The Public Debt of the United States: An Historical Perspective, 1775-1990

The Public Debt of the United States: An Historical Perspective, 1775-1990

The Public Debt of the United States: An Historical Perspective, 1775-1990

The Public Debt of the United States: An Historical Perspective, 1775-1990

Synopsis

This volume presents a comprehensive history of the U.S. public debt from 1775 to the present. The authors document how the public debt has accumulated and review the methods the government has employed to manage and administer it. Their goal throughout is to put the current debt situation into historical perspective, providing an objective evaluation of both the current levels of debt growth and the effectiveness of debt management policies and administration.

Excerpt

In recent years there has been a growing concern over the rapid increase of the national debt, or, to give it the official title, the Public Debt of the United States. This concern is not surprising, since the public debt has tripled over the last decade, and shows no sign of declining. a belief exists in the country that action has to be taken to reduce the size of the debt. As this book goes to press, administration and congressional negotiators have just approved a plan to reduce the size of the government's budget deficit in the coming year, 1991, and for the next five years. the plan reduces the projected deficits, but does not eliminate them. the public debt will continue to grow, and unless further deficit reductions take place, its present size will double by the end of the century. the debate over the deficit will continue, and the fear that the public debt is growing too fast will be of considerable importance to both sides.

Anxiety over the size of the public debt is nothing new in the United States. Even before the Constitution was passed in 1790, our founding fathers worried over the size of the debt that had developed during the Revolutionary War, and how they were going to pay it. Ever since that time, the size of the public debt has been an issue of concern to government officials, as well as to the public. This book presents a comprehensive history of the public debt over the course of our history as a nation, to the present day. It describes how the debt was accumulated during wars and recessions, and what impact macroeconomic policy has had on its growth. It also details how the debt itself had an impact on the economy, particularly with respect to the banking system.

In making this study, our purpose was to describe as objectively as possible what had caused the debt to . . .

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