Feb 1, 2018
There was once a very large family which was rich in assets, spending more than their income, and thus heavily in debt. The father proposed to build a big fence on one side of the property. Since they had no money to pay for it, he promised the people on the other side of it would pay for it. Few in the family thought it was needed, but the father insisted it was needed for their safety from those people. Most of the family did not feel they were unsafe, and if they should be, the big fence wouldn’t do any good.
Later, when the people on the other side refused to pay, had no obligation or reason to do so, he said we will just borrow more to do it. He said someday, someway, he’d fulfill his promise to get the money from those people, through a scheme that seemed very hard to understand or believe.
And he said to the family, if you don’t support me in this, I’m going to punish some other people. These people were not members of the big family, had hoped to be, and were law abiding, honest, hard working, and paying their taxes. They were very afraid of the father. He was in a position to harm them with a stroke of his pen.
Then, the father promised to give big Christmas presents to the family this year. He admitted he didn’t have the money to do it, but he said he could borrow the money and that the outcome of this big Christmas would be so great for everyone, and that somehow it would pay for itself. Very few family members believed that could happen.
But he found a way to borrow the money for the Christmas presents, even though the family was heavily in debt. Enough older children supported him to get the bank to agree. He couldn’t show how it would get paid, so he just said, “Trust me, I’m the smartest person ever. I am a genius.” So, they did.
Then, at Christmas, it turned out that some of the youngest children only got a small piece of candy in their stockings, while older children in the same family received new bicycles, iPhones, and laptops. The oldest got new Teslas, and not the cheaper Model 3 with delayed production, but the luxury Model S with a range of 300 miles. The father took one for himself.
When the youngest children asked about the way Christmas gifts were divided up, the father berated them. He called them names in public–one Pocahantas, another Crazy Jim, and continued with Sneaky Dianne, Frankenstein Al, Wacky Frederica, Crooked Hillary, Crazy Bernie, and many other names.
He said they should trust that the older children would let them play with their toys and they would get to ride in the Teslas sometimes. None of that seemed to be happening, because the older children did not really want to share. They felt they deserved everything they got, and more.
He said if the younger children did not like it, maybe they shouldn’t be in the family anymore, because he didn’t want anyone in the family who wasn’t “on my team.”
This is a real family. This really happened. It’s a very big family with a lot more younger children than older children, a lot more who got very little, while a few got a lot.
There are many outside the family who are threatened with punishment if he doesn’t get everyone agreeing to the new fence, and very soon. The family doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills next month unless he gets his way, so he can borrow even more–$1 Trillion dollars to pay for the big Christmas and to pay family bills. He has a lot of armed guards stationed around the family property already, and it costs a lot of money to provide for them. No other family has anything like that in the way of guards and expense and debt—only this family.
Most of the younger kids saw through the broken promise of the new fence for security reasons and who would pay for it, and they saw that the “big Christmas” was big only for the older kids and very, very small for the younger kids. They didn’t see any promise fulfillment and felt highly betrayed. But the older kids had more power.
And a very strange thing was also true in the family. A smaller group of the younger kids who got very little continued to believe the father. They believed their security was at risk. They believed the small gifts they got were great and that they would get more later, as promised. They joined the father in threatening the other kids who didn’t agree.
And for those outside family threatened with punishment, this part of the family agreed. They thought it would be just fine to punish those people. They only cared about their family, and only for those who agreed with the father.
No one knows what’s going to happen to this family, which was once a great family.
4 thoughts on “A Story of a Family”
1.5 trillion / 150 million + 10k each – now add 1.5 trillion + 25 billion to our national debt. – GDP to debt ratio could be 100% – does this say that our income will just serve the dept? What does that do to our bond market?
You perfectly depict the level of frustration with this situation. Also how it has been enabled by those who get their piece of the pie. In a fairy tale, the morality is that good wins over evil – we need to make this story have a happy ending
At my 50th high school reunion I reconnected with Rev. Robert Voss, who has been a JESUIT Missionary in Central America for over 30 years. He is now stationed in Honduras. He told me that Honduras used to be a peaceful country but now has the highest murder rate in the Hemisphere. He said that the problem started when Bush Ns Obama began sending young Hondurans who were brought as children to the USA and got exposed to the gang and drug culture here, got in trouble here then got deported back. He said that the Honduran police and military are overwhelmed by the numbers and the viciousness of these youth criminalizes in the US ghettos os LA, Atlanta, Miami and other American cities!