Some 200 years after the birth of the United States, Ronald Reagan took over the presidency and a national debt of just under US$1 trillion. That was January 1981. By the time he left office, the figure had nearly tripled and now 3 decades later, it has soared above US$14 trillion. Both Republicans and Democrats have played major roles in driving the figure up to the point where hte debt is now roughly US$46,000 for each of the 310 million men, women and children in the United States.
According to the Obama administration figures, just over US$3 trillion of the debt can be attributed to Bush-era tax custs, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Medicare prescription-drug program. Stimulus spending and tax cuts by Obama accounted for about US$600 billion through until last October.
If there are no changes in government policies, the debt will soar to US$18.76 trillion by 2014 and US$20.8 trillion by 2016, according to administration projections.