Debt is a word you hear on a regular basis. It happens to be a word that sometimes conjures trepidation and has people shrinking away from fiscal responsibility and awareness. It is also a word and concept that is greatly misunderstood as people mistakenly look at the tree and not the forest. These happen to be reasons why I like learning about all things debt as I enjoy those things most people shy away from.
Debt is what I am mostly reading this month but with a particular focus on national debt. You hear a lot of talk about national debt in this country. How much do you really know about national debt? Do you swallow and repeat the talking points you’ve heard on national debt without any in-depth reading and research on the subject?
If, for example, anyone tells you that the national debt is just like personal debt and that it should be paid down and balanced just like your household budget then they either know nothing about debt, or are misleading you to go along with their specific agenda.
National debt is not the same thing as your personal debt.
In order to understand why you need to do some reading. One of the quickest routes to knowing what the national debt is and why it is in existence is to look at the differences between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.
Hamilton’s Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt by John Steele Gordon is a brief book, not discovered by enough, that takes what could be a dull topic and details the life of our national debt. He illustrates how a national debt “properly funded and serviced, can be a potent instrument of national policy.” He shows the history of our national debt from its birth up to the year 1997 when the book was published. As he proceeds from it’s birth up to more recent times, John Steele Gordon covers the pro’s and con’s of a national debt and how it has deviated from Hamilton’s original workings. It is a nice overview of the subject.
For more on the national debt you will have to dig deeper but a look at Hamilton is an excellent start.
Until next time, good reading.