The current debt problem, while serious, and certainly requiring broad-based sacrifice in both spending and higher taxes, is hardly a new challenge. After World War II, US debt levels were much higher than today–topping out at 120 percent of GDP. But over the next thirty years bi-partisan efforts led to a debt level that was only 25 percent of the peak, as shown on the chart above (from here). How did 6 Republican and Democratic presidents successfully and dramatically reduce the national debt?
Simple, they raised sufficient revenue through high taxes to cover all government expenditures and pay-off the Word War II debt. As the chart below (from here) demonstrates governing elites imposed marginal tax rates that reached as high as 92 percent to accomplish this.
What a difference responsible and farsighted governing elites that are willing to sacrifice for the betterment of their nation can make.
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