The Founding Fathers and National Debt

My piece, cross-posted from Bloomberg “Echoes”:

Although Republicans in Congress agreed this week to suspend the U.S. debt limit for three months and forestalled another budgetary showdown, most commentators think the peace won’t last. There’s sure to be a fight over automatic spending cuts scheduled to kick in March 1 (part of last year’s debt-ceiling deal), followed by a looming deadline for funding the government that could lead to a shutdown. And House Speaker John Boehner has vowed to block any long-term increase in the debt ceiling without corresponding spending cuts — in effect, holding out the possibility of default as a means of controlling the country’s debt. As Republicans engage in this brinkmanship, they claim to be defending principles enshrined in the Constitution: low federal taxes, little spending, no public debt. In fact, however, the Founding Fathers were deeply committed to — some might say obsessed with — supporting a national debt.

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