The national debt casts a huge shadow of the American economy. It’s only getting bigger as time goes on and there seems to be little progress in reducing it. Most people must think that the debt has always been there and always will be. However, in 1835 President Andrew Jackson paid off every cent of the debt and for the first and only time in history, America was debt free. So, here’s what he did to achieve this, and why it didn’t last very long.
- Selling Off Land
At this time, American owned much of the land in the West, so Jackson, who hated owing people money, started selling the land. America’s debt at that time was $58 million. In today’s money that’s about $1.5 trillion compared to the debt today which is around $20 trillion. They have some work to do to pay that off. I doubt America could sell land to pay everything off but they could rent more land out and slowly chip away at the debt. It won’t happen in one big payoff. It has to happen little by little.
There’s talk that President Trump will cut corporation tax in half. This will lead to more multination settling their businesses in America. This is good because more land will be rented out and sold, and the companies will all be paying taxes. Whether or not it will make up for the slash in the tax rate remains to be seen.
- Cut Spending
The source reads, ‘’He blocked every spending bill he could.’’ This is a fairly obvious one. A lot of the debt comes from interest on loans that they can’t pay back. The interest just keeps going up and China and Japan are just laughing their asses off. Jackson did not improve infrastructure and instead spent the money on repaying the debt. Now, if Trump really plans to build a wall across the border, that’s going to cost a lot of money that they don’t have. What he should do is collect the money he plans to build they wall with and use it to slash the debt, not build it up more.
There are certain things the government spends money on that are completely useless. Reportedly, the government spends $25 billion a year maintaining federal buildings that are unused and vacant. Why don’t they stop doing that and place all that money or at least some of it on the debt? at the very least renovate the buildings to be shelters for the homeless. $25 billion a year will go a long way to paying off the debt and it might stop the need to borrow so much.
- What Went Wrong?
Unfortunately, this joy didn’t last for very long, and America hasn’t come close to paying off the debt since. The banks began printing excess amounts of money once the country was running a surplus. America couldn’t run this way, so, as John Steele Garden said, “It was a huge crash and the beginning of the longest depression in American history.” It would be half a decade before the Government saw any improvement and during this America was forced to borrow money.