The Debt Problem:
Total public and private debt in the United States has grown by compounding interest from $70 million in 1790 to $70 trillion by 2010. That is a million times larger.
While we blame contemporaries for the increase, the "pen of history" in the figure to the right shows that total debt from 1916 to 2010 (the black line) follows closely debt in 1790 increased 6% per year (the red line).
When Federal debt was reduced (the blue line), panics, recessions and depressions followed that required Federal debt to rise to catch up with the debt growth rate.
Debt must grow to keep up with the claims of creditors which grow by compounding interest.