How Did America's $14 Trillion Debt Happen? Tax Cuts and War

As it turns out, Bush-era tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq account for more than half of America's total public debt.

As of May 6, America's total national debt stood at $14.32 trillion. That somewhat scary number has lots of voters nervous about America's apparent fiscal irresponsibility, and that in turn has resulted in the farcical game of chicken being played over the debt ceiling.

In that context, it's important to realize how we got into this hole in the first place. The chart above, making its rounds on the political blogs this week, is pretty clear. The debt-financed Bush-era tax cuts were the biggest single contributor to our current shortfall. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq account for a hefty chunk, too.

Despite that reality, you still have the people who claim to be most worried about America's money-management problem arguing for extending tax cuts for the highest earners as the solution because, you know, some loose change will eventually fall off those mountains of money they're making.