Republican pundits love to say that the national debt has increased by $5 trillion because of President Obama. Factually, that statement is simply untrue. Let’s examine the evidence.
Of the alleged $5 trillion, $1.6 trillion is related to costs of the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars. These were costs George W. Bush intentionally hid from the budget, and that President Obama allowed to be calculated when he assumed office.
Note that Obama could have continued to hide the bill as Bush did, passing it along to his successor.
President Bush was able to manipulate funding for the Iraq/Afghanistan wars using special emergency authorization bills. He did this because, as you recall, the Democrats were attempting to defund the war legislatively.
The overall point is simple: Obama, as president, authorized not one cent of that $1.6 trillion to be spent.
It has been previously reported by marketwatch.com that President Obama increased overall government spending by a smaller margin than any modern president, all the way to President Eisenhower.
Rex Nutting at marketwatch clarifies:
What people forget (or never knew) is that the first year of every presidential term starts with a budget approved by the previous administration and Congress. The president only begins to shape the budget in his second year. It takes time to develop a budget and steer it through Congress — especially in these days of congressional gridlock.
Over $1.4 trillion was spent on interest payments caused by the already standing debt.
Knowing that, let’s examine the GOP’s argument.
They say President Obama has spent too much, but 32% of the total amount they claim has been spent is a direct result of Republican presidential policies, and previous spending.
President Obama is stuck paying the bill for the previous GOP administrations of Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush. President Clinton left with a surplus if you recall, and added nothing to our debt. This point has been discussed constantly, and was even visited by President Obama’s former Press Secretary Jay Carney during a press gaggle.
It is not disputed that the national debt was $10 trillion before President Obama took office.
The interest that is paid on the debt today was created by the very same people who now are attempting to blame the cost of that interest on the president. Do not allow yourself to be fooled, the GOP is attempting to blame the president for something they caused.
Now our journey of $5 trillion has been twiddled down to $2 trillion.
Another piece of the puzzle is that the CBO projected because of the Bush Era Tax Cuts, our government lost over $1.6 trillion in projected revenue. Of course, these unpaid taxes were supposed to create jobs for the middle class. The tax cuts have been in place for over 10 years, one would think our nation would be swimming in jobs. Yet, friends, that is not the case.
If reasonable tax rates were in place that were similar to those used while President Clinton was in office — America’s fiscal outlook would be more optimistic.
This leaves only $400 billion to be unaccounted for, and surely the fervor about reckless spending can not be over that amount because in that regard there are many instances where the GOP is equally guilty, if not more culpable. For example, our nation is still paying for the wasteful Medicare part D plan. Passed in 2003 and enacted in 2006, it has been estimated to cost a staggering $17 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Others put a more conservative price of $8 trillion including former head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, David Walker.
$8 – $17 trillion in spending, and yet they say President Obama is the reckless spender? No matter how you look at the numbers, the GOP is guilty of at least one-and-a-half more spending, or three times as much spending. How can they claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility?
The overall premise of the argument has now been debunked, and the truth is quite clear; 88% of the debt which the GOP blames on President Obama was not created as a consequence of his policies.
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