The reason why the debt is so large is because politicians in a universal suffrage democracy have the incentives to spend without reckless abandon and give away as much as they can to bribe people for votes. Under democracy, politicians run a country for a few years. Thus, they recognize that they need to get as much loot as they can as quickly as possible. In the past, they could expect to retire and live off of a lavish pension. These days, since they recognize that the game will soon be over, they have to get as much loot as they can as soon as they can. This is why Bush and Obama have spent so much money. By 2020, the government will probably run out of money. The $14 trillion of so figure for the national debt is inaccurate, as that doesn't include the unfunded liabilities for the ponzi schemes for the elderly (Social Security and Medicare), which are much more than that. The government's projections already assume that the government will somehow miraculously reduce cost increases on Medicare to 2% increase per year rather than the historical 5% and the projections for interest on the debt assume that interest rates will be ridiculously low. The government statistics regarding its future budget are not even best case scenarios. The best case scenario will be much worse than what they project. What we do not know is whether they will inflate their way out of it, cut spending, raise taxes (this won't work of course, as the government cannot get more than 18% of GDP regardless of the tax rates), or default, or some combination. They cannot continue on this course. Many people (both for and against the status quo) have the mistaken belief that it will last forever. What they do not realize is that this system is already in its last days and the total collapse is imminent.