Photo: President Joe Biden meets with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to discuss the debt ceiling on May 9, 2023 in the Oval Office; creator: The White House; public domain
Perhaps the reason few candidates mention the national debt is because no one has a solution. Even the candidates running as problem-solvers don’t seem to have any answer for this question. About twice a year, our Government can’t borrow any money to pay its bills because it has reached the debt limit. So Congress goes through a charade of raising what it calls the temporary additional debt limit.
Congress should not raise the debt limit any more, permanent or temporary. This would stop the fires of inflation caused by printing Government bonds, which are then exchanged for Federal Reserve money (also printed by the Bureau of Engraving) to pay for those Government bonds.
Next, the Government should sell some of the property, mostly unused, which it has acquired during the 250 years of our existence. Much of the land in Alaska and our Western states is owned by the Federal Government.
In addition, there are many idle Federal properties in the East and South, such as shipyards, military posts, training camps, old forts, and old post offices. It has been estimated that half of the national debt could be retired by selling off Federal lands from all over the country.
Not only would this bring immense savings in taxes now levied to pay the interest on the national debt, but if Federal lands were sold to private owners, they would cease to be tax-exempt and would begin paying their fair share of local school and property taxes.
Many states live under state constitutional provisions that require a balanced state budget. The Federal Government should start imitating those of our states which forbid their governments to spend more than they receive in taxes.
Our next President should stand firmly against raising the debt limit and work to cut the budget to get our nation’s financial situation under control. There are ways to fix this problem, and the next administration must begin to implement them so the debt crisis doesn’t get worse than it already is.