I'll take a different tack, although I don't disagree personal and national debt has been a problem since the 1980s.
I will say our reliance on foreign energy is our biggest economic issue. It ships our jobs overseas, along with nearly a trillion in cash per year that could be invested right here at home. It makes us subject to foreign wars to secure our resource, and ties our hands.
The BP spill, in my opinion, should have been a clarion call for a national and concentrated effort to develop a new source of energy at home, but also to simply conserve - to use less. This would immediately put more money into the economy here in the form of personal spending - money that used to go to other countries. If every American driver consumed 80 gallons less per year - 6.6 gallons less per month, and you can crunch the math on this yourself - we would need NO oil from any Middle Eastern country. None. Wouldn't it be fun to tell Saudi Arabia and Iraq they can keep theirs? That's also a $70 billion annual economic shot in the arm for our economy here at home on gas savings alone.
We (as individuals and as a nation) have too much debt.
I see big problems in education as well. Schools are not getting the funding they need. Teachers are being let go and class size is getting larger. What kind of education will our children be getting?
Debt. National debt as well as personal debt. Americans live in the age of DEBT... buying things we can't afford and living on credit, and our government is our #1 role model perpetrating this.
All of the above? I guess for me, it would probably be the need to create jobs that are going to pay relatively well and yet be able to stay in the United States.
I guess we also need to find a way to reduce the cost of health care without doing too much to compromise the quality of the care.
Where does the money come from to pay the debt?