Will Boom Times Wipe Out Government Debt?

If the United States' booming economy continues, the federal government could be debt-free in the year 2014 (for only the second time in our history). If politicians simply leave current policies alone, the Office of Management and Budget projects that the $3.7 Trillion debt held by the public will be wiped out by 2014. The Congressional Budget Office is more optimistic, predicting freedom from debt by 2012. The national debt is actually at $5.6 Trillion, but that amount includes $1.9 Trillion in debt held by Social Security in government bonds -- sort of a "wash." A history of the national debt reveals a history of the nation: 1860-1866, debt increased from $65 Million to $2.8 Billion (Civil War); 1916-1919, from $1.2 Billion to $25.5 Billion (World War I); and 1940-1944, from $42.8 Billion to $185 Billion (World War II).
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