Americans' collective $16 trillion national debt, with about one-third of it piled up during just the past three and one-half years under President Barack Obama, has become a major issue in this year's presidential election. But the amount we owe as a nation is just part of Americans' debt burden.
Before he took office, Obama promised to reduce unemployment dramatically. He has failed signally to accomplish that.
One ramification of Obama's failure has been that many young Americans graduating from college can't find jobs and, in desperation, go back to school. Many others enroll in higher education for the first time, also in attempts to make themselves marketable to potential employers.
That has resulted in an explosion of debt among students and their parents.
When Obama took office, the total student loan debt in the United States was $579 billion. It now stands at $914 billion - an increase of more than 50 percent.
When Obama took office, only about 15 percent of U.S. households owed student loan debt. The percentage has gone up to 19 percent.
Analysts say there is no doubt part of the increase in student loan debt is because of high unemployment.
So yes, the nation's debt has increased dramatically because of Obama's policies - but so has the debt owed personally by millions of American students and their families.