Essay by:
Clifford R. D. Tollett
Emporia State University

Four little letters, that’s all it is. Or is it? I like to think I.O.U’S stand for Investing Outside the United States, which we as a nation seem to be doing. I would like to think it is about time to stop looking outward and start looking inward.

For a nation, such as the U.S., it is hard to have so many hands reaching out to you for help. And why should we not help when we have all these resources and the power to change so many lives. But, how much can we give of ourselves without stretching ourselves to thin? The national deficit is just one of the examples of us as a nation spreading our resources too thin. How you may be asking? It is simple, the U.S. gives out large sums of money to aid other countries, El Salvador, Mexico, Africa, etc… not to mention the money it takes to maintain peace and order in so many parts of the world. That would be fine if we had the money to give, but when our nation must take loans and monies from other countries to pay the bills, now that is a problem. We must be self reliant as a nation. What happens when one day the countries we borrow from ask for their money back now, or else? War is what; we need to stop the money bleeding from our generosity vein. Some people in this nation have it so good, that they often forget the starving people we have here. Is it more charitable to send the money overseas to show the world, “Look, Look, Look what we did for these people” that is not what charity is about. America has a duty to country first. How many people needed assistance after hurricane Katrina, earthquakes, flooding up North, or even Greensburg, KS after that massive tornado devastated that city? Our country needs and spends money too! Ever heard of saving for a rainy day? Or who was it that said, “A penny saved is a penny earned”, could it be Benjamin Franklin, one of our nations fore fathers. Do you think that he would recommend going so far in debt that the average American owes something like 100,000 to get rid of this debt? At this rate our children and our children’s children will be stuck dealing with this trillions of dollars deficit, is that fair?

A way to increase American tax dollars to wipe out the deficit, without raising taxes, would be getting more people to pay taxes. This may seem a little odd, but how many illegal immigrants live within our borders? How many of said people have children in public schools? Of those said parents, how many pay the full amount, if any, in income taxes? The answer would be low or nothing. I propose tightening the borders, and giving the illegal immigrants the right as Americans to pay taxes. This would not only give the government more spending money, but would also give more funding to our public schools among other things. The important thing is that America reduces its deficit and is more humane than uprooting and deporting so many families. Plus we all have rights, American or not.

Americans come in all sizes, colors, and ages. Most important to my essay is age. With increased life expectance of the elderly, the cost to support them also goes up. Medicare and Medicaid are federally funded programs that suck millions of dollars if not billions of dollars from our nation. I do not feel it right to take away much needed assistance to the people who need the care the most, as I said, we all have rights and most of us have an aging parent or grandparent who we can visualize when we speak of such things. However, I feel a change must occur soon in order to save and preserve our health care system. We must reform it completely, make it modern as technology and sciences are improving. The more effective and efficient it works, the more money we save as a nation to counter the rising debt.

I had a Vietnam vet tell me how to solve the problem of this recession and health care. He proposed that the government give every American over the age of 65 one million dollars, with one attachment, you had to stop working immediately for the rest of your life. I laughed, but once he explained that older people retiring would open up jobs for the younger generations I started to listen. “It would almost be less than what the government gave all those CEO at the financial institutions to stay open,” he told me. He gathered that his idea would let people pay off their mortgages, they would buy new cars with cash, give some to their kids to do the same, and they would have enough funds to pay for their own insurance for the rest of their days. Thus stimulating the economy, government gets the money back, and the banks stay open to fail another day. The wisdom of the elderly is too often overlooked.

In conclusion, the deficit is a complex problem, and whatever we decide to do it is going to take some major overhauling. But our nation cannot afford anymore I.O.U’S, especially when we do not have the money to give. I do not know if I will see the deficit fall, but I hope our law makers remember with change comes progress, and a penny saved is a penny earned.

Clifford R. D. Tollett

Re: I.O.U'S

I just hope that I did not offend anyone with my essay, we are all equal, Americans or not.

Re: I.O.U'S

Excellent points. I agree that illegal immigrants are a huge problem for our country. Why should we basically pay for them to live in our country? Yes, we should help them as much as we can, but they need to contribute some paying their fair share of taxes. Finally, I strongly agree with you that we need to help more of our fellow sick/hungry/poor Americans. These are our brothers and sisters!...shouldn't they have first priority? Maybe, after we have helped them make their lives better, we can start tackling other problems around the world.


Whitney Davis :)

Re: I.O.U'S

Very good essay! I agree with the fact that our country needs to stop giving other countries money when we have people in the U.S. who need it just as bad if not more. But, really, who knows if this will ever happen. Also the point you made about illegal immigrants and how they should pay taxes like us, is a very good idea!! If they are coming into our country to stay, they should do as we do, afterall, this is the U.S.!

Amanda Archer

Re: I.O.U'S


Essentially you are saying we need to help ourselves before we can help others, and I agree with you. You certainly provided many ideas, which I had yet to consider. The resolution that you mentioned that I found to be the most interesting is the one that the Vietnam veteran proposed. All of your plans are seemingly straightforward, and would probably be very helpful to our economy.

-Amber Vanderhofe

Re: Re: I.O.U'S

I too found the Vietnam veteran's idea to be quite interesting. I had never thought of anything like that before; however, his idea makes a lot of sense and is something to consider.
I like that you addressed the need to help our own country before helping others. I think it it is important to help out other countries with their needs, but when our needs aren't being met either perhaps we should take another look at our priorities.
-Amy Losey

Re: I.O.U'S

Interesting essay. I think that you addressed some issues that are a little more unique than I expected. However, I would like to mention that illegal immigrants to pay payroll taxes and social security taxes, so they do contribute. I don't know about income taxes, so I will take your word for it. =)
Oh, and I very much enjoyed your interpretation of IOU. Very creative!
Sarah Boykin

Re: I.O.U'S

I really dont agree that illegal immigrants are the causing factor, besides there aren't even jobs over here anymore for them to come over to. There may be a lot of them but I do not see anyway in how them not paying income taxes hurts us that much, its not like were missing money we never had. Also education does cost a lot but it is still no where near a big enough factor to have added much to our trillions of dollars of debt. It would be good for them to be citizens and have the extra money but right now that just isn't the way it is.

I really don't think charity is really hurting our country either. Where someone donates their own money is their choice, and yeah it would be nice if more people who donated to our own country's impovershed, It really has nothing to do with our debt.

The million dollar retirement sounds good though, it sounds solid in concept, but im curious about how it would work on paper. My concern with that is people can be just as irresponsible with money as banks, just look at the number of people struggling with debt in the first place.

The interview added a lot to your essay. Good job.

Chris Dvorak

Re: I.O.U'S

I really liked your explaination of I.O.U.s it was very creative. I like your essay because you looked at the money problem in a different way. I do agree that chunk of our money is spent helping other countries. However, I do not know if that is the main reason why we have such a high debt. Good essay.

Rachel Meinholdt

Re: I.O.U'S

Very good! I really liked how you put in the interview and all the examples in to the essay. Nice work.

Re: I.O.U'S

The part were you talked about the border was interesting and so true as for my opinion. Making them legal and paying taxes could help the U.S out a great deal!
-Jessie Ross

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