Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

National Debt, Congressional Controls, and Limits

Graph of the National debt of the United States showing the amount owed by our federal government and ultimately by the People under Congressional Controls and Limits.The National debt of the United States is the amount owed by our federal government and ultimately by the People under Congressional Controls and Limits. When Congress cannot balance Oligarchy’s desired spending budget (e.g., for oil subsidies, unnecessary wars, contamination cleanup, tax breaks for the rich, etc.), it simply borrows more by a vote to raise the debt ceiling of the People. Consequently, the U.S. is one of the most debt-ridden counties in the world. The Figure shows that debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product which is a surrogate for the ability of the Public to pay the interest or pay down the total. The large jump in the 1940s was to pay for WWII; the large jump around 2010 was due to the lack of Congressional controls and risk limits on bank debt and risk-taking causing the 2008 economic meltdown disaster.

The interest is paid from federal taxes. The Fed has held the interest rate near zero for the last eight years, but is starting to increase it. Our Congress is holding tax rates on the Oligarchy (corporations and the very wealthy) at historic low levels.

The People are more aware than Congress about the effects of excessive debt, For Congress mistakes mean raising the debt ceiling; for the People, it can mean living on the street and family breakup. The People are far more concerned than Congress about burdening their children with debt, and the consequences of debt as they age. They are far more likely to limit the National Debt than our Oligarchic Congress. Nevertheless, the People will be hit the hardest, though they had no say in the matter. The People have an absolute right to influence these debt obligation decisions.

With the Initiatives Amendment, the People will have the power to control the quantity of debt that their government can borrow in their name. This control can be exercised in various ways, but will probably be done most easily by setting annual percentage changes rather than by annually changing the authorization limit. Emergency authorizations are another issue.

Probably the Candidate Initiative proposals on National Debt will lead to an Advisory Initiative, then when the People define their preferences, a Direct Legislative Initiative will set the controls and exceptions.