There’s been a big D.C. dust-up over securing $5 billion to partially fund building a wall along vulnerable sections of our southern border. Included in the many conversations are ideas outlining how private citizens might be able to offer money through online efforts. However well-intentioned, that suggestion along with other similar ideas is likely way too problematic.
So why not try applying a variation of a government fundraising program that has enjoyed stunning successes in the past? Replace the sale of War Bonds with the selling of “Wall Bonds”.
Before dismissing this option out of hand, consider the history of war bonds. Beginning in World War I, and moving ahead to WW II, the United States raised money by issuing debt securities as a means of borrowing money to finance its defense initiatives and military efforts.
The premise was simple; offer patriotic Americans an opportunity to support the security of their nation by volunteering to purchase a bond that had a below-market yield and a rather long date of maturity.
War bonds were initially known as Defense Bonds. They were first issued as Liberty Bonds in 1917 and used to finance the United States government participation in World War I. Through the sale of these bonds, the government raised $21.5 billion for its war efforts.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, Defense Bonds were renamed, War Bonds. They brought in nearly $200 billion in sales.
Using today’s dollars, the latter figure would be worth roughly 15 times that amount, or 3 trillion bucks!!
With the 1940’s media being saturated by advertising, bonds were championed as the ideal channel for those at home to contribute to the national defense. Over half our population bought in. They were happy to make an affordable, patriotic investment (minimum $18.75 netted $25 over 10years), even if it didn’t pay any interest until maturity.
Can we not all agree there are tens of millions of Americans who see the border wall as a necessary component of our national security and seem eager to support that belief with their hard-earned money? Also, it’s unlikely we’d have to invest in the expensive promotion needed 75 years ago. More than likely it would just take a few Trump tweets urging participation, to boost sales…hugely.
Whether it was Pearl Harbor or 911, over time, global and domestic conditions have changed the focus of our safety needs. Defense Bonds morphed into War Bonds, so why not make the transition into “Wall Bonds”?
Given it would all be voluntary, folks who think it’s a waste wouldn’t have to spend a penny. So they should have no beef unless of course what they want is no border. This program would be a simple, clear way to find out.