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The elephant in the room that nobody wants to discuss — especially elected leaders and presidential candidates — is the nation’s ticking debt bomb. Everyone wants Social Security, Medicare, good roads, big houses and lots of stuff to put in them.  But the U.S. is now the world’s biggest debtor nation — the national debt has doubled in the past seven years. And the housing bust has exposed many Americans to the vicissitudes of overborrowing on mortgages, car loans and credit cards. Companies, meanwhile, inexorably cut back on pension and healthcare benefits, putting more of the burden on workers. We all know that 50 million Americans have no health insurance at all.  President Bush introduces a budget that ignores the alternative minimum tax problem and pretends that the Iraq War doesn’t need funding.

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