Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Debt kills

As the disaster in Haiti continues to unfold, television viewers here in the United States are getting a crash course in the island nation's history.

The historical tidbit that gained my particular attention was the stinging indictment of the French that appeared on CBS news.

That may be in part to my natural predisposition against French politics.

Anyway, it turns out that Napoleon and his successors put a 150 million franc stranglehold on the emerging democracy back in 1825.

This was supposed to be for reparations the French slaveholders "suffered" during the Haitian revolution.

The slaves themselves received no reparations for their years of forced servitude.

Anyway, it took Haiti more than a century to pay off that staggering mountain of debt . . . 1947 to be exact.

I'm not saying that Haiti could have emerged as the proverbial shining beacon of light to the rest of the world if not for French extortionists, but we Americans could learn a vital lesson from this bit of history about the long-lasting impacts of carrying a massive national debt . . .

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