There is a brick wall of debt and we are approaching fast. And we will hit. No doubt about it.
Aha, you say.. This is nominal debt, meaningless... Right you are. So here is real debt, in constant 2000 dollars.
But you are not concerned yet because America has a big economy. Naturally you want to see debt as a percentage of GDP . Here it is, then.
Now,this picture is not very comforting at all. It is actually more troublesome than the others because it makes plain how steady debt/GDP was for decades up until 1980, when it just took off. Sudden Debt.
Don't quit reading yet. The debt is in two very broad categories: Debt of the non-financial sector (households, corporations, government) and the financial sector (banks, brokers, GSE's, etc).
Now, that doesn't really look so bad, though if you look closely you will notice that the scale starts at zero, so the move from 142% of GDP in 1980 to 214% in 2005 looks benign. Compared with what happened to financial sector debt, it is.