Saturday, July 7, 2012

Debt, According to George Washington

Ron Chernow's Washington, A Life is a rich history of the life and character of George Washington.  Dense but delightful, we see Washington in a light not explored in grade school history books.  That is too bad because Washington was a complex man whose character was a deliberate evolution of his desire to, above all, do the right thing. In every area of his life.

Consider Washington's advice to his nephew on the subject of debt:  "there is no practice more dangerous than that of borrowing money...for when money can be had in this way, repayment is seldom thought of in time...Exertions to raise it by dint of industry ceases. It comes easy and is spent freely and many things indulged in would never be thought of, if to be purchased by the sweat of the brow (emphasis mine).  In the mean time, the debt is accumulating like a snowball in rolling" (108). 

Those representing us in Washington should consider Washington's words.  As should each of us.

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