Congress gets what it pays for
It is hard to believe, but another standoff in Congress is about to start. March is now when Congress is to create a new budget. We can expect renewed outcries that if the government takes on more debt, the world will come to an end. So here is an alternative to consider: More debt is not bad. The bad is how we get out of debt.
You see, taking on debt is a ho-hum deal. Have you bought a home by using a mortgage? How could you have done such a foolish thing? Because you expected to pay it off with part of your future income.
Government debt can be paid off the same way, but it also has a couple of other ways. A country can simply refuse to pay its debt off. That’s like bankruptcy. Or a country can grow its gross national product, making its debt a smaller percentage of its wealth. Or, as right now, a country can use inflation to make its debt less of a burden (paying off a $100 debt with money worth only $1, thanks to inflation, is easy).
But the single most fair and easy way to pay off a country’s debt is using income to pay it down. Where does that income come from? Taxes, mostly.
So the real problem with debt is not how high it gets, but how willing we are to pay more in taxes to pay down the debt we take on to do things we want, such as infrastructure, education, medical care, military security, and other stuff we like. Just like buying that house. In the end it is up to Congress to accept that we have to pay for what we want.
Tell that to your senators and representatives.