Back in school, I learned that the definition of credit is: credit gives a person the ability to enjoy goods or services before completely paying for the goods or services. Your response might be, “tell me something I don’t know.” Apparently, as a society we may know that credit is limited in our own life but as a society, we think that the credit party never ends.
You might ask, what does this have to do with fitness equipment…things like treadmills and ellipticals? The answer is just like you can borrow from your future by skipping out on exercising today, you can leverage the future of the tomorrow’s society by spending money today that someone else is going to have to repay down the road.
In some circles, taking something that is someone else’s is called stealing but we just call it national debt. Just like our society, at one time, thought we could eat all we want and then just take Fen-Phen to take all the weight off, we found out that there is no free lunch. The drugs worked to take the weight off but some people found out that the drug might cause problems with hypertension and the valves in their heart.
In all the political ruckus over things like healthcare, relations with foreign countries, liberals and conservatives, defense, and social security the one thing you don’t hear about very often is the fact that as a society, we are all stealing from the societies of the future. Since I am approaching middle age, I realize that one of the groups that is having their future stolen is me!
Fortunately, I’m not my kids or someone who is 20 years old because at the current pace, future generations are going to be paying for our collective party for the rest of their lives; having a lower standard of living and having to pinch society’s pennies when the game of fiscal musical chairs ends with the younger generations left standing without a place to sit.
Some say, we will just print more money to inflate our way out of debt but we are already doing that today and the US dollar just keeps stronger because other countries have mastered the art of running their printing presses at double time. Others say that we will just have to tell debt holders that we can’t pay them the full amount…something equivalent to a national bankruptcy but the issue with that is you only get one stab at doing that…ask Argentina.
When a government proves themselves untrustworthy, borrowing money at a reasonable rate becomes as common as a Zebra without stripes. Just like the makers of Fen-Phen found out, one day the party will end and the more reckless you are and the more you ignore the reasonable results of your actions, the bigger the headache when the bell toils and the party ends. The Fen-Phen debacle ended up with legal liability somewhere in the $12 to $21 billion range. When our ability to steal the future ends, it will make Fen-Phen seem like child’s play.