The Ecphorizer

The National Debt
Charles Walton

Issue #49 (September 1985)

There is a way to reduce the federal deficit, without reducing military expenditures and without reducing Social Security and valuable social programs.

[quoteright]The interest charges on the national debt are billions and are the third largest budget item. They might become the biggest item in the next few years. Therefore, tell the bankers and lenders that the US will pay zero or no more than half of the present interest charges each year. Horrors, some will say. The bankers won't lend any more money! The bankers will foreclose! The financial system will collapse!

But no, the bankers may howl, but there is nowhere else to put all that money. "Foreclosure" cannot happen where there is only a single client, the Federal Government. Rather, confidence in the financial system would be increased if we can stop increasing the debt and start paying it off.

I own Treasury certificates myself, and my money market account is in part assured  Treasury certificates. I would earn less interest on these accounts. I would cheerfully accept this penalty if it made the system less precarious, and if the penalty were spread to all other investors.

What we as citizens can do is insist, through elections, that our officials be financially responsible and start paying off the debt, including the step of an interest moratorium. Our insistence would apply to both Republicans and Democrats. Neither party has been responsible. It is within the voters' power. 

CHARLES WALTON, also appearing in this issue for the first time, is president of a Silicon Valley electronic product development and consulting firm.

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