The Economist put together a nice chart showing the blast-off of US public debt. Republican or Democratic president, the debt grows either way:
We should take a look back to the other peak in public debt to GDP – WWII. The great push back then was to sell “War Bonds”. If you were a patriot and wanted to fight the evil Nazi’s overseas but could not serve your country directly, then you should buy War Bonds. After a lot of marketing from celebrities and Uncle Sam, 85 million Americans purchased bonds totaling $185.7 billion. To put that in perspective, that amounted to about $26,000 in today’s dollars for each of those 85 million Americans. What interest rate did they get for that privilege? About 1.5 – 3%, or the same as today. I guess I would rather be paid that pitiful sum to pay for a world war than to pay for government fat.