I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.—Thomas Jefferson Last week on January 26th Congress voted against a measure to deprive the president of the authority to raise the debt ceiling. In a 44 – 52 vote, the president was granted permission to add another $1.2 trillion to the national debt, deferring for some time any difficult albeit necessary fiscal decisions. For the first time in over half a century, the national debt is roughly equal to the gross domestic product of the United States. This situation is analogous to an individual whose debts are equal to the total value of his income and savings. Mainstream economists will note, however, that this is not as dire of a situation as it first appears to be. After World War II, the national debt was 122 percent of GDP, about 22 percent higher than that of today. This is true, although there are several other factors that are worth consideration in comparing and contrasting the fiscal solvency of the United States in 1946 with that of today.