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What is the national debt Spending financed not by current taxes but by borrowing or drawing upon past tax reserves Is it a good idea Why does the US run a deficit Will the government ever pay the national debt off Some people say the national debt is a bad thing and predict possible doom others say it is a safe and stable necessity to maintain a healthy economy In the beginning the Government only generated deficits during the War of 1812 the recession of 1837 the Civil War the depression of the 1890s and World War I But as soon as the war ended the deficit would be eliminated and the economy which was much larger than the amounted debt would quickly absorb it But the Federal spending has grown over the years especially starting in the 1930s in actual dollars and in proportion to the economy President Roosevelt sought to use the full powers of his office to end the Great Depression He and Congress greatly expanded Federal programs Federal spending which totaled less than 4 billion in 1931 went up to nearly 7 billion in 1934 and to over 8 billion in 1936 Then US entry into World War II sent annual Federal spending soaring to over 91 billion by 1944 Thus began the ever-increasing debt of the United States The last time the budget ran a surplus was in 1969 during Nixons presidency until recently with a boo ming economy lead by President Clinton In the 1980s the budget grew to record levels because the Government cut income tax rates greatly increased defense spending and didnt cut domestic spending enough to make up the difference As a result the national debt grew in size after 1980 growing from 709 billion to 36 trillion in 1990 only 10 years later What if the debt is not increasing as fast as we think it is The dollar amount of the debt
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