Who Increased the Debt?

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Obama Administration

I just saw this bar graph at Talking Points Memo [correction: not TPM, but another site] and liked it so much I did a screen capture —

There’s nothing there most of you regulars don’t already know, of course.

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18 Comments

17 Comments

  1. moonbat  •  May 16, 2011 @11:09 am

    I’m skeptical of this graph – I see that the source is the Treasury Dept, but I wonder exactly what it’s measuring. We’ve borrowed immense sums since the economic crash to try and stave off the Great Recession – so much so that 1) our credit rating is faltering, and 2) all the talk and extreme propositions about deficit reduction are in response to #1.

    OTOH, it does confirm what’s become evident since Reagan – it’s the conservatives who are the big spenders with their magical belief in “Supply Side Economics” (which cuts taxes and puts everything on the national credit card). Democrats then have to come in and clean up the mess. The “tax and spend liberal” meme has almost fallen out of currency; a new one is needed for the “drown it in a bathtub” conservatives who so hate America that they want to destroy its government.

  2. Felicity  •  May 16, 2011 @11:11 am

    What would a tea-partier say about this graph? And what exactly is the platform of the tea-party? Anyone know?

    Reagan/Bush tax cuts sucked $2 1/2 trillion out of the budget. Add to that the great suck from the budget by the private sector – which no one talks about – and it’s a wonder the debt/deficit are as small as they are. Case in point – Neil Bush’s boondoggle, Silverado Savings and Loan, cost us $1.6 billion. And what did Neil have to return to our coffers? $50,000. Obviously, this set up (called the American plan) is a lose/lose situation for us while a win/win situation for that shadowed 1% of us.

  3. maha  •  May 16, 2011 @11:31 am

    There’s a chart at Wikipedia (yeah, I know, it’s Wikipedia) that shows increases and decreases in the federal debt as a percentage of GDP, by presidential administration, and this concurs with the chart.

  4. c u n d gulag  •  May 16, 2011 @12:47 pm

    Well, a Teabagger would tell you that the 16% above Obama’s name was a shortened number beause they couldn’t fit the BillionBazookaGaJillion zero’s after that 16 to give an accurate account.

    And good luck changing a meme with the MSM, where it’s easier to go with the flow than to think and actually do any work, let alone the people who ‘believe” the BS in their hearts – the same people who think Blacks are shiftless and stupid and predispositioned towards crime, Jews are cheap and evil, Poles are stupid, Jesus was a Founding Father, the Earth’s not warming, and it’s flat besides.

    Empirical facts count for nothing. No matter whether you make a graph, a pie chart, a flow chart, or present an accountants ledger, you won’t convince anyone because in their hearts they know they’re right, and that those numbers are liberal numbers and therefore can’t be “right.”
    Beliefs and feelings rule their lives. We see this all of the time, to the point where if they ever ackowledge something logically and factually, we are shocked to a state of a near-death experience. And no, I can’t remember any recent examples of that. Can you?

  5. Thank You!  •  May 16, 2011 @1:23 pm

    Moonbat, while a healthy dose of skepticism might be appropriate in all cases, the TPM chart appears roughly accurate to me. All of the bailouts – TARP and Detroit – cost approximately $3 Trillion, and virtually all of that already has been repaid back to the US Treasury (I heard/read somewhere that only Chrysler hasn’t done so yet, but is expected to do so soon). By contrast, the 2 year extension of Bush’s tax giveaways cost a similar amount, also borrowed, and didn’t result in quite the same positive results, except for those of us in the investor/oligarch class. If the deficit were such an issue, the Bond Vigilantes would have let us know last year during the rush to extend the tax cuts, rather than now, when Social Security and Medicare are on the block.

    Standard and Poors did make some headlines last month by warning about the US budget deficit, but S&P Is not the same staid firm that once gained it the respect of Wall Street, even though it does still (mis)use its good name for marketing purposes. My gut feeling is that S&P made that pronouncement more or less in order to attempt to reestablish it’s former reputation as a watchdog, rather than as an accurate warning. S&P, now owned by the McGraw (McGraw-Hill) family, has become a political actor more than it should be (look up the McGraw and Bush family connections).

    It is true that we cannot only borrow and spend, but the motivation behind all of the shouting and scare tactics is mostly about getting the Rethugs back on top, so that they can finally roll us back to the Eighteenth Century. Politics at its finest.

  6. hopefulandfree  •  May 16, 2011 @2:42 pm

    During the cold war, my parents used to thank God for “our free press.” To them, Pravda, the Soviet media source, was evil because it represented propaganda. Their discussions haunt me, still. I’m just not seeing the advantage of a system in which this clear illustration of our nation’s debt history shows up on a few blogs and websites, yet remains absent from national news programs and major newspapers. And then I wonder, what COULD educate the masses and prevent them from voting against their own interests, again. What would be required? I draw a blank.

  7. Swami  •  May 16, 2011 @3:00 pm

    Who Increased the Debt?

    Why that’s a no brainer question…Of course it’s Obama with his socialist agenda. Who else?

    I want my country back!

  8. biggerbox  •  May 16, 2011 @5:40 pm

    Moonbat, I beg to differ.

    We’ve borrowed immense sums since the economic crash to try and stave off the Great Recession – so much so that 1) our credit rating is faltering, and 2) all the talk and extreme propositions about deficit reduction are in response to #1.

    Actually, we’d ALREADY borrowed immense sums to run two wars and fund the Bush tax cut. And the real reason our credit rating is faltering is that the clowns in DC who merrily put all that stuff on the charge card are still practicing voodoo, not economics. (Not that the credit rating agencies are to be trusted, as we learned in the collapse of the mortgage-backed-securities scam.) If you look at breakdowns of what is contributing to our debt, you’ll see that Obama stimulus programs are minor compared to those tax cuts and the wars.

    I’m afraid all the talk and extreme propositions about deficit reduction are not, in fact, about dealing with our borrowing, so much as they are about making it impossible for Democrats, particularly the one in the White House, from implementing any social programs or policies.

    The clearest example of this is the Ryan proposal for the budget, which, while it claims to be all about cutting spending and saving us from the Deficit Monster, actually doesn’t really cut the deficit at all, though it does dismantle Medicare and give rich people more tax breaks.

    The Republican leadership isn’t seriously interested in fixing the economy if that contradicts their ideology. So, they can’t acknowledge that the auto bailout was a great success, or that we might actually need to look at raising some taxes, not cutting them, etc. Hell, they’re still trying to sell the old crock that cutting taxes raises revenue! Facts be damned, it’s Republican dogma, so it must be true.

    That said, I do find this chart annoying, because the bars show percentages, but it’s unclear if they’ve normalized them to the same scale. If we’re talking about increasing a very small deficit, a large percentage wouldn’t be all that many dollars, and likewise a small percentage of a large deficit would be very many dollars. So, while the message is one I find intuitively appealing, I don’t trust it. And, frustratingly, the original post doesn’t have a link to its source, so there’s no way to click through to read about the calculations underlying the graphic.

  9. Tom B  •  May 16, 2011 @7:10 pm

    Tea baggers don’t “do” data.

  10. Candide  •  May 16, 2011 @9:44 pm

    The above graphs do look impressive, and demonstrate very well the fact that the Republicans have been the major contributors to the national debt.

    However, I will take issue to the very low figure of 16% debt increase that is reported for Obama. The big problem is the creative accounting that surrounds the Wall Street bailouts. What has been happening is that the banks received literally trillions in bailouts, but have “paid it back” by unloading their junk financial instruments (derivatives) onto the US government (via Fannie and Freddie). This junk is labeled “assets” though they are worthless. It’s a ticking time bomb that Obama will have to hope won’t blow up until after he leaves office.

    Not that this is any excuse for the Republicans’ blatant hypocrisy on the national debt. Their “ingenious” theory that lowering taxes for the rich would result in big budget surpluses (because it would cause the economy to boom) is incredible hogwash.

  11. Swami  •  May 17, 2011 @12:03 am

    However, I will take issue to the very low figure of 16% debt increase that is reported for Obama.

    I would assume that the years listed under each Presidents name corresponds to the time period in which the debt increases for each President was measured. Because of the difference in time periods in which each President was judged, only three( Reagan, Bush II, and Clinton) can accurately be measused as equals because they all had 8 years in office. Obama is only measured for two years so his 16 % doesn’t reflect a true and accurate figure for comparisons sake. By August Obama’s percentage will increase and by the end of his second term it will be at a firm number to accurately measure.
    With all attempts to discredit the validity of the graph aside..It conveys very nicely the gist of the GOP’s incessant howling about runaway debt spending and who holds the lion’s share of responsiblity for that issue.

    Oh, and Ronnie has been beatified within the ranks of the GOP so any negative numbers cast against him are now cast into the sea of forgetfulness and are as far apart as the east is from the west.

  12. c u n d gulag  •  May 17, 2011 @8:36 am

    From the debt to income – an interesting piece with a couple of great graphs on income 1950-1980 and 1980 to 2008 and the great disparity:
    http://critterscrap.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-30-years-of-reaganomics-has-done.html

    Not surprisingly, Reagan is again at the root of all of the evil.
    Reagan put a smile on the jackbooted kick in the privates that the rich thugs were/are giving us.
    And amazingly, they’ve sold a lot of people on liking that kick in the privates.
    ‘Please Sirs/Madam’s, may we have some more?’
    How do we know?
    That Paul Ryan is still walking the streets in the US, and not cowering in fear on some distant island.

    This nation will not be vanquished.
    It will die on its own due to a combination of endless greed and terminal stupidity.

  13. goatherd  •  May 17, 2011 @9:56 am

    Isn’t our credit rating reflected in the interest rate on 30 year treasury notes? Aren’t they still very low yield? James K. Galbraith had cited this a few months back.

    I generally agree with BiggerBox.

    It would be helpful to have the dollar value of the deficit side by side with the rise as a percentage.

  14. moonbat  •  May 17, 2011 @11:15 am

    @Thanks to all who tried to set me straight on the debt/deficit.

    OT, received an email from Al Franken about net neutrality. It includes a good rebuttal to the GOP hysterics about “government takeover of the internet”

    The sky is red. The world is flat. And two plus two equals pancakes.

    These statements aren’t just false — they’re downright ridiculous. And so is the claim that net neutrality amounts to a government takeover of the Internet.

    Let’s get this straight: Net neutrality isn’t a change — it’s the status quo. It’s the way the Internet operates right now: free and open. And it isn’t the government that’s attempting an Internet “takeover” — it’s the big corporations who want to undermine net neutrality and the Republicans who want to let them.

    It’s important that everyone we can talk to DOES know the truth — because this anti-Internet-freedom, pro-corporate-takeover legislation is coming to the Senate…

  15. Felicity  •  May 17, 2011 @1:57 pm

    I still haven’t recuperated from the news I read that the SS fund has $4.5 trillion in it but that’s not money, it’s IOU’s. So, all of us faithful, and feckless, workers who have been contributing, some times for 50 years, hard earned dollars into a retirement fund managed by the government are now being bamboozled into the belief that the fund will be broke by, and the date changes on a regular basis, 2025 when in fact politicians who’ve been leaving their now, apparently, worthless IOU’s in place of the money they’ve stolen for who-knows-what are trying to stiff us. Revolting.

  16. maha  •  May 17, 2011 @2:46 pm

    I still haven’t recuperated from the news I read that the SS fund has $4.5 trillion in it but that’s not money, it’s IOU’s.

    Interest-bearing securities, actually. The “IOUs” thing is right-wing propaganda.

  17. Thank You!  •  May 17, 2011 @3:29 pm

    Thank you, Maha. The false concept of the Social Security and any other positive-balance US holdings being kept as IOU’s is used to dumb down the voting public – and it works! Do voters really expect there to be large pile of gold or cash which an Uncle Sam dips into when needed to pay entitlements? The Social Security Trust Fund actually collects interest on it’s US Bond holdings. The reason why Congress years ago mandated such holdings is that US debt was then, and still is, the world’s safest, most secure “safe money” investment (guaranteed by US – that’s us – not to lose any principal value).

    Another Republican financial canard used to scare the public is the “threat” that China will wipe us out “if China calls in our debt”. While it is true that China has for the last couple of years been the largest single foreign sovereign nation-owner of US Treasury securities, China’s holdings are about $1.145 trillion in March – the last quarter reported, which is down from the all-time China high of $1.175 trillion in October, out of a total US debt of $14 Trillion (remember we “hit the limit” yesterday – more Repug shenanigans). In order to sell those debt securities, China would have to use the same securities markets that you, I, mutual funds, hedge funds, and any other other institutions or individuals use. China would be shooting itself in the foot if it were to “dump” its holdings at once – that action WOULD cause a market decline, and maybe a mini-crash, so it would be against China’s self-interest to do so, especially since the EU – the next-best credit risk – is currently in a worse position than US.

    Sorry I don’t know how to embed links (nor highlight, italicize, etc…)- here’s the China debt info: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-05-17/china-reduces-u-s-treasury-holdings-as-debt-ceiling-debated.html

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