February 17, 2015

How Obama Debt Ranks as Share of GDP

Last fall, Barack Obama, who has already accumulated a staggering $7 trillion in debt, said, “All kinds of good stuff is happening. I mean, we have cut our deficit by more than half.” Well, gee, that’s great. Except it’s egregiously deceiving. Most people interpret his statement to mean America’s $18 trillion debt is now less than $9 trillion. What he actually means is that the amount of money perpetually added to the national debt has, at least temporarily, been slashed in half. Rather than $1 trillion in annual deficit spending, it’s now only short of $500 billion. But how does public debt under Obama compare to previous administrations as a share of GDP? The Washington Examiner compiled a handy graph, which shows Obama comes second only to Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose ranking was largely driven by World War II. With public debt at 74.1% of GDP, Obama makes George W. Bush’s 39.3% look relatively meager. In fairness, “Presidents do not have full control over the federal budget, so they don’t deserve full responsibility for debt levels when they leave office,” the Examiner’s Jason Russell observes. Nevertheless, he continues, “[T]he veto pen is a major tool in budget debates, and the president deserves more credit or blame than any other individual.” And just imagine the figure if Obama always got his way – like his $4 trillion budget proposal. More…

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