Surely you’ve seen all the charts and heard all the analogies, but let’s put this in simple terms: debt is helpful to a point, but once it becomes too large it transforms into an anchor on growth, and all because of the costs of rising interest rate payments. Despite all of our fantastic innovations and efficiencies, it has been our country’s increasing debt that has fueled much of the misleadingly false prosperity we have witnessed over the last three decades, as well as the increase in wealth inequality. Of course, I could refer back to the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 and the subsequent abandonment of the gold standard nearly four decades later on August 15, 1971, as the key turning points in U.S. monetary policy that set us on this path, but for now let’s just focus on the recent history — that which most of us can remember.

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