Thursday, September 30, 2010
I paid off the national debt! (partly)
Lots of concern about the national indebtedness of the United States of America these days. It drives Tea Partiers to rage, get economists all bothered, provides ammo for politicians to do and say all kinds of things. And the average Joe (the non-plumber type) worries and frets.
What to do? I decided to just go ahead and pay it off. Well, part of it anyway. Precisely $20 of the approximately $13,500,000,000,000 we owe as a federal republic. I made a contribution to the Bureau of the Public Dept, which is part of the US Treasury Department.
A drop in the bucket. Actually, by my estimates, more like a drop in twenty million buckets (standard drop volume, 5 gallon bucket).
I figure we each owe about $42,000. At the rate we've borrowed (Treasury bills yielding an average of 5% these days, maybe) the annual interest on this per capita amount is roughly $2,000. So, my $20 doesn't even come close to covering even the interest on my share. But $2000 does. And if I chipped in $4000 per year, I'd be actively paying down my share!
When you start figuring in things like the fact that inflation will discount the debt with time, and with economic growth, the debt will get more manageable, this big problem seems more solvable.
Sending in $20 does something else: it signals to our elected leaders that we're willing to shoulder the burden. Maybe it will drive home the point that we are willing to assume responsibility for the services we receive from the government. Maybe that will enable pols to act with a bit more courage: cut some expenditures, raise some taxes.
What about you? How about joining me and chipping in a few bucks? Are we going to complain about the debt? Or do something about it?