Politics, Elections, & the Presidency: a Video Conversation with Thomas Jefferson
Voters look to presidents to balance the federal budget. In 1820, you suggested that frequent elections would help keep federal expenditures in line with federal income. The national debt today runs 11,738 times as large as the one you confronted in 1801. Do frequent elections really work, and are there solutions you would offer to a growing national debt?

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Answer:
I am happy to know that the citizenry are still engaged to lessen the national debt, particularly as I have referred to it always as the public debt. After all, the people allow the nation’s debt. As quite different from former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s idea that we spend money we do not have, the secretary of our treasury during my administration, Monsieur Albert Gallatin, suggested that our nation’s economy be understood by the common man and that our national debt be recognized by the people as they would recognize the economy of their home and therefore not to spend money we do not have.

So, placing the public debt once more in the hands of the people to their general understanding and particularly to the recognition that they have an effect upon this national debt every year, let alone every four years, in placing their vote, will bode well for our future – I hope.