Thursday, December 12, 2002

The National Debt: much ado about nothing

What I just posted (below) leads me to speak briefly about deficits and the national debt. A lot of people get really, really concerned about the size of the national debt. Now, I can understand that intial reaction. But I don't think shrinking the debt should be a top priority for any administration, let alone Bush's. Here's why:

The national debt is nearly six trillion dollars. That's a lot of money. But consider this: as our economy continues to grow over time, six trillion dollars will progressively become a smaller and smaller percentage of the GNP. Presuming that we do not add considerably to the debt, that six trillion dollars will -- in a couple of decades -- be a relatively insignificant amount of money which we will easily be able to pay off.

Maybe I'm missing something, but that seems pretty straightforward to me. Note that I'm not encouraging deficit spending. I'm simply saying that we don't need to put debt-payoff among the top priorities of our nation. While this sort of money-management wouldn't work for a family or company, I see no reason why it can't work for our country.

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