The U.S. is not only the world's biggest economy, it also the world's biggest debtor nation.
Just 10 years ago, the national debt was $6 trillion. Today, it has more than doubled, to $14 trillion.Â
And it was just 10 years ago that the Clinton administration handed off a large surplus to the new president, George W. Bush.Â
Maya MacGuineas, president of theÂ nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, says those surpluses were projected to continue. But they didn't.
"We were running deficits in the past decade when we shouldn't have been," she says. "They came from tax cuts that weren't paid for. They came from fighting two wars without paying for them, when normally in our past, we have. They came from the addition of things like the prescription drug program â€” not paid for â€” and high growth in government spending in general."
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