The year was 1982 and America was the largest creditor nation on earth. By 2005, the U.S. was the largest debtor nation on earth. In 1980, the national debt had yet to eclipse the $1 trillion mark and had accumulated around $850 billion during the first 204 years of this republic. By 2007 or 24 years later, our debt had risen to more than $7 trillion and continues straight up.
Today, China alone purchases in excess of $1 billion per day of our debt. Japan owns billion and billions of U.S. debt instruments as do the Arabs and so on. But, these are reasonable countries and I believe that they would understand that we are broke and just forgive all of those billions; right after we gave them California and Yellowstone Park.
So far, I have been talking about funded debt. Unfunded debt is $99.2 trillion at current levels...and rising hourly. This is the debt that we owe to ourselves in the way of Medicare, Social Security, government retirements and so on. In other words, promises that can't be kept and so they won't. As a reminder, the unfunded debt is greater than the total wealth of all American households.
Many people want to blame one administration or another because that's easy. It isn't true, it's the system that's broke, not any one administration.