In this presidential election year, let’s talk about the national debt and which party, and hence its Presidents, increased it the most during their terms in office. There’s a much maligned chart originally put out by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office which demonstrates quite well visually the differences between conservative and progressives when in office.
While it’s true the numbers are off, they’re not that far off; calculating the amount of debt each President inherited from his predecessor, as compared to the level of debt he passed on is not rocket science; it’s basically Government 101 that any President’s first year in office is not their budget, it’s the last year’s budget of his predecessor, thus any President’s first year of debt is not theirs’ but their predecessor’s last year of debt; Reagan’s first year of fiscal accountability was FY82 not FY 81, and that’s how each administration’s percentage of increase of the national debt should be calculated, thus it wasn’t President Obama’s first budget that dramatically exploded the national debt, it was President Bush’s final federal budget. Here are the actual debts and the percentage of increase in Billions of dollars, as well as a graphic representation of deficit increases and decreases under each president:
Under President Reagan, the National Debt was $994 billion at the end of 1981 and $2,867 billion at the end of 1989 = a 118% increase in the debt and an increase in deficit spending.
Under President George H.W. Bush (41), the National Debt was $2,867 billion at the end of 1989 and $4,351 billion at the end of 1993 = a 51% increase in the debt and an increase in deficit spending.
Under President Clinton, the National Debt was $4,351 billion at the end of 1993 and $5,807 billion at the end of 2001 = a 33% increase in the debt, but a decrease in the deficit spending.
Under President George W. Bush (43), the National Debt was $5,807 billion at the end of 2001 and $11,909 billion at the end of 2009 = a 106% in the debt and a corresponding explosion in deficit spending.
Under President Obama, the National Debt was $11,909 billion at the end of 2009 and $15,270 billion by current estimates = a 29% increase in the debt, but like President Clinton (while not a surplus) a drop in deficit spending.
I’m sorry conservatives, but the largest increases of our National Debt and deficits were under Presidents Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 where conversely the smallest increases have been under Presidents Clinton (deficit decreased) and Obama – you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own set of facts.