History of National Debt- Is It Repeating Itself?

moneyThe United States of America has basically been in debt since the country began so many years ago. In fact, the history of national debt dates back to the year 1791 when at that time the country was in the red by $75 million dollars. Today, that number has risen to a frightening $75 million dollar AN HOUR loss and it continues to climb! In fact, the only time in American history that the national debt finally reached zero was on January 8, 1835 under President Andrew Jackson, unfortunately it didn’t take long for the debt to grow into the millions again. Now the country’s debt is well into the trillions with no sign of it drastically falling anytime time soon, or at all. So, how did this happen?

There is a common factor with regard to debt and war. For instance, while the country’s debt hovered around $65 million for some time before the Civil War, by the time the war had passed the debt had risen significantly to approximately $2.7 billion. While the debt had fluctuated for years, it slowly started to increase in the 1910’s through the 1920’s and after the United States in involvement in the First World War, that number rose to $22 billion. Even further still that number rose as the result of our involvement in the second World War and by the end of it, the country found itself in debt by a staggering $260 billion!

For a time after World War II the national debt increased gradually and kept up with the rate of inflation. By the 1980’s, the debt encountered a rapid increase but did find a slight decrease by the end of the Cold War. That relief didn’t last long and between the years of 1980 to 1990 the debt nearly tripled in amount. Even more staggering is the fact that by the end of the year 2005, the debt had reached $7.9 trillion, almost 9 times the amount for which it was in 1980!

While the price of war contributes immensely to rise of our national debt, it isn’t the only factor. There are several government and private agencies that have a hand in the astounding constant growth of this debt. The current state of our economy including the War on Terror and the recent financial bailout on Wall Street has helped this already astounding figure approach almost 11 trillion dollars. Every year there is a “debt ceiling” or a amount that Congress will not allow the debt to go over, but every year this number seems to get set higher and higher.

Like the popular saying goes, history repeats itself and it seems as though the history of national debt is no exception. There are many different theories and arguments about possible ways to bring the debt down and all the while the arguments go on, the debt continues to rise. All things are possible, there may just come a day when the debt will be diminished; however, it’s doubtful the debt will ever become history!


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