On January 8th, 1835, President Andrew Jackson was in office and the United States, for the first and only time in its history, had no debt:

The United States has had public debt since its inception. Debts incurred during the American Revolutionary War and under the Articles of Confederation led to the first yearly reported value of $75,463,476.52 on January 1, 1791. Over the following 45 years, the debt grew, briefly contracted to zero on January 8, 1835 under President Andrew Jackson but then quickly grew into the millions again.[6]

Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of the United ...The first dramatic growth spurt of the debt occurred because of the Civil War. The debt was just $65 million in 1860, but passed $1 billion in 1863 and had reached $2.7 billion following the war. The debt slowly fluctuated for the rest of the century, finally growing steadily in the 1910s and early 1920s to roughly $22 billion as the country paid for involvement in World War I.[6]

The buildup and involvement in World War II plus other social programs during the F.D. Roosevelt and Truman presidencies in the 1930s and 40′s caused a sixteenfold increase in the debt from $16 billion in 1930 to $260 billion in 1950.

After this period, the debt’s growth closely matched the rate of inflation where it tripled in size from $260 billion in 1950 to around $909 billion in 1980. Public debt in dollars quadrupled during the Reagan and Bush presidencies from 1980 to 1992, and remained at about the same level by the end of the Clinton presidency in 2000. During the administration of President George W. Bush, the total debt increased from $5.6 trillion in January 2001 to $10.7 trillion by December 2008,[7] rising from 54% of GDP to 75% of GDP. During March 2009, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that public debt will rise from 40.8% of GDP in 2008 to 70.1% in 2012.[8] The total debt is projected to continue increasing significantly during President Obama’s administration to nearly 100% of GDP, its highest level since World War II.[9]

Today, the national debt sits at $12.3 trillion. While that’s bad enough, experts warn the real national debt sits closer to $57 trillion.  Behold, the graphic:


Perhaps we ought to address this before we go rushing through new health care legislation.

Just saying.

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