Felix Salmon lists this as the chart of the day. The blue line equals GDP, the black line potential GDP (where we think we would have been without the recession) and the red line total credit market debt*.
Going to FRED we get the following numbers. These are in billions of dollars, rounded off for simplification. I have taken them from the January 1 listing at the start of each new presidential term, so we can track debt with who holds office.
2011- 54,100 (Inc.)
Calculating this out for the eight year presidencies (I think this is more representative of presidential policy than may be the case with a four year president), we get the following percentage increases.
Salmon notes the following.
From 1970 through the beginning of the crisis in 2008, GDP grew at a pretty steady pace. But the amount of debt required to generate that output just got bigger and bigger — the rate of growth of the credit market was much faster than the rate of growth of GDP. In 1970, GDP was $1 trillion while the credit market was $1.6 trillion: a ratio of 1.6 to 1. By 2000, when GDP reached $10 trillion, the credit market had grown to $28.1 trillion: a ratio of 2.8 to 1. And by mid-2008, when GDP was $14.4 trillion, the credit market was $53.6 trillion. That’s a ratio of 3.7 to 1.
I would ask the following questions? What happened in the 80s to increase total debt so much? Is this sustainable? If we have become a credit driven economy, what ratio of debt to GDP is consistent with growth?
*Total credit market debt is a measure of ALL issued debt in the system including state, local and federal government debt, household debt (mortgage, consumer, etc.), non-financial business debt, financial debt and foreign debt.