Faculty Forum Papers
April 1976 - U.S. Savings Bonds Are A Ripoff
Robert R. Claeys
Eng. Exp. St.
March 16, 1976
I believe President MacVicar gave his colleagues poor financial advice in January in recommending
the purchase of U.S. savings bonds. I would agree with Milton Friedman, Professor of Economics at
the University of Chicago, that these bonds are a "ripoff" (G.T. Feb. 12, 1976).
Where America invests its money is very important to the future of this country. One should ask:
Where and how will the borrower use my money, and will the rate of return compensate for the risk
involved and for inflation? Is the money borrowed by the Federal Government used to develop new
industries and jobs? Very little. Is it put to other good uses? Only a small portion. I believe
Federal borrowing has a long term negative effect on the economy.
The rate of return is low, even after tax considerations. As for safety, the same government backs
both saving bonds and saving accounts. Government safety is over rated; everyone thought New York
bonds were as good as gold. In the past ten years the Federal Government has been borrowing
heavily to pay current bills; and, if continued, will eventually lead to bankruptcy and a new
form of money. Since saving and loan institutions invest in local housing, their investments
are probably the safest; and the money is put to good use in the local community.