Libertarian Harry Browne was right about one thing back in 1970 and as it turns out had pretty good foresight. When he said that the United States was borrowing and spending more money that it can afford and if we stay on that course. We would pay a heavy price for it down the road, which is what we started doing by the mid 1970s, late 1970s, had a huge Federal Deficit by 1984. And we had to move to Deficit Reduction by 1986, with Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, which was a Deficit Reduction Act. That limited the Federal Government's ability to borrow money and by 1990, we passed the first of three Deficit Reduction Acts, 1990, 1993 and 1997. And because of these Acts, including the one from 1986, that by 2000 we had already balanced the Federal Budget. But we were also in position of actually paying off the National Debt and the talk then was actually. Which sounds crazy now, that we were in danger of paying off the National Debt too fast. Something we are no where near doing twelve years later and now the debate is how do we deal with the Federal Deficit and how fast should we try to reduce it.
The reasons why we are in position today, I believe goes back to the 1973 Oil Embargo, which led to an Energy Crisis in America and a recession in 1974-75. And the rest of the 1970s, was a bad decade for the United States economically. The Oil Embargo, should've been the only wake up call that we needed to see, that it was time for America to get off of Foreign Oil. And develop our own Natural Resources, that would move America to Energy Independence, as well as the dangers of other countries owning you're debt. Especially countries that don't have you're best interest at heart and that America needed to develop its own Energy Independence Policy. We had a bad decade for most of the rest of that decade, as well as another Energy Crisis from 1978-80, with long Gas Lines and other Energy Shortages. Then in the 1980s the economy improved under President Reagan but we paid a hell of a price for it, with all the borrow and spending the Federal Government was doing.
In the 1990s starting under President Bush and a Democratic Congress, we returned Fiscal Sanity to the Federal Government. They put in a policy known as PAYGO, which means pay as you go, you can't increase spending or cut taxes, without paying for it. President Clinton and a Democratic Congress continued that in 1993, the Republican Congress's following with President Clinton continued that policy as well. And we had a Balance Budget by 1998 and we were talking about paying off the National Debt in 2000. We've obviously gotten away from that under President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress's he had and have moved back to Borrow and Spending. Borrowed 2T$ to pay for the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 500B$ to pay for Medicare Advantage and 2T$ for two unpaid for Tax Cut and 700B$ to pay for TARP. President Obama has continued to Borrow and Spend to deal with the "Great Recession". But he inherited a 1T$ Deficit and 10T$ Debt.
So Harry Browne was right about the danger when he was talking about Foreign Nations owning a lot our country's debt. And was right about this forty two years ago, which was excellent foresight on his part. But obviously not enough people have listen to him in either party and our financial situation, hasn't gotten better but worse ever since, except for the 1990s. And Harry Browne was correct to point out these dangers.