No, economic virtue did not end at the nation's beginning. Upon leaving office in 1953, for instance, Truman drove back to Missouri with Bess in his own car and settled in the humble Independence home he and his wife had once shared with his mother-in-law, there to live out his remaining days.
No horses, no wine cellar, no mansion, no slaves, no personal trainer, no Jimmy Choo shoes, no debt.
By Jack Cashill
Posted: March 25, 2010 ~ 1:00 am Eastern
In his book, "Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage," celebrity journalist Christopher Andersen shows how the Obamas' reckless spending pushed them to enlist Bill Ayers to help Barack write his much acclaimed 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father."
According to Andersen, Obama was "hopelessly blocked" in his effort to honor the $150,000 contract Simon & Schuster had advanced him three years prior.
Obama was particularly worried because he had spent $75,000 of the advance and had produced nothing. In 1993, the publisher canceled the contract but let Obama keep the money after he pled poverty due to "massive student-loan debt."
At the time, the Obamas, still childless, were making $250,000 a year between them. Michelle had a personal trainer and a closet full of Jimmy Choo shoes, but their creditors would have to wait.
After his agent secured Obama a smaller contract with the Times Books division of Random House, Barack decamped to Bali-Bali – in the hope that he would be able to finish the book without interruption. That did not happen, either.
With a new deadline pressing, Michelle recommended that Barack seek advice from "his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers." The rest is history, at least to those of us who are paying attention.
Personal debt is nothing new. "He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing," said Benjamin Franklin some 250 years ago. As I show in my new book, "Popes and Bankers," we have been in debt as a nation and a people from the very beginning, Thomas Jefferson being a classic prodigal.
The difference between Obama and Jefferson, though, is that the latter did not project his personal failings onto the nation as a whole.
In George Washington's first term, Jefferson, as secretary of state, went head to head with Alexander Hamilton and his Federalist allies. Jefferson saw debt as the fuel for Federalist ambitions and pulled in the reins, or at least tried to.
In 1798, while serving as vice president under John Adams, he argued that the surest way to reduce the scope of national government would be to pass a constitutional amendment "taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing."
On the home front, however, Jefferson was something else.
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