The national debt per capita over time tells an interesting tale especially when looked at through different presidencies. It is not clear that all large debt increases are the result of Democrat presidents. Republican presidents have done a good job of increasing the size of debt burdens. In fact, the growth during the Obama administration has been slower than what has been the case with Reagan and Bush II. The numbers have jumped more on an absolute basis but the debt increases over the last six years by themselves should not be overly alarming.
So why are some many getting upset about the debt? There is no such thing as looking at data alone without context. We are getting closer to the tipping point discussed by Rogoff and Reinhart with total debt to GDP moving to levels only seen during war time. Still, we have to remember the large deficits post-2008 were not completely structural. Deficits will increase with economy slowdowns. They should reverse on growth. The problems has been slow growth which does not allow the denominator in the debt to GDP number to drive the ratio lower.
The context of the debt problem has to be associated with structural issues and here we have a significant problem. We cannot keep all our promises.