Household Debt to GDP Ratio: 1929 All Over Again 02.27.09  
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We Have Met the Enemy and They Are Us

Laura Conaway

The total personal debt of Americans now equals the GDP, as it did once before: 1929.

Personal Debt to GDP Ratio

This chart tracks the relationship between household debt and gross domestic product. You'll see two years when Americans' debt becomes 100 percent of GDP -- 1929 and 2007. It's the chart that made Columbia professor David Beim say:

"The problem is us. The problem is not the banks, greedy though they may be, overpaid though they may be. The problem is us... We've been living very high on the hog. Our living standard has been rising dramatically in the last 25 years. And we have been borrowing much of the money to make that prosperity happen."


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