LETTER: Creating a debtor state

The Pennsylvania Capitol building is seen in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, July 10, 2017. Monday marks the 10th day of a budget stalemate between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

As our state government leaders work on finalizing the budget, we hear the treasury will need to borrow almost 10 percent of the entire budget to cover approved expenses that will occur over the next eight of 12 months. What do they think happens after that? I can’t imagine there will suddenly be $3.2 billion available to cover the principal and interest for that loan and then another $3 billion to cover the inevitable shortfall for the next budget year.

With one of the largest legislative bodies in all of the U.S. (costly), with a public-employee pension system that is roughly $60 billion in debt (staggering) and with no talk of substantive changes to our state’s systems (discouraging), we’re in for a long, rough ride. Not to suggest the solutions wouldn’t be a painful process, but the willingness of government to kick the can down the road is troubling.

I used to think that people much smarter than me were in positions of power and authority, that they surely knew what they were doing and they most certainly had the long-term health of our society as a priority. Alas, I was wrong. It is clear that our selfish human nature is in control of our actions. No one feels they should be the one to suffer. From the people who would rather collect benefits than work to the legislators who won’t reorganize themselves into a more cost-effective governing body, we’ve all talked ourselves into thinking that we deserve anything we can get as long as it is legal.

I am now convinced that we will borrow ourselves into a debtor state and nation and the great American experiment will expire just as so many great civilizations have before. Why should we be surprised; human nature is in control.


Hellam Township