In his column (July 23) Cal Thomas bemoaned the “folly” of increasing the national debt, arguing that “Americans should regularly consult the real-time debt clock and ponder the future.” One can only imagine that many Americans would welcome the luxury of pondering the future from a nationally syndicated perch rather than from the unemployment line. Instead, our neighbors are wondering how they’re going to make ends meet past July.

Thomas may be a singular buffoon, but his worldview of prioritizing balance sheets over the people who generate the nation’s wealth is depressingly common.

We’re not allowed to ease people’s suffering without accounting for every penny. Yet, somehow, we have the money to bail out “too-big-to-fail” banks while too-small-to-notice Americans find themselves evicted and foreclosed upon. We support a military budget roughly the size of the next seven largest national militaries, combined, but allow child care expenses to eat up family budgets. We allow $32 trillion in private wealth to be held in offshore tax havens while complaining that people use their SNAP benefits to buy birthday cake.

We have the money. What we lack is the will to put it to use where it’s needed.

Americans need to decide what the role of the people’s government should be. We can continue to treat recessions, health crises and the ordinary wear-and-tear of life as acts of God — storms for other people to weather — or we can build a boat big enough for all of us.

Carrie Jadud, Lewiston

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