Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The National Debt

Question: Wouldn't it be better for the U.S. Government to borrow money from its own people rather than to borrow from China?

After adjusting for inflation, World War II was the most expensive war America has ever fought. That war was paid for mostly with war bonds sold to American citizens. After WWII, the war in Iraq is our second most expensive war, and is being paid for mostly with bonds sold to foreign countries--mainly China. Because of that war, we have built up a staggering amount of debt to China and other nations.

During WWII, our government had huge success with war bond drives. Movie stars, sport stars, and other celebrities volunteered their time to travel around the country putting on shows and selling bonds. Volunteers went from door to door selling bonds. Bond drives were promoted on stage, radio, and in movies (There was no TV then.) It became an act of patriotism to buy bonds.

It was a whopping success. Our bonds not only paid for our own war effort, but also went to supply our allies with huge amounts of war materials. Now my question is this: why don't we start bond drives to to repay our debt to China, and to support our war in the Middle East? I think the present generation of Americans are just as patriotic as The Greatest generation, but they haven't had a chance to prove it (except by displaying ribbons supporting the troops.)

Wouldn't it be better to be in debt to our own people than to be in debt to foreigners? Wouldn't it be better if all that interest on the national debt went to our own people rather than to foreigners? (After WWII, the interest that Americans earned from war bonds helped people to buy homes, send kids to college, etc., thus boosting the economy.)

Unfortunately, our leaders at the time we went to war in Iraq did not want the American people to know how expensive the war would be, therefore they borrowed from foreigners rather than from Americans. In the eyes of our leaders, war bond drives would only have served to highlight the expense of the war. Now is the time to reverse that kind of thinking.

Let's let our representatives in congress--and the president too--know that that the American people can be trusted to support efforts to eliminate the national debt. Start bond drives on a WWII scale and get foreigners off our back.

Note #1-- Our population has nearly doubled since WWII, so the humongous amount of bonds sold then should greatly increase.

Note #2--Series E bonds have been on sale (as savings bonds) since WWII ended, but there has been no bond drive even approaching the drives of that war.