Q: Just how far back does our current national debt go? I know that the budget was balanced during the 1990s for a brief time, but how far back does our national debt go? Who was president and in what year?
—Lance DeLoach, Thomaston
A: The U.S. has had a national debt since the American Revolution. The debt was $75.5 million when the U.S. government’s fiscal year began on Jan. 1, 1791, according to TreasuryDirect.gov, a website operated by the U.S. Treasury. President Andrew Jackson, who didn’t trust banks, wiped out the nation’s debt in 1835 and ’36 by liquidating the “Second Bank of the United States, returning the government’s original investment plus a profit,” according to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt. Jackson’s second term ended in 1837 with the U.S. almost completely out of debt. The debt had grown to $10.4 million by 1839, during Martin Van Buren’s term. It reached $1 billion in 1863, $25 billion in 1919, $201 billion in 1945, $1 trillion in 1982 and $17 trillion last month.
Q: In a recent AJC, it was reported that 47 million people receive food stamps nationwide. And that nearly 2 million Georgians receive food stamps. What five states receive the most food stamps?
—Caroline Russu, Snellville
A: The top five states for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are: California (4.181 million), Texas (4.016 million), Florida (3.558 million), New York (3.194 million), Illinois (2.036 million) as of July, according the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a Washington-based nonprofit group focused on eliminating hunger. Georgia was sixth at 1.933 million.
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