Investors are feeling a lot better these days following the resolution of the fiscal cliff worries. Stocks are hitting five-year highs, and higher-risk segments of the bond market continue to outperform. Does this mean that all is now right with the world? Not exactly: the United States' debt is now $16,432,631,489,854.70, according to the TreasuryDirect website, which amounts to $52,737.67 for every man, woman, and child in the country.
To put that in perspective, consider this: according to data compiled by the Wall Street Journal, the United States' debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is currently the fifth-worst among all nations in the world, at 105.6% - meaning that the country's debt is now 105.6% of its annual economic output. The only nations in worse shape are Japan, at 238%, Greece (157%), Ireland (125.8%), and Italy (119.7%) - all of which are renowned as fiscal basket cases, and three of which were the leading cause of the European debt crisis.
For now, the financial markets aren't concerned. But at some point, this is going to become a problem that can't be overlooked.
Learn more: What it the debt-to-GDP ratio?