“As we return once again to our regularly scheduled program of ‘Crisis And Impasse,’ let’s take a moment to consider the following heretical idea: We have no debt problem.”
That’s the take-your-breath-away lead to a commentary by Zachary Karabell on the business section front of today’s Washington Post. Karabell gives a concise overview of the American debt debate from the time of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson through William Jennings Bryan and the long-running confrontation over the gold standard, up to the present day. We’ve been arguing about this stuff for a long, long time.
The article is not long, and it’s worth reading as a refresher on the history and economics of the spending-taxing-borrowing debate that’s likely to concentrate the mind of American politics for the next two years, or more.
The problem with debt, Mr. Karabell says, is that we use it to “avoid making hard decisions.” Amen.
The spending, taxing and borrowing decisions are important. Mr. Karabell concludes:
“How we spend and how we use debt will shape our future. We will be none the richer if we eliminate our debt without building a new economy.”
Mr. Karabell is the author of “Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in the 21st Century.”