The national debt (the amount of outstanding loans to the Government—bonds and other liabilities—presently stands at approximately 21 trillion dollars.
This is equivalent to approximately sixty thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child in the USA.
Thus a normal family of four owes the public a quarter of a million dollars in an unsecured loan.
How in the world are you ever to pay that back?
The young nation faced a similarly daunting situation when Jefferson assumed the presidency. His solution was to appoint Albert Gallatin to the Treasury:
Gallatin was treasury secretary for 12 years, longer than anyone else. He would lead an executive department for the next century. He put the country’s finances on a bold new republican course.
He abolished internal revenue taxes in peacetime, slashed federal spending, and repaid half of the national debt. He stoutly resisted military spending because he thought a well-armed government was more likely to waste the country’s resources in war.
His frugality became the hallmark of American public finance for more than a hundred years.
It has been done before, it must be done again.