Our friend Don Martin this morning has a column saying Stephen Harper has joined Jean Chrétien as only the second prime minister to govern while the country is $500 billion in debt. Stephen Gordon, over at his aptly-named blog, puts this in some desperately needed perspective. Both Harper and Chrétien come out looking better than in Don’s column. First, a half-trillion dollars is a lot less, in constant dollars and in share of GDP, than it was in 1995. Second, 1995 represents a peak for debt by either measure, because Chrétien inherited a runaway debt train and, within three years, those curves had sharply reversed. Stephen’s graph on this is telling.