Mr Ryan views debt as an “existential threat”, a great drama whose cause is self-indulgence and whose end is enslavement
“We face two dangers: long-term economic decline as the number of makers diminishes and the number of takers grows and, worse, gradual moral-political decline as dependency and passivity weaken the nation’s character.”
In retrospect, the story of the past half century is that Americans found a way to extract money from future generations and leave them with the bill. What they have been enjoying is not prosperity but luxury. As Mr Ryan sees, they face the serious and open question of whether they are morally capable, over the long term, of living within their means.