You can't just look at the debt; it's even more important to consider whether that debt helps our generation invest in things that will improve the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Nancy Folbre, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, makes the point in an April 2009 article for The New York Times: "Borrowing creates assets as well as liabilities—and future generations will inherit both. It’s the relationship between assets and liabilities that matters most."
Conservatives often argue from a "generational accounting" frame that says what we spend today our kids and grandkids will pay for tomorrow, but does not argue that the public works projects, health care reforms, education investments, clean energy research and development, and community development initiatives we do today are inherited as well. "Generational accounting typically ignores the value of the government services children will receive as well as the important non-market assets they will inherit," Folbre writes. "The president’s proposed budget features investments in health, education and environmental sustainability that promise important future benefits."