Press Release
Wednesday, September 08, 1999
WASHINGTON -- On the heels of its recent National Debt Clock tour, the Concord Coalition reminded lawmakers today that the long-term economic benefits of paying down the mounting federal debt outweigh the short-term benefits of permanent spending increases or huge tax cuts.


         The Concord Coalition's National Debt Clock – a giant electronic scoreboard that ticks off the growth of our $5.6 trillion national debt at $3,517 per second  – just returned from a tour across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas over the August Congressional recess. 


         The clock, which is mounted on a 25-foot trailer, displays the dramatic second-by-second growth of the national debt as well as each family's share of the debt, which equals approximately $83,000 for a family of four or $21,000 per person. Despite a unified budget surplus, the national debt increased by $109 billion in fiscal year 1998 alone, or about $300 million per day.


         “Concord's recent National Debt Clock tour allowed people to see first-hand exactly how fast the national debt is growing, despite all the talk of budget surpluses.  The fact that our national debt is growing at over $3,500 per second is a powerful illustration of our responsibility to future generations to pay down the mounting national debt while we can,” said Concord Policy Director Robert Bixby.


         “It was obvious during our recent Debt Clock tour that many American families can relate to the government's fiscal situation.  They understand that after running up a substantial debt over many years – whether it's on the family credit card or in the government's ledger books -- the fiscally responsible thing to do with any surplus is to pay down the debt,” Bixby said.


         “This is particularly true in light of the huge, unfunded Social Security and Medicare obligations that lurk just around the corner.  Debt reduction is no substitute for real reform of these programs, but it would certainly provide valuable breathing room,” Bixby said.


         The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by the late former Senator Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.) and former Senator Warren Rudman (R-N.H.).  Former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) joined Rudman as co-chair of the organization in 1997.  The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grass roots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy.