National Debt Limit

November 27, 1957

Report Outline
Pressures on the Public Debt Celling
Composition and Growth of Federal Debt
Debt Management and Economic Health
Special Focus

Pressures on the Public Debt Celling

Need for New Borrowing for National Defense

Mounting pressure on the federal budget, produced by a combination of strong new defense demands on the spending side and a prospect of slipping tax receipts on the revenue side, now seems likely to force the administration to ask Congress to raise the statutory limit on the public debt. Secretary of the Treasury Anderson, testifying before the House Small Business Committee on Nov. 21, said that he did not “want to minimize the importance of maintaining a balanced budget” and that he thought the government should “make every effort to get by within the national debt limit.” But he added that he “would not want to take any position of absolutism.”

President Eisenhower told the nation., in an address broadcast from Oklahoma City on Nov. 13, that it was “time for another critical re-examination of our entire defense position.” He said that “very considerable” additions would have to be made to current annual expenditures, and his description of moves necessary to ensure national safety left the impression that the budget to be sent to Congress in January would not be balanced. Because federal borrowings already approach the currently allowed maximum, a resumption of deficit financing would make unavoidable an increase in the present debt limit of $275 billion.

Both political and economic considerations argue against heavier taxes in the immediate future. It therefore appears probable that additional borrowing cannot be long-postponed if the United States is to meet threats to its security implied in Soviet scientific advances and at the same time carry on indispensable domestic and foreign activities.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Federal Budget and National Debt
Sep. 01, 2017  National Debt
Jul. 12, 2013  Government Spending
May 15, 2012  State Capitalism
Mar. 18, 2011  National Debt
Nov. 14, 2008  The National Debt
Dec. 09, 2005  Budget Deficit
Apr. 13, 2001  Budget Surplus
Feb. 01, 1991  Recession's Regional Impact
Jan. 20, 1984  Federal Budget Deficit
Sep. 09, 1977  Federal Reorganization and Budget Reform
Nov. 24, 1972  Limits on Federal Spending
Jan. 08, 1969  Federal Budget Making
Dec. 06, 1967  National Debt Management
Aug. 01, 1962  Fiscal and Budget Policy
Nov. 27, 1957  National Debt Limit
Mar. 20, 1957  Spending Controls
Dec. 24, 1953  Public Debt Limit
Feb. 13, 1952  Tax and Debt Limitation
Nov. 30, 1949  Government Spending
Jan. 06, 1948  Legislative Budget-Making
May 23, 1944  The National Debt
Feb. 01, 1943  The Executive Budget and Appropriations by Congress
Dec. 27, 1939  Revision of the Federal Budget System
Oct. 10, 1938  The Outstanding Government Debt
Nov. 20, 1937  Budget Balancing vs. Pump Priming
May 02, 1936  The Deficit and the Public Debt
Oct. 19, 1934  The Federal Budget and the Public Debt
Feb. 10, 1933  Extraordinary Budgeting of Federal Finances
Dec. 01, 1932  Reduction of Federal Expenditures
Dec. 01, 1930  The National Budget System
Oct. 02, 1930  Federal Revenues and Expenditures
Nov. 02, 1927  The Public Debt and Foreign Loans
Nov. 15, 1926  Rising Cost of Government in the United States
Feb. 05, 1925  Four Years Under the Budget System
Deficit, Federal Debt, and Balanced Budget
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics