Time for some real, actual facts about the national debt

It doesn’t particularly matter where you go in the wingnut blogosphere. Preposterous lying about the debt is everywhere.

Childish liberals and their fairy tales
Burt Prelutsky | July 26, 2011 | World Net Daily Exclusive Commentary

…Throughout the battle over raising the debt ceiling, various polls indicated that the public regarded Obama, not congressional Democrats or Republicans, as the responsible party when in fact, he was the party responsible for creating the crisis by raising the debt more in 30 months than Bush had raised it in eight years.

In case you can’t decipher over-wrought Conservatism, the first use of ‘responsible’ he meant as ‘reasonable’ or ‘common-sensical’. The rest of it is fairy dust.

The federal government’s fiscal year runs from October through September. Thus, the 2011 fiscal year will end in a little over two months. So, it’s George W. Bush’s 2009 budget (from October of 2008) that produced the massive, then-record 2009 yearly deficit: 1.4 trillion dollars. You can’t blame a guy, Obama, for something that began almost 4 months before he got there.

But that’s hardly the beginning of the bullcrap. Conservatives are eternally lying about deficit and debt problems. Because they caused them. Here’s a modified Wikipedia chart showing the most recent presidents and their contributions to the ‘crisis’:

To Prelutsky: W’s contribution to the problem is astronomical. $6.11 trillion in debt over 8 years. Unprecedented, insane, mind-boggling. And then you remember that Clinton handed Georgie a yearly surplus(!) in 2001, and your head explodes. There’s no comparison in reckless, destructive spending between Obama and W., none.

But then it gets worse, or better. Look at the last 30 years: 20 years of Republicans and 10 years of Democrats. Look at an even richer statistic — the debt to GDP ratio, i.e. the nation’s total debt divided by the yearly productivity. This tells you not just how much a government spends, but also how much their policies helped the economy grow.

Clinton tried to hold a line on government spending, so his deficits are modest. But because he was a good steward of the economy the growth in GDP from 1993 to 2001 actually shrank the ratio (from 66.1% to 56.4%). From the end of his presidency back to the beginning, Clinton’s policies resulted in a net shrinking of the debt ratio. That’s great stuff.

Let’s credit Obama, during the most brutal economy in seven decades, with a 2011 deficit of 1.5 trillion. (Let’s also admit if he hadn’t cranked up the government spending in this horrible time, millions of jobs would have been lost.) For the 10 years of Democratic administrations, the sum total of debt/GDP growth is Clinton’s -9.7 plus Obama’s recession-fueled +18.2%, for a net total of +8.5%.

For the Republicans: Reagan and Poppy Bush together total a whopping 33.6% growth in the debt, and W. Bush, all by himself, grew it 27.8%. Grand total: a net 61.4% increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. That’s a number that’s so bad, it’s frankly shocking. When you realize Republican presidents have dodged the brunt of this current recession and were handed surpluses only a few years ago, it’s downright infuriating.

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