U.S. debt paid in full — in 2079

The debt: This is not a party problem, this is a national problem. It is most likely more complicated, but the simple arithmetic is this:

The most recent surpluses were 1960, 1969, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.

Our best surplus year (which was under Clinton) was the year 2000: $236 billion.

If we were to get to a surplus of $236 billion [in 2013], and then had a surplus of $236 billion from here on out, and apply those surpluses to the debt, it would take 67 years to bring the debt to zero.

That is the year 2079.

Well, I won’t be around; our kids will be in their 90s, our grandkids will be in their 60s, our great-grandkids will be in their early 40s, and our great-great-grandkids will be in their teens or early 20s.

The money the government borrows TODAY (and the services used TODAY) will not be “paid off” until at least the year 2079, and the folks paying for the services that we are using today will be our (yours and mine) great-great-grandkids.

It just doesn’t seem right.

Thomas Jefferson: “Loading up the nation with debt and leaving it for the following generations to pay is morally irresponsible. Excessive debt is a means by which governments oppress the people and waste their substance. No nation has a right to contract debt for periods longer than the majority contracting it can expect to live.“

Frank Pepper

Fayetteville, Ga.

fpepper
fpepper's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/19/2007
Jefferson, Debt, Response

STF - 1) First, I don't think Jefferson's personal debt has anything to do with the argument at hand...
2) My error on the quote (and I'll be more careful) - as someone said, it seems to be a summary of his thoughts. I was thinking of the Sept. 6, 1789 letter to Madison.
3) I have in fact studied much of Jefferson and Jefferson's time. You know he was a complex and sometimes contradictory man.
4) This needs more research, but Wiki says Gallatin started with 80 million in debt, and even with the 15 million for Lousiana, brought the debt down to 45 million. If I am reading that right, Jefferson did not, in fact, "greatly indebt the country to buy Louisiana". (STF, enlighten me please if you have more information on that).
5) My point is - if we need to borrow, what are we getting? 500 million acres? OK borrow the 15 million. I read we were borrowing 2 million per day for the civil war...what did we get? The Union. Yes, borrow it. WWII - what did we get? (wellll, we're not speaking German, and neither are the British or the French) Yes borrow the money. (I would like to research to see how long it took to "pay back" each of those borrowings)
6) What are we getting today, for our trillion dollar deficits? I can't see the benefits of our borrowing, compared to the above examples...
7) One last thought: I read (but not sure if it is fact) that the equivalent of the 15 million for Louisiana Purchase is 284 million in today's money; if that is true, the trillion dollar deficits each could buy -4- Louisiana purchases each year, and again, I do not see that kind of benefit for our borrowing.
8) I am afraid we are squandering our money, and as a nation, "living high on the hog" on borrowed money. We are a nation with a high standard of living, but much of it is supported by borrowing that our generation will not pay off.
9) Go back and read (about the middle of) the Madison 1789 letter, where he talks about France borrowing from Genoa, "give us money that we may eat, drink, and be merry in our day..." (and should future generations pay) I am afraid that we are guilty of that...

stranger than f...
stranger than fiction's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/27/2012
Mr. Pepper, thanks for your reply on Jefferson

I appreciate someone who bothers to read and understand history before citing it, and I can see that you have conducted some studies of Mr. Jefferson's administration.

Indeed, Jefferson borrowed $15,000,000 to buy Louisiana, but that was a great bargain and well worth modifying his anti-Hamiltonian philosophy to double the size of our country.

Jefferson and Gallatin did indeed significantly reduce the national debt. Most of this reduction was achieved by greatly reducing military spending, for which he was criticized mercilessly by the Congressional hawks and Federalists. I would gladly follow Jefferson's debt reduction philosophy and allow military spending only for defending our borders instead of policing the world. We could significantly reduce the national debt by cutting military spending in half and letting the rest of the world govern itself!

I know it is a fantasy, but what a wonderful fantasy to bring our brave men and women home instead of nosing into everyone's business around the world.

fpepper
fpepper's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/19/2007
STF - I agree (Foreign Wars and Nation-Building)

STF - (I think) I agree - (and moving from debt to foreign wars and nation-building) - I am trying to get my thoughts around "nation-building", and your thoughts would be appreciated... I was just reading an introduction to MacArthur's 1951 speech to Congress (will read it soon - am buried in some Lincoln reading) and I thought about Korea and Japan...

Now, about recent events, I heard an assessment and I agree with it:

Afghanistan - I myself think we should have gone in and taken out the Taliban, and then - (the assessment said) the error made by the Bush Admin was the objectives were changed, from an in-and-out strike (like the first Gulf War) into nation-building. I agree with that assessment.

I agree that we should not have gone into Iraq, number one, and number two, after having gone in, to try to stay and do nation-building there, was a mistake.

So, how are those different than Japan in 1945 (well... maybe the times were different, and "the enemy" is different)

And, was there value in "nation-building" in Japan, right after WWII, and was there value in how we helped S. Korea? (Looking at Japan and S. Korea today, and especially looking at the differences between S. Korea and N. Korea.)

So, how and why is that different today? (Besides the cost in lives (first), and money).

(Trying to get my thoughts together on all that - again, (I think) I agree with you that it would be best to pull back and just defend our borders).

stranger than f...
stranger than fiction's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/27/2012
Mr. Pepper, a Plea for Military Reduction

I believe that we are on the same page as far as Mr. Bush’s (probably Cheney’s) ill-conceived wars. Attempting 21st Century nation building in countries mired in 16th Century thought is ludicrous and has cost tremendous blood and treasure for no appreciable gains.

1945 Japan was quite different since an organized nation attacked us in 1941, and we had a defined army to whom we could retaliate. Our post-war occupation converted Japan into the 3rd largest economy in the world (which they warmly embrace today), and their dependence upon the USA as a trading partner prevents any thought of military action against us.

South Korea, likewise, values us as a trading partner and appreciates our freedoms; therefore, we have little to fear of hostile military activity against us. President Truman wisely brought McArthur home when he determined that further military action would bring populous China into the war. The USA was unwilling to fight a war against the hordes of Red China, and there was no reason to waste lives if we would not complete the task.

You ask, “How are we different today?” Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan has any intention of shedding their religious beliefs in favor of personal freedoms and democracy. Indeed, the religious fanatics need the US military presence in their countries to justify their own existences as fighters against the “great Satan.” Otherwise, they have no real purpose to exist. Mr. Obama disastrously added a costly “surge” which gave the Taliban and other religious fanatics greater prominence as defenders of their faith.

The USA will continue these boondoggles (e.g., Viet Nam) until our leaders covenant only to send Americans into hostilities with established, specifically defined military objectives that are achievable by our intervention alone. As soon as these targets are achieved, our military must move out immediately. Why is this so difficult to understand? Perhaps there is something in the water in Washington, DC that deludes our leaders, or (more likely) the fact that we possess such enormous hegemony in world military strength compels our leaders to flex our muscles and awe everyone else. Reducing our military may be a first step in reigning in our leaders’ recklessness.

fpepper
fpepper's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/19/2007
STF - Good link on Foreign Policy

STF - Excellent analysis, Thanks.

A friend sent me this link, and I think well worth reading - among other things it states how we "held back" in WWI and WWII (until we saw tht Europe couldn't work their way out), and then evolved into the world's "first responders"... and he recommends we get away from that... if you get a chance, please give me your thoughts on it.

Stratfor, "Avoiding the Wars That Never End"

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/avoiding-wars-never-end?utm_source=freeli...

stranger than f...
stranger than fiction's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/27/2012
Thanks for the linked article Mr. Pepper

The article was well-written and the analysis was quite reasoned. Our current enemies are a different sort than the nations we have fought in the past 100 years. I, too, trust that the USA will terminate its "first responder" mentality and also set military goals that are clear and achievable with specific end points and exit strategies before sending our soldiers into harm's way.

Again, thank you for the link.

fpepper
fpepper's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/19/2007
STF - I agree (Foreign Wars and Nation-Building)

xxx

fpepper
fpepper's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/19/2007
STF - 1) First, I don't think

xx xx

stranger than f...
stranger than fiction's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/27/2012
Bogus Jefferson Quote

Mr. Jefferson lived and died in enormous personal debt. He greatly indebted the country to buy Louisiana from Napoleon, but it was a great deal. The above quote was not directly from Jefferson either. Check out the official Monticello web page:

www.monticello.org/site/blog-and-community/posts/how-bogus-quotes-are-born

Arguments predicting the future are so much more believable when one takes the time to understand the past he is citing.

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2007
STF - But Jefferson

Did say these things about national debt.

http://www.pafamily.org/_files/live/FamilyUpdateFactSheet09-01.pdf

You can check the sources if you like. The "quote" referred to is a summary of the study.

S. Lindsey
S. Lindsey's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2008
Quote may be bogus but sentiment remains...

Heck even Obama said that a $10 TRILLION dollar debt was unpatriotic...

...of course it's over $16 Trillion dollars now so....

I find I agree with Obama... on a lot of what he says...just very little of what he does.

Recent Comments