Barnaby Joyce has suggested any employer who wants government to borrow more to help during the COVID-19 crisis must also accept increased taxes.
The Member for New England, speaking in Tamworth on Monday, said business should be "prepared to pay the taxes to pay it back".
"Sure you're happy for us to borrow more debt - so you've got no problems with us increasing your corporate tax rate to pay it back? We could put a levy on you," Mr Joyce said.
"People who say I really would like you to spend more money, the obvious rejoinder for that, are you willing to repay it?"
A massive Treasury blunder - revealed on Friday - left the $130 billion Commonwealth JobKeeper scheme under-subscribed by 3 million employees.
Mr Joyce said the $60 billion saving should be pocketed, rather than spent driving down unemployment further. He had previously called for the program to be canned early.
Mr Joyce, a former accountant, said he had long had a "fear of debt".
"People who get themselves in lots of debt go broke and governments can go broke as well," he said.
"Now I'm not suggesting for one second that Australia's about to go broke but what I am suggesting is that we've gone from half-a-trillion-dollar debt and we're heading towards a trillion-dollar debt. And that's big money."
He said the Commonwealth has a "moral responsibility" to minimise debt as the COVID-19 crisis lays waste to the Australian economy.
When asked if the government's record-low bond yields, which make borrowing cheaper than ever for government, create an opportunity to invest, he said money markets are going up.
"Whatever the rate is now is not going to be the rate you're dealing with if you've got a trillion dollars' debt," he said.
"You can bet your bottom dollar, borrowed or otherwise, that down the track your costs of funds is going to go much, much, much higher. It's a cyclical thing."
The six-month JobKeeper scheme pays businesses $1500 a fortnight to subsidise the wages of their employees. It was designed to prevent mass layoffs while the national COVID-19 lockdown prevented many businesses from trading.
Initial signup figures appeared to confirm Treasury forecasts that about six million employees would be covered by the scheme.
But those figures proved wrong, with thousands of businesses unintentionally overcounting their employees on a questionnaire, according to Treasury.
The arts sector and universities are some of the sectors not covered under the scheme. The Labor Party last week called for the $60 billion saving to be spent keeping casual workers in jobs.