Tag Archives: Federal Budget

Which Presidents increased the debt the most?

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.


Posted by on January 24, 2012 in 2012 Election


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McConnell says ‘a big deal’ is off the table?

The Senate’s Republican/Tea Party (GOTP) so-called leader Mitch McConnell is reported as saying a major proposal on cutting spending that’s being pushed by the President is off the table as far as the GOTP is concerned.

He says the tax increases that are part of the $4 trillion deficit-reduction package backed by President Obama are the reason.

McConnell whined on “FOX PAC News Sunday” that raising taxes is a bad idea given the country’s weak economy.

GOTP House Speaker John Boehner reportedly said late yesterday that House GOTP members would also not accept tax increases in President Obama’s plan. Boehner further said he’s looking at a deal about half the size of the president’s proposal.

We have Boehner – on record – saying he won’t support $4 trillion dollars in budget cuts, but that he will support $2 trillion dollars in cuts, and McConnell – whose only goal in life is defeating President Obama – saying he won’t support any tax increases. So, this leaves us where? It leaves us knowing Boehner and McConnell aren’t – in any way – serious about cutting either the federal budget or the deficit, and that it’s all political smoke and mirrors to the GOTP.

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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Debt Ceiling


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Boehner seeks smaller $2 trillion deal?

And so it begins; Republican/Tea Party (GOTP) House Speaker John Boehner has sent a message to President Barack Obama saying that he while he shares the President’s desire to cut the deficit, he wants to pursue a much smaller $2 trillion reduction deal, and not the larger $4 trillion effort sought by the White House.

The vaunted leader of the GOTP House has flinched and round one goes to the President. And what’s the Speaker’s reasoning of asking for a lower number? The President is asking for tax increases on the top 2%, and the GOTP just can’t support that; instead, he said negotiators should focus on deficit reductions identified by a bipartisan group led by Vice President Joe Biden.

OK and what exactly does that mean? Which specific deficit reductions identified by the bipartisan group are you supporting Mr. Speaker? Cue crickets …

“The good news is, we agree on some of the big things,” President Obama said. “We agree that after a decade of racking up deficits and debt, we finally need to get our fiscal house in order. We agree that to do that, both sides are going to have to step outside their comfort zones and make some political sacrifices.”

Of course Boehner has said that the two sides were far apart.

“It’s not like there’s some imminent deal about to happen,” he said. “There are serious disagreements about how to deal with this very serious problem.”

The President’s larger plan would combine new tax revenues and significant spending reductions in large government programs.

GOTP House members are saying media reports suggesting Boehner was willing to entertain the possibility of higher tax revenues as part of a “grand bargain” that included cuts to benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare are greatly exaggerated.

“Conservatives are just not going to vote for a tax increase on this economy,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said, reflecting a common view among his GOTP compadres. “It’s just not going to happen.”

So, the GOTP will refuse to endorse tax increases of any kind – especially on the wealthiest of Americans – while no doubt being more than willing to throw the elderly and the poor under the bus, and if they won’t agree to a higher deficit reduction number, and they won’t agree to tax increases on the rich, then they’ll come across as the obstructionists they are, and the President will come off the winner. There is no way for the GOTP to win this battle. If they refuse to negotiate and do raise the debt ceiling they will be painted as being unwilling to put the country before politics, and the President wins. If they do negotiate, then the President wins being seen as a leader and facilitator and again the GOTP loses; Boehner needs to decide which loss is more acceptable.


Posted by on July 9, 2011 in Debt Ceiling


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Have a little faith liberals …

Everyone on the left seems to joining the conservatives in bashing the President over his insistence that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to the budget discussions. To everyone whining on the left I say, “Have a little faith baby.” President Obama is not selling out Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and this is what Presidents do; they bring all sides to the table and hammer out programs, budgets, etc … and besides that, when the President says “nothing is off the table” and the Republican/Tea Party (GOTP) members of Congress fire back that “tax increases to wealthy are not on the table” who looks immature and not ready for the prime time? That’s right, the GOTP.

Have you considered that putting everything on the table doesn’t mean he’s going to radically change them? No, it hasn’t. We’re all just going to join in and start bashing away with comments that “he’s too conservative” and “he shouldn’t be willing to negotiate.”

Regarding putting Social Security “on the table”, what if the President’s selling point would be that he forces the GOTP Congress to accept that every dollar earned must be collected on effectively ending the FICA tax loophole everyone earning more than $110,000 per year benefits from increasing the Social Security trust fund and effectively making it solvent well into the future? Not something Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and every member of Congress would be in favor of, but it bring hundreds of billions of dollars – if not trillions – into the fund.

And let’s suppose the President puts “everything on the table” and the Republican/Tea Party (GOTP) Congress still refuses to negotiate, who comes off looking bad? The Congress of course, because there are members of the Congress on the right who will not negotiate, no matter what, Congressman Cantor and Senator McConnell both come to mind, and they’ll come off looking like the bad guys. They’ll come off looking like the smucks they are.

So, before you drink any more Hatorade, take a deep breath, and have a little faith. This President has accomplished more than any other progressive president since FDR, let’s not forget that. He isn’t going to throw the big three under the bus in spite of what Ed Schultz claims, who by the way is beginning to sound as wild and crazy as Limbaugh more and more every day. Ed, ratchet it back a few, you’re beginning to sound ridiculous. President Obama will force the GOTP to the table, and he will come off the winner politically, and the American people will come off the better. If we default – as some on the far right would like to see – then the country will be in serious trouble. When the dust settles, the far right Tea Party members of the Congress will be standing there looking as morose as ever, and feeling foolish. They will not be heroes, and will then be painted as the frauds they are.

So, I repeat, “have a little faith baby.”

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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Debt Ceiling


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Brown says tax increase is off the table?

Republican Tea Party (GOTP) Senator Scott Brown has jumped into the ring regarding the fight over the federal budget.

During a stop in Springfield last week Brown reportedly said the President has proposed a debt reduction plan that includes $400 billion in tax increases, but as far as he was concerned tax hikes are off the table.

“There’s a whole host of things you can do before raising taxes. Why is it that the first thing people think about? We could repatriate our money, streamline, consolidate, we can. Payroll tax deduction for businesses to create jobs to stimulate the economy,” Brown said.

Yeah, we’ll just give more tax breaks to the wealthy, that’s worked so well during the past ten years, and we should just keep doing that. What? Were you seriously dropped out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down? Why is the GOTP answer – every time – when talking about the debt to cut taxes for the rich and cut programs for the poor? So now Senator Brown has shown he’s just like every other conservative in the Congress, bought, paid for and elected by and for the wealthiest among us.

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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Debt Ceiling


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Constitutionality of the debt ceiling

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4 of the United States Constitution states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…, shall not be questioned.”

In other words, the question of raising – or not raising – the debt ceiling is a constitutional one, and not a political one; thus the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) members of the House who are holding the nation’s credit hostage to force draconian budget cuts are actually violating the very document they claim to love and revere.

But of course to the GOTP the 14th Amendment is also one of the most hated and vilified amendments to the Constitution because it also protects the rights of citizenship of anyone born in the United States, a thorn in the side of conservatives who want to send all “illegal” immigrants and their children – to include the ones born here – packing. Now we know two reasons why the far-right wants to repeal the 14 Amendment.

Regarding the debt however the conservatives need to either follow the Constitution, or not follow it, but they need to stop acting as though it’s a buffet from which you pick and choose what you want, and ignore the rest when it suits you. To coin a well-used conservative phrase, “Love it, or leave it”.

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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Debt Ceiling


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Under GOTP Budget 44 Million People would be Uninsured?

In spite of what Paul Ryan claims, his GOTP budget plan would leave up to 44 million additional low-income people uninsured as the Federal Government would be forced to cut states’ Medicaid funding by about one-third over the next 10 years.

You read that correctly, 44 million additional – as in 44 million new, or 44 million more. That’s the ugly face – or one of the ugly faces – of today’s GOTP. Ryan is willing to throw the poor, the needy, even grandma under the bus while continuing to insist we must continue to not only give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us, but give them even bigger tax breaks.

Both the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute claim, Medicaid’s role as the nation’s safety net health care program would be “significantly compromised” under the GOP budget, “with no obvious alternative to take its place.”

But Ryan and his GOTP colleagues don’t care. Reality is they have absolutely nothing to take its place. Why? Because they simply don’t care. The GOTP has had its designs on killing Medicaid since its inception, and cutting it has nothing to do with saving money, and everything to do with undermining it with the eventual hope of toppling it entirely.

The budget passed by House Republicans last month – on a strict party-line vote –  called for sweeping health care changes, potentially even more significant than President Barack Obama’s insurance overhaul. And it’s biggest dream baby for the GOTP? The part where it would convert Medicare into a voucher-like system for future retirees. But Medicaid would also be transformed.

The GOTP – with Ryan leading – want first, to kill medicare; second, to give you a voucher (money); and third, have you go give that voucher to some insurance company. Sounds sort of OK, but what’s the catch? How many seniors do you know who don’t have some kind of pre-existing medical condition that would keep them from obtaining health insurance? Grandma would be thrown under the bus if Ryan and the GOTP have its way. Medicare destroyed = Grandma with no health coverage. It’s very simple mathematics.

If this bill had passed, and if the Senate had been controlled by the GOTP, and if the Congress could have over-ridden the President’s veto, then the federal-state partnership (Medicaid) which now covers more than 60 million low-income families and seniors, including most nursing home residents, as well as disabled people of any age would have been converted from an open-ended program in which the federal government pays about 60 percent of the cost of services, into a block grant that would give each state a fixed sum of money. Not a continuous influx of money mind you, but a block grant to take care existing costs, but no more. Future seniors? Under the GOTP/Ryan plan you’re out of luck, aka under the bus.

Ryan’s wonderful little budget would also have done away with the right to Medicaid benefits under federal law, and it would have repealed a coverage expansion to low-income adults included in Obama’s health care law.

As the current law stands, it’s estimated Medicaid will be covering 76 million people in 2021, the end of the ten-year estimating window used in federal budgeting. Of those, some 17 million would gain coverage under President Obama’s expansion.

The study also estimated that 36 million to 44 million people would lose coverage from the combined impact of the block grant and the GOTP’s repealing of the new health care law. Researchers said they gave a range to account for different approaches states might take to reduce their Medicaid rolls. Under the worst case scenario, Medicaid enrollment would plunge by nearly 60 percent from current projected levels.

And of course because the GOTP caters  only to the richest among us the hospitals, community health centers and other health care providers serving low-income people would be disproportionately affected. In 2021 hospitals would face Medicaid funding cuts of $84 billion.

Did you get that number? $84 billion would be taken away from hose who need health care the most, the poor and the elderly.

Is this the America conservatives cry out for? Is this the America they call for taking us back to? Is this the America they want to leave to their posterity? One can only think yes it is. This is what and where the current GOTP wants us to go to. They assume no one in their families will ever be poor, or will ever be born with a disability, or will ever be elderly. It’s “fixing” a problem for today only, leaving it to be “fixed” again at a later date so they can garner political flowers today.


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Sanders Calls for Shared Sacrifice

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has alleged while hard working Americans fill out their income tax returns this tax season, General Electric and other giant profitable corporations are avoiding U.S. taxes altogether, and with Congress returning to Capitol Hill this week to continue its seemingly never ending debate on spending cuts, he said the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations must do their share to help bring down our record-breaking deficit.

Sanders has renewed his call for shared sacrifice after it was reported that General Electric and other major corporations paid no U.S. taxes after posting huge profits. Sanders said it is grossly unfair for congressional Republicans to propose major cuts to Head Start, Pell Grants, the Social Security Administration, nutrition grants for pregnant low-income women and the Environmental Protection Agency while ignoring the reality that some of the most profitable corporations pay nothing or almost nothing in federal income taxes. And Senator Sanders is absolutely right. It’s time for the GOTP to stop pandering to its far right frantic fringe and start balancing the books by balancing the load.

Sanders has compiled a list of some of some of the 10 worst corporate income tax avoiders.

1)  Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009.  Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.

2)  Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.

3)   Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.

4)   Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

5)   Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.

6)   Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.

7)   Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.

8)   Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

9)   ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

10)  Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.

Sanders has called for closing corporate tax loopholes and eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies. He also introduced legislation to impose a 5.4 percent surtax on millionaires that would yield up to $50 billion a year. The senator has said that spending cuts must be paired with new revenue so the federal budget is not balanced solely on the backs of working families.

“We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed,” Sanders said, “but it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, the most vulnerable in this country.  The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute. We’ve got to talk about shared sacrifice.”


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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Federal Budget


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