U.S. National Debt

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The U.S. National Debt has long been a primary target of disinformation by Republicans, and they get away with it. Ronald Reagan, in his first presidential campaign, claimed that the national debt was at an all-time high, but relative to GDP, it was at an all time low. His use of nominal dollars was extremely deceptive because inflation was high. What matters is how long it would take the country to pay off the debt using all it's resources--the GDP. In WWII this was over one year, by 1982 this was down to less than 1/3 year.

The truth is that, after WWII, both Democrats and Republicans had been reducing the national debt until Gerald R. Ford, who raised it slightly. Then Jimmy Carter reduced it, then Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush increased it rapidly for 12 years--all the while complaining about it being too high. This is beautifully illustrated by a graph of the national debt vs. GDP made using unaltered data from whitehouse.gov.

National Debt Tops $7 Trillion (17 February 2004]

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