(note: this article is periodically updated just to keep the data current)
The national debt, per capita after each Presidential administration [election year] from Ford (1976) to Obama (Present). [edited to continue into the Trump administration]
(figures are approximate)
1976 After Gerald Ford - $2,844
1980 After Jimmy Carter - $4,352
1988 After Ronald Reagan - $12,000
1992 After George HW Bush - $15,875
2000 After Bill Clinton - $20,121
2008 After George W. Bush - $31,600
2012 After Obama (1st term) - $52,300
2016 After Obama (2nd term) - $62,077 [total of $19.97 trillion or$160,160 per family]
2018 (current) - $64,383 [$21.03 trillion, inflation adjusted equivalent to $14,494 per person in 1976]
The debt debate is nothing new. It is not a Bush or Obama problem. It is not a Democrat or Republican problem. The two major political cults (parties) have held hands in the spirit of "compromise" for decades to send us over this cliff.
And "compromise" is a code word that a lot of people like but it really means that both sides will "compromise" the principles of those that elect them in order to say they accomplished something.
Dave Ramsey was recently (2012) quoted in a snippet that went viral on Facebook, ""If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year & have $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand."
I think it is important to point out that Dave left out the $2,000,000 mortgage that this family has (we get this by looking at the additional $90 trillion in "future obligations" that our government already calculates it has committed to).