EP 372 America: A Debtor Nation

James Madison, the architect of the written Constitution, said that our nation’s founders developed limits on debt that would be ‘clearly visible to the eye of the ordinary politician’. That was then and this is now. While we lived by that well-defined principle for the first 200 years of existence, America has begun to pile up debt at an astounding rate, since 2001. And if we didn’t enter the coronavirus moment with substantial enough debt as a nation, some say this period and the ensuing infusion of cash from the Treasury and The Federal Reserve to avoid immediate calamity has heaped on trillions more making it a tipping point. So, do you care? Does it really make any difference what our debt to GDP level is? By many measures, people still want to buy our debt, interest rates and inflation haven’t risen and the dollar is still strong. After all, we’re the reserve currency of the world. But is it time for America to stop digging a larger debt hole and get to the business of living within our means or taxing more for the services we enjoy? To discuss the issue at hand is Bill White, author of ‘America’s Fiscal Constitution’ and former mayor of Houston, Texas and Deputy Secretary of Energy in the federal government. As reports keep reminding us, Medicare and Social Security will need to be replenished sooner than later. Political leaders in Washington have to act. They may need to hear from you as to what you want to do. This episode will give you the background you need to understand the context and depth of the problem.