Ten Trillion and Counting

What are your thoughts on this report -- and on Obama’s vow to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term in office?

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I have a question regarding your recent broadcast "Ten Trillion and Counting." How does the United States compare with other developed countries like the UK, France, and Germany with respect to their national debt and how it relates to their GDP. Are we in worse shape or are there others in a similar predicament?

Mark Klein
Longmont, CO

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

The CIA World Factbook tracks the ratio of public debt to GDP. By their count, the United States ranks 22nd, with public debt in 2008 estimated at 60.8 percent of GDP. For more on the difference between gross debt and public debt, click here.


This program is worth a rebroadcast (with adequate publicity). It was very informative. More programs on this topic need to be presented. How is it possible for our government to keep spending money we don't have? Where does the money come from? There is no easy solution--no one wants their taxes raised or programs cut, but as individuals we have to adjust our spending and not continue to incur debt - our government has to do the same. I look forward to airing of "Black Money" - another hair-raising issue.

Trenton, NJ


A little disappointed with the report, but overall it was informative. Have always respected Frontline's somewhat bipartisan objectivity. The tone of this program was not. And why did we have to see so much of Forrest Sawyer's face and pen twirling? I do not remember ever seeing a Frontline with so much involvement from the "correspondent". Please don't let Frontline descend into CNN's pathetic cult of reporter personality infotainment.

Daniel Pearson
nyc, ny


Ten Trillion and Counting gave excellent history of the fiscal follies of the Bush and Reagan administrations, but the overall message was extremely wrongheaded: the great economic menace is an increase in the national debt and we should stop deficit spending and balance the budget right away. The message that comes through is that deficit spending is "fiscally irresponsible" and will ruing our future. This is lunacy in a time when unemployment is rising and our productive facilities are shutting down for lack of demand. The immediate menace is putting tens of millions out of work, throwing more millions out of their houses and onto the streets with their children, and reproducing the horrors of the Great Depression. Our real economy is capable of housing, feeding, and providing education and health care for the people. To say that we can't "afford" to do this because we "don't have the money" is a "money illusion." The government government m