Via Repartay . . .
A good New York Times piece on the subject is here.
"The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years."
Two reasons: Entitlement spending (Social Security and Medicare) and stupid wars.
As Elizabeth MacDonald notes, the national debt is a security issue. The worry is that foreign countries (like China) can use their dollar reservers to destablize our currency.
Some more quotes:
“The biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt…the interest on our debt is $571 billion in 2012 and that’s notionally about the size of the Defense Department budget. It’s not sustainable.”—Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 2010
“We’ve reached a point now where there’s an intimate link between our solvency and our national security.”—Richard Haass, president, Council on Foreign Relations
“The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game..on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy,” with the weapons being stocks, bonds and currencies…” it was the first time the Pentagon hosted a purely economic war game.”—Politico.com, 2009
“Several months ago, a group of logistics officers at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces developed a national security strategy as a class exercise. Their No. 1 recommendation for maintaining U.S. global leadership was ‘restore fiscal responsibility.”—Washington Post, May 2010