The American national deficit is the equivalent of the bogeyman we thought was hiding under our beds as children. It’s dark, we’re scared, it may or may not be real and we have no idea when it’s going to attack us.

Okay, so that’s not entirely true. Make no mistake: The deficit is real. In fact, the Obama administration announced this week that the deficit for fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, came in at a record $1.42 trillion. That breaks the record set last year—in fact it triples the total last year. What’s more, the deficit is projected to reach $9.1 trillion the coming decade. Pretty scary stuff, right?

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