Now that Congress is set to lift the current limit on how much the government can borrow, here are four facts about the national debt that, polls indicate, many people don’t know.
1. The U.S. debt burden is starting to decline. That’s right – it’s going down, not up.
The important measure of the debt is not the dollar amount, but its size relative to that of the economy. Just as a wealthy family easily can handle a mortgage that would crush a poor person, a large economy can handle a much bigger debt than can a smaller one.
Economists measure the debt relative to the total size of the gross domestic product. By that measure, the debt grew rapidly during most of President...