If you say both are to blame for our enormous debt, you would, of course be right. But can we be more specific as to which Party carries the most blame? Yes we can thanks to the efforts of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
An interesting article at American Thinker helps to understand the time line of how our current debt came to be. Here are some excerpts:
In early 2001, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the USA will accumulate a total of $5.6 trillion in budget surpluses from 2002 through 2011, but the government instead racked up $6.2 trillion in new debt in this very time. This is an $11.8 trillion swing in a mere ten years.
The CBO works with numbers available at the time of the calculations without factoring in potential troubles such as a 9/11 Terror Attack, business corruption and so on. These eventualities were not considered when the agency projected the trillions in surpluses a decade ago. Regardless and for what it is worth, here is how the $12.03 trillion* turnaround happened according to the CBO (the numbers are approximate):
Oh how times change. From a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion to an addition to our debt of $6.2 trillion ( see the footnote for an explanation of why the swing is $12.o3 trillion rather than $11.8 trillion). any way you slice it that is one gigantic swing in our country’s fortune. Here is a short timeline of when the debt increases occurred:
- 30.6% of the turnaround took place in the Bush Republican Years (2001 through 2006) with an annual average of $612 billion.
- 15.2% took place in the Bush Democrat-controlled years (2007 and 2008) with an annual average of $914 billion.
- 54.1% took place since Obama became President (in early 2009) with an annual average of $2.167 trillion.
And here is a further breakdown of the numbers:
- $8.605 trillion of the $12.03 trillion* turnaround accrued due to Legislative changes such as new spending, new programs and the “cost” of tax cuts. The rest accrued due to economic and technical changes, such as recessions.
- 20.3% ($1.750 trillion) of the $8.60 trillion Legislative Turnaround is due to the increased outlays and reduced income of the 2001, 2003, and 2004 Bush Tax Cuts of which billions went to expand the Child Tax Credits for the poor and reducing tax rates for the Middle Class.
- 4.54% ($391 billion) of the $8.60 trillion Legislative Turnaround is due to the cost and reduced revenue of the 2010 Tax Act passed in the Lame Duck session.
- 3.03% ($261 billion) of the $8.60 trillion Legislative Turnaround is due to tax changes of the American Recovery and Restoration Act (better known as The Stimulus).
- Combining the “cost” of all tax changes since 2001 (including the 2001, 2003, 2004 Bush Tax Cuts for the rich, middle class, and the poor; the Stimulus and Lame Duck Session tax provisions), amounts to $2.402 trillion dollars; which is only 27.9% of the Surplus-to-Deficit swing that accrued due to Legislative Action through the last eleven years. Additionally, the $2.40 trillion is only twenty percent of the total Surplus-to-Deficit swing of since 2001.
- Some Context: The total $2.402 trillion “cost” of all tax changes since 2001 (which includes changes for the poor, middle class and ‘95% of working Americans’ as Obama likes to say), amounts to an annual average “cost” of $218.45 billion, which is only 15.9% of the average annual $1.368 trillion deficits the US has in the last three budgets (2009, 2010 and 2011).
- The Medicare Prescription Drug Program added $272 billion through 2011.
So, Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi and, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, the next time you think about laying all of the blame for our debt at the feet Bush you might want to chew on the bitter fruit of facts first.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?
*While the first budget of President Bush was FY 2002, he had an effect on FY 2001 which started just months before he became President. Similarly, the first budget year of the Democrat Congress was FY 2008, but Pelosi/Reid had an effect on the FY2007 budget. President Obama had an effect on the 2009 budget despite the fact that it started a few months before he came into office. Therefore, the above calculations actually run on an eleven year stretch with a surplus-to-deficit turnaround of $12.03 trillion. FY 2001 counts as the first of Bush’s six years, and 2009 counts as the first of the three Obama years. After all, Obama was a member of the Senate Majority since early 2007. It is therefore fair game to place it at his feet FY 2009 from its start).