Chart of the day: Debt to GDP

Since the beginning of the bull market in 1982, the U.S. has become a society hooked on debt. Total debt (including financial services companies) has nearly doubled as a percentage of GDP in those 25-odd years (from 133% of GDP at $4 trillion of debt in 1981 on GDP of $3 trillion to 221% of GDP at $31 trillion of debt in 2007 on GDP of $14 trillion).

What this suggests is that the U.S. is not producing enough to sustain adequate economic growth without huge amounts of debt. Ultimately, this debt burden will have to paid off or defaulted upon. Either way, the U.S. faces a less prosperous future, as a result.

This post is part of my series.

Federal Reserve Flow of Funds


Edward Harrison is the founder of Credit Writedowns and a former career diplomat, investment banker and technology executive with over twenty years of business experience. He is also a regular economic and financial commentator on BBC World News, CNBC Television, Business News Network, CBC, Fox Television and RT Television. He speaks six languages and reads another five, skills he uses to provide a more global perspective. Edward holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Edward also writes a premium financial newsletter. Sign up here for a free trial.