On September 4, the United States economy reached the latest in a long succession of troubling milestones when our national debt topped $16 trillion for the first time in history. Just as alarming as the staggering magnitude of the debt is the fact that we didn’t arrive at this level gradually.
The $16 trillion mark is not the result of slowly but steadily increasing spending year by year but is largely the consequence of a recent spending explosion. An astounding one-third of the total debt — $5.38 trillion — was accumulated just since President Obama took office. That figure is equal to our total debt in 1997 during the Clinton administration. In other words, it took 42 presidents more than two centuries to amass the $5 trillion in debt the Obama administration has added in just three and a half years. To provide further perspective, it would take $51,874 from every man, woman and child in America to pay off the national debt. That’s an increase of $17,000 compared to four years ago.
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