A recent letter to the editor included some debt figures from the past. Below is additional data that might help put the previous numbers in perspective.
In 1940 federal spending was 9.8 percent of the GDP, the 1940 deficit was 3 percent of GDP and the national debt was 52.4 percent of GDP.
The U.S. officially entered WWII in December 1941. The Japanese surrendered in September 1945. In 1943, 1944 and 1945 defense spending was over 37 percent of our GDP.
After the end of WWII, in fiscal 1946 our national debt hit an all time high percentage of GDP, at 121.7 percent of GDP. By 1950 it had dropped to 94.1 percent of GDP, by 1955 it had dropped to 69.3 percent of GDP. It continued dropping to a low 32.5 percent of GDP in 1981.
From 1981 to 2008 we allowed politicians to overspend to the point where the national debt stood at 69.7 percent of GDP. The federal deficit in 2008 was 3.2 percent of GDP. Four short years later, 2012, the national debt stood at 105 percent of GDP while the deficit was 8.5 percent of GDP. The GDP in 2008 was $14.3 trillion, it was $15.6 trillion in 2012. By the end of this year the national debt will probably be closer to 108 percent of GDP.
U.S. finances are not beyond hope. However continuing with more of the same insane federal policies will soon make it impossible to recover. We grew or way out of the hole we dug during WWII. Current massive increases in government regulation, policies that will significantly increase energy costs in the future, increasing taxes on business when we already have the highest corporate tax rates in the world, etc.; will cause the financial collapse of our nation. Why would anyone invest in America when other nations provide a far more attractive business environment?
The president has increased the national debt by nearly $5 trillion. When he was a senator, Obama told us that the Bush deficits were a result of failed presidential policies. Now, as president, Obama's only direction seems to be higher taxes and more massive deficits. During the Clinton presidency federal spending was $8,600 per person, in 2012 dollars. During the Obama presidency spending is over $11,000 per person. Mr. President, it is a spending problem.