The Corner

Re: In Defense of the Deficit

From a reader (again without further comment from me):

Jonah, really I expect better of you.  To link to such a shallow piece of thinking without comment is almost inexcusable.  First there is a factual error in the piece, which states that America has never paid off its national debt.  In fact in 1835 and 36 the US had no debt which led to the distribution of the surplus to the states.  Secondly the author puts forth the notion that we should all just accept the debt as a fact of life.  Everyone who loves this country should reject this thinking outright.  The simple fact is that larger deficits mean a larger debt, a larger debt means more debt service payments, which in turn is money we can’t use for things like tanks and planes or healthcare depending on your political philosophy.

Yes, paying off the debt would tighten the money supply, but without the debt service payments we could afford to give the American people the largest tax cut in history.