Harry Browne's plan for ridding us of the national debt was intertwined with saving us from Social Security and protecting the environment. Basically what he envisioned was getting the government to sell its holdings of various properties and assets and accumulating the proceeds to pay off the debt and also purchase annuities in order to replace Social Security for those on it or about to retire. Those around 50 or younger would be free of the Social Security tax and would instead invest that money towards their own retirement, getting more in return than Social Security's yield. The sold government properties would go to private owners who would better maintain them in order to preserve or appreciate the newly acquired land values, thereby stopping the pollution of certain lands by the current apathetic tenants.
To start, we note that Browne considered one of the benefits of paying off the debt which was an end of paying the exorbitant interest on it. This interest, he pointed out, is nearly the same amount as what we spend on welfare and national defense. From his 2000 campaign literature, 'The National Debt':
'You might assume that nearly all of what you pay in income tax is used to pay for current government programs, but that isn't the way it works. One quarter of your income tax is used to pay the interest on the national debt. In fact, you pay almost as much for interest as you pay for national defense or welfare.
If we paid off the national debt those interest payments would disappear and this alone would reduce your income tax by nearly a third. I have a plan to do just that. Better still, this plan would also protect the environment and allow us to fund the Social Security privatization plan I described....'
Now from the last section of his online Social Security piece, we get a good summation of the debt eradication plan:
'The federal government owns trillions of dollars worth of assets it doesn't need and shouldn't have. These include power companies, pipelines, idle military bases, business enterprises, over 400,000 buildings, oil and mineral rights, commodity reserves, and much more — including 29% of all the land in the United States.
When the federal government is reduced to just its Constitutional functions, there will be no reason for it to continue hoarding those assets. They can be sold to the public, putting them in the hands of people who will use them more responsibly and more productively. And the sales will generate the money to clean up the financial mess the politicians have made.'
For a complete description, go to Browne's Social Security piece 'Free to Plan a Secure Retirement' and scroll down to the final section titled: Financing the Transition...............
Again from Browne's 2000 campaign literature - 'The National Debt' - he points out the environmental incentive of the plan:
'Many people believe these assets are being held in trust to protect them from exploitation, but the truth is otherwise. For instance, many public lands are actually leased out to private interests for mining, grazing, drilling and logging. Unfortunately, the government loses money on these leases -- and you not only have to pay for the losses but also for the damage done to the properties.'
Here's Harry Browne's complete environmental plan.
Quote of current national debt, breakdown of how Congress spends revenue department
by department. Interest payments, dollar value and various links to solutions
and activist sights on the national debt.
Site for the Bureau of the Public Debt, an agency of the U.S. Treasury. They borrow money
for the national government through selling Treasuries and bonds. Agency pays and redeems the
interest on such securities. Site contains a link to the daily tally of the
national debt down to the penny.