WASHINGTON - Twenty-one years ago this summer, a 59-year-old financial adviser from Florida named Jack Gargan
began running full-page ads in newspapers around the country decrying a rising national debt then approaching $4 trillion.
"I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going to Take It Any More," the ads said in bold, one-inch type.
ran them in 633 newspapers, embedding a coupon in each one that asked supporters to drop a check in the mail to support future ads.
warned about rising debt in hundreds of appearances on television and radio talk shows and at town hall meetings in all 50 states.
produced T-shirts emblazoned with the name of his
organization, "Throw the Hypocritical Rascals Out," or THRO, and compared members of Congress to "drunken engineers on a runaway train" taking the country to the "precipice of economic disaster."
Gargan was an early ally of Ross Perot, when Perot ran for president on an anti-deficit, United We Stand ticket in 1992.
Gargan eventually became chairman of Perot's Reform Party, where he was an ally of former Minnesota Gov.
, now 80, has watched this latest chapter unfold from his
home in Thailand.
In 2005, he
Cedar Key, Fla., home and moved abroad "because I saw all of this coming and thought the time was right for me to get out of Dodge," he
says via e-mail.
keeps in touch with politically active friends, writes an Internet newsletter and catches the latest news on U.S.-based cable networks.
"What is going on in the U.S. financially has everything to do with my move to Thailand," he
U.S. debt is "absolutely unpayable," Gargan
says, unless the dollar is significantly devalued and the political system does what it so far has been unwilling to do.
Of the $2.1 trillion debt-cutting deal, Gargan
says "spineless" politicians "kicked the can further down the road with infinitesimal cuts, mostly way out in the future.
They're all living in Georgia now, Gargan
says, and since those first ads they have produced eight great-grandchildren.
Six other grandchildren have been born since the original ads ran, and they're spread out over Ohio, North Carolina and Florida.
"They are all positioning themselves for the big crash, which is yet to come," Gargan