalued currency more easily than with corroded liberty and a devalued citizenry.
Steyn, Mark (2011-08-08). After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (Kindle Locations 291-293). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.