Do you think the national debt is a new thing?
John Adams entered the presidency in 1797 with a national debt of $82,064,439. This equaled around $15 per person with a population of 5,308,483.
His son, John Quincy Adams began his presidency in 1825 with a debt of $83,788,433. The population had increased to 12,866,020, so the amount per person was $6.50. I wonder how many people in 1825 could afford $6.50.
By the time his successor, Andrew Jackson, left the office in 1837, the debt had decreased to $336,958, around two and a half cents per person (I don't know the population in 1837, this is based on the 1929 population.)
None of that has anything to do with today's debt; it's just to show that we have always run the country in the red.
What about our current debt?
This chart is from the New York Times.
It may be hard to see, you can see a larger pic at the link. But let me summarize.
All but 1 trillion of the $14.3 trillion that we owe comes from Reagan forward.
Republicans: Reagan (1.9 trillion), George HW Bush (1.5), and GW Bush (6.1) are responsible for 9.5 trillion of the debt.
Democrats: Clinton (1.4) and Obama (2.4) are responsible for 3.8 trillion.
In other words, Republicans are responsible for two and a half times as much of the national debt as Democrats.
The Tea Party house members are acting reckless in this "debate." They forgot that they came to Washington to govern. They do not realize that change is always slow in coming. Obama ran on a platform of change but could not come in and create all the change he wanted immediately. Likewise, extremist Republicans can't either.
We hear so much about those "freshman" legislators and their new found power.
But Alabama has a freshman legislator too, who speaks sensibly about the Boehner's bill.
Watch freshman legislator Terri Sewell speaking on the house floor yesterday.
As for the 14th Amendment and the possibility of the President invoking it to raise the debt ceiling...
Remember, this is the Amendment that allows persons born in this country to be citizens, and that contains the equal protection clause that will eventually be used to allow same sex couples to marry across the country. Right wingers already want to do away with the 14th amendment, and they will go crazy if the president uses this option.