In the early days of our government debt was considered to be a last resort. The only justification for debt of any significant amount was a war. By 1849 the U.S. Government had accumulated a surplus of 70 Million Dollars. Immediately after the Civil War the debt stood at 3 Billion Dollars. By 1900 this had been reduced to under $1 Billion. By 1919, the end of World War I, the debt had climbed to $25.5 Billion.
In each of the following years the debt was reduced, and by 1930 stood at $18.1 Billion. With the collapse of Wall Street in 1929, the country fell into the Great Depression, which lasted until 1940. At that time the debt had climbed to $51 Billion.
By the end of World War II the debt was $269 Billion. Again the government worked to reduce the debt, and by 1949 it was $252.7 Billion. At that point the Korean War started, sending the debt to $274 Billion by 1955.
Since then, there has been no serious effort to pay down the debt. The main point to be made was that on three separate occasions a major debt reduction effort had been made, but in the past 55 years in spite of much out cry of the American people there has been no significant results from congress or the president. The American government now says by 2002 the debt will be 356.057trill,while our politicians talk of balancing the budget by the year 2002, not one of them has proposed a plan to start paying down the debt. The knew plan, in my opinion will not pay off the national debt or the interest we owe on it.
Consider this: If there had been no deficit during the 1990’s, the debt would still have increased by $1 Trillion. If there had been no deficit, our gross interest payments would be slightly lower. Slightly, but not enough to change the growth of debt appreciably. The American Government’s way of dealing with the national debt is basically to ignore it is even there.
If this is business as usual it needs to stop now before my generation is paying over half of its net income on supporting paying off the national debt, the interest on the national debt, and then supporting the baby boomers. In order for generation X to aquire the American dream we have to do a Couple of things. First, we have got to get in the ballot boxes . If the politicians realize we are voting they will have no choice but to take what we are saying seriously.
Second the politicians and economist need to sit down and come up with a real plan , and not just another bi-partisan agreement ,but one that will benefit the country, and not just individual goals. I will be the first to admit that I am not an economist, and that I don’t know everything about the world ,but I do know that it can’t be as complicated as the politicians make it seem. I have given you the fact , and I have given you my simple opinion on what my generation must do to keep the American dream alive into the 21st.century.