The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National DebtBook - 1997
Measured at the staggering amount of $5.1 trillion (and growing every day) the national debt is unfathomable to most Americans. What we may not realize is that the United States was born out of debt. After the Revolution, the brilliant Alexander Hamilton was less interested in paying down the Revolutionary war debt than in using it to create a vibrant national economy. "If it is not excessive," he declared, "a national debt will be to us a national blessing." In a fascinating narrative brimming with colorful characters, historical accidents, and American ingenuity, business historian John Steele Gordon leads us on a tour of an American institution whose largely unknown story has been integrally entwined with our country's destiny. At key points in U.S. history, Gordon shows how the national debt has been a potent instrument of fiscal policy in keeping the world safe for democracy. But how much debt is too much? At a time when we despair of balancing even a single year's budget, Hamilton's Blessing provides much needed perspective - and hope. * Author writes the "Business of America" column in American Heritage magazine and is heard often on public radio's "Marketplace."