No. 575



A few weeks ago on a flight into Cincinnati, my seatmate was a man by the name of Jim Wood, who was from Wilmington, Del. We visited amicably for several minutes and then he pulled out a book and began to read. After a bit I caught a glimpse of the cover and it was "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell.
If you are a regular reader, you may recall that several months ago, after reading this terrific book, I wrote a column about the premise and the concepts it contains. This 280-page treatise advances the concept that often little things can make a big difference. The author gives a wide array of examples where seemingly small, insignificant events turned out to be the "tipping point" that opened the floodgates for the proliferation of new products, trends and even social and economic epidemics.
I shared a little of this information with Jim Wood, just enough to whet his appetite, and then I passed along what I believe to be the real tipping point, which is to say the Grandfather of them all. You may not agree with the theory that I have promulgated, but in my mind what I am going to say is in the national interest, as we are all affected regardless of our politics, our social status, our age, race or national origin. The comments that will follow are certainly not meant in a threatening way, but rather some from-the-heart information, to give you something to think about.
No doubt you have heard the saying, "The straw that broke the camel's back." This is that point in time when a camel has been loaded down with all the weight that he can possibly carry and then someone adds a little bit more, that straw that makes it impossible to continue and the camel collapses under all the weight. I believe the real tipping point in our nation has already come or is fast approaching, when our massive national debt reaches the point that economic recovery is no longer possible and we go under. According to Lou Dobbs, CNN News, our nation is currently paying $373 billion "interest" annually on our national debt, primarily to China and Japan.
Anyone who has ever made a house payment understands the interest must be paid on a loan before anything is ever paid on the principal. Something else Lou Dobbs said that really got me to thinking was when he told about a spot near the Los Angles Seaport where the sun sets two hours early. This is a spot where the sun can't get through because the massive pile of shipping crates is stacked so high, because of merchandise coming into our country, as opposed to those being used to ship things out of our country. In the year 2006, the projected balance of trade deficit is $800 billion. Do you get the picture?
Here is the real question. Is it possible for a nation to go under just like a business or an individual? To be sure, there are people making economic decisions for our country who are much smarter than I but I still wonder if we are getting perilously close to the tipping point. Here is another question you may want to ponder, if you love our country and want to see us continue to prosper. How did we get to this point in our history when the national debt is more than $8 trillion? The obvious answer is that we are spending more money than we are taking in. But why are we doing it? That's the real question.
To sum up what I have been saying, the real tipping point comes when we have more people working for the government on all levels, and those who are getting financial help from the government, grants and entitlements, and they vote to elect people who won't cut them off. Have you also noticed that members of Congress show up back in their home districts with the federal checkbook just before an election? You may know that Congress now has an approval rating of only 25 percent, which is really a national disgrace. There is a real tipping point.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")