The national debt is about 15 Trillion $. That's about $6 Trillion of "internal debt", what the govt owes itself, mostly borrowing from the SS trust fund, plus about $9 Trillion of public debt, what we owe Japan, China, UK, Eurozone, widows, orphans, universities, etc. (china is one of many..china has about $ 0.8 T of our PD, so they are not the lion's share; the lion's share is mostly all US public debt)
The $9 trillion would be zero today if we had kept the Clinton taxes. But your guy, W, decided to cut those taxes for his rich friends, invade Afghanistan, invade Iraq, and then cut some more, and then launched TARP and then there are the Obama damage control costs of this depression we are now in. So our PD is $9 T instead of 0..thanks mostly to W.
The Gross domestic product is also about $15 T. That means we have a gross debt ratio of $15/$15 = 1. We have an "external" or "public debt" ratio of about $9/$15 = 0.6.
To make an analogy..if you earned $100K per year and carried a $100k mortgage your external debt ratio would be $100k/$100K = 1. If you alos owed your wife $40K, your total debt ratio would be 140/100 = 1.4.
I don't think any household with such a debt ratio would be considered "extreme" or financially at risk. IF your salary was risky, then yes, you would be at risk becasue your debt ratio could suddenly go from 1 to $100K/0 = infinity.
So, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO KEEP YOUR SALARY.
GOT IS SO FAR?
Our national problem now is to stimulate the growth of our "salary" because chipping away at all of this mostly W debt is a harder problem. The analogy is that the guy with a $100K salary must invest in himself and his job. He needs to have the necessary equipment, training, suits and ties, automobile, computers, job related travel and entertainment costs, etc. required to effectively do his job. So, YOU MUST INVEST TO MAINTAIN AND INCREASE YOUR SALARY. Even if you had zero debt you would have to do this.
Now consider the inanity of the republicans. First, they got us deeply into this mess of having a lot of debt (even though a public debt ratio of 0.6 really isn't that critical) and now THEY ARE BLOCKING ANY ATTEMPT TO INVEST TO INCREASE OUR GDP, EG OUR SALARY.
Obama's jobs act is an essential investment to drive the economy and increase our GDP. There will be multipliers here...if we spend $1 we usually get $3 back in increased GDP.
But ERIC (sh^t for brains) CANTOR AND THE WRECKING CREW DON'T WANT US TO DO THIS. HECK, THEY EVEN WANT US TO RENIG ON PAYING OUR DEBT SERVICE (the interest on our debt). That will drive our GDP down..making the problem much worse.
What the US is doing is similar to what the individuals tried to during the Clinton years. Increasing the average household debt from $500 to $6,000 was easy due to changes in the credit card industry. Paying 3% down instead of 10% down on a house was easy becasue of the mortgage changes. This living on debt was fun until the ecoomy took multipal hits from 4N sources and the housing bubble cracked. But why are we trying to build on borrowed mney when there is so much welath in the country? The anwser is that the professional polititians want to take as large a slice as they can for themselves.