Our Public Debt: An Historical Sketch with a Description of United States Securities

By Harvey E. Fisk | Go to book overview

Part II--Descriptive

CHAPTER I
Some Comparative Data

PRIOR to the war the debt of the United States amounted in round figures to $1,000,000,000. Since the beginning of the war the debt has increased in the sum of about $23,000,000,000, so that the debt to-day is about twenty-four times the amount at which it stood before we began to take an active part in the world war about two years ago. We may assume, when adjustments and settlements have all been made, that the maximum debt for the present war may reach about $30,000,000,000. However, against this total should be placed an asset of around ten billion dollars of interest-bearing obligations of foreign governments representing some eight and a half billion of loans made to our Allies during the progress of the war, together with another contemplated billion and a half of similar loans. It may be expected that in the process of time these loans will be repaid and, as the law under which they were made expressly stipulates that repayments shall be applied to the liquidation of a corresponding amount of national indebtedness, we may expect eventually that this large portion of our indebtedness will be paid without it being necessary to call upon the tax payers for a contribution in any form either on account of principal or interest.

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