The "Greatest Generation" whittled that debt to GDP ratio down to 31.70 percent in 1974, and has since ballooned to well over 100 under the care and control of the 'boomers. Household debt in America grew from essentially nothing around 1950 and remained around 50% through to the seventies before exploding to almost 130% of disposable income just before the Great Recession, and still hovers over 100%. Ominously this is presently at over 160% in Canada. State/Province and Municipal debt have all followed similar trends.
It's absolutely ludicrous to blame the present debt load that is expected to be carried by the Millenials and beyond as a legacy of FDR et al.
The data I have ~ for Canada
~ is slightly different, although the pattern is the same:
Canada's national (federal, only) public debt was down to about 20% of GDP in the late 1960s.
It began to climb, rapidly in the 1970s and the rate of growth was not constrained (in other words spending was allowed to continue even when it was, fairly obviously, unaffordable) and by the mid 1990s (only 25 years after the spending spree
began, it was at 60% of GDP.
The Chrétien government took action ~ including "offloading" expenses onto AB, BC and ON ~ and by 2008 the debt had been reduced to a more manageable 30+% of GDP. But, remember, please that this was the federal government's debt, only ... we, as taxpayers, are on the hook for federal and provincial (and local) debts and, circa 2000 provincial debts, beyond just Quebec's, began to grow at an alarming rate.
The Great Recession
drove borrowing up again and by 2012 it was at 38% of GDP.
, analysis: pent up demand
for social services ~ which was led by the "Greatest Generation" which had endured/survived/suffered through the Great Depression
and then fought World War II and was convinced that it wanted neither for its children and grandchildren ~ was finally met by someone (Pierre Trudeau) who was willing to open the supply
valve ... all the way. No prime minister since, not Mulroney, not Chrétien, not Harper and certainly not Justin Trudeau, had the guts to stop the bleeding. We want our social services, we feel "entitled to our entitlements," we believe that the "the land is strong" and that there is an endless supply of someone else's money that can be spent on us ... woe the politician who disagrees.
Now that Canada's two largest provinces, with over half the population, are both economic weak sisters
, both with ginormous
public debts of their own, we look a lot worse than the national debt numbers (still in the 30s) would indicate, in fact, at a (somewhat educated) guess we are somewhere in the 90% to 110% range of debt:GDP.