The John Adams Society

G. Larry Colson, Jr.
Chairman

Mark S. Sanquist
Secretary

Peder Mewis
Chief Whip

Susan Smith
Chancellor

May 2010

When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.

- Winston Churchill

WHY WORRY ABOUT THE NATIONAL DEBT? Our largest creditors would never dare to demand payment. We could never transfer that much real value to anyone quickly, so the government would just turn on the printing presses, and run off whatever amount of paper was demanded. Our creditors would have lots of nice green paper, but it would be worth less than what they had before. When you owe the bank $1 million, you have a problem. When you owe the bank $10 trillion, it is the bank that has the problem.

Considering the size of our economy, our national debt is high, but not unreasonably high. Our ratio of debt to GDP is around half of what it was after World War II. We have seen worse debt problems in our own history, and we are better off than one-third of the world today. Why fix a problem if all the fixes are worse than the problem?

ON THE OTHER HAND, at some point the government will try to reduce the debt, if only as an excuse for some mischief. Their options are to reduce expenditures (hoping for Obama to do this requires real audacity), raise taxes, or inflate the currency. We would see tax rates on “the rich” as high as those in Great Britain before Thatcher, knowing full well that their economy slowed to a crawl as entrepreneurs and the rich “went Galt.” Their other option, printing money, would wipe out our national debt, along with all of our financial assets, and probably kick off worldwide hyperinflation, like that in Germany in the 1920s. It can be devastating to outgrow your illusions.

THE CHAIRMAN, convinced you are what you owe, and that therefore we should increase our national debt, has called a debate to settle the question:

RESOLVED: The National Debt is an Illusion.

The Debate will be held on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 384-6776 or the Secretary at (952) 887-2553.

www.johnadamssociety.org