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 chart of the day series.