Two Ideas For Reducing the National Debt.

Under both Presidents Bush and Obama, we are generating and are likely to generate huge increases in our national debt.

There are two steps that can be taken to reduce the negative impact of this excessive spending, the first of which is quite doable politically.

1. Refinance the federal debt with long-term bonds at low interest rates. Investors around the world are buying Treasury bonds, bills, and notes because they are safe, driving 10-year Treasury rates down to about 2.7% and 30-year rates to 3.1%. The government should immediately refinance as much of the federal debt as reasonably possible at current rates (3.1%) for 30 years [instead of issuing so much short-term debt]. ([And] If there are any recallable bonds, they should be recalled and reissued at these low rates.) This would in effect reduce the federal debt substantially.

2. Sell government land. The federal government owns massive portions of the country, including the majority of Western states. Like the NY Times or other troubled companies, the government should begin an orderly sale of unused or unneeded assets, in this case, land.

UPDATE: As to the first point, I was unclear. I was suggesting that, instead of issuing as much short term debt as we are (3-month, 6 month, etc.), we issue much more 30-year debt. That would raise the interest we had to pay somewhat (because of greater supply), but interest would probably be much lower than we'll have to pay in future decades if we continue to issue so much short-term debt. The comment about recalling was merely an aside (thus it was in parentheses), adding to the main proposal.

One of the commenters below suggests funding social security for future decades with newly issued long-term debt.

As to the second point, the federal government owns over half of five Western states and over 40% of nine states:

1. Nevada 84.5%

2. Alaska 69.1%

3. Utah 57.4%

4. Oregon 53.1%

5. Idaho 50.2%

6. Arizona 48.1%

7. California 45.3%

8. Wyoming 42.3%

9. New Mexico 41.8%

10. Colorado 36.6%

Further, I contrasted the immediate debt refinancing I proposed with a more drawn-out process for selling land: "the government should begin an orderly sale of unused or unneeded assets, in this case, land." A twenty-year program to sell off a portion of nine Western states would make sense.