According to the Treasury Department, from 1776-2000, the first 224 years of U.S. history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions, but in the past four years alone, the Bush administration borrowed $1.05 trillion.
Even accounting for inflation, this seems nearly impossible, given that in that span of 42 presidents, there were two world wars, two little disputes over in Indo-china, a temporary invasion of Iraq...oh and the "rescue of med students" in Panama.
Now, to be "fair and balanced" (for once, okay...the first time), our debt level is not really any worse than it has been in modern history. In fact, we're still doing better than most civilized countries, and certainly better than just about any other country of our size and sophistication (of which there are, ummmm, none).
Nonetheless, and despite Greenspan's acknowledged obsession with same, inflation creeped up above 3% recently, which likely has something to do with energy prices, but gives one reason for pause -- actually, based on some respected forecasts, perhaps full blown worry should enter into the equation: 4.5% inflation for all of 2006 (!) (?)
Last, at least we're not France. I was somewhat surprised to find that France's unemployment rate has been hovering at, above or near 10% for the past 20 years! More surprising is that it took this long for the riots to begin. There is simply NO simple way out of that quagmire. I think Old Europe has met its tipping point.