How much has Obama added to the debt, anyway?

We’ve talked a lot over the years about how much of our current national debt is directly attributable to the administration of our most recent President Bush (I wanted to refer to him “George Bush the Lesser,” but I thought that someone might accuse me of being being less than fair and balanced), but I think it warrants repeating, especially when there’s a new, sexy infographic to share… The following comes from Ezra Klein at the Washington Post.

And, here’s the setup from Klein’s column:

…How much has Obama added to the debt, anyway?

There are two answers: more than $4 trillion, or about $983 billion.

The first answer is simple and wrong. The second answer is more complicated but a lot closer to being right.

When Obama took office, the national debt was about $10.5 trillion. Today, it’s about $15.2 trillion. Simple subtraction gets you the answer preferred by most of Obama’s opponents: $4.7 trillion.

But ask yourself: Which of Obama’s policies added $4.7 trillion to the debt? The stimulus? That was just a bit more than $800 billion. TARP? That passed under George W. Bush, and most of it has been repaid…

To hear the Republicans tell it, our current debt situation is the fault of that evil, black socialist, Barack Obama. As those of us who can read know, though, it has a great deal more to do with tax cuts for the wealthy and military adventures in service of U.S. oil companies abroad. Unfortunately that message doesn’t seem to be getting though to the American people, though, as evidenced by the fact that people are still turning out in frenzied, mouth-breathing droves to vote in the Republican primary.

Speaking of those Bush tax cuts, did anyone happen to hear what Grover Norquist, the president of the relatively innocuous-sounding group, Americans for Tax Reform, had to say the other day? He threatened to use his considerable power over Republican lawmakers to have Obama impeached, should he attempt to roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. If you’ll recall, those were the tax cuts that, according to Bush himself, were supposed to have sunset two years ago now, after having saved the American economy. They, of course, didn’t help the economy, but apparently that doesn’t matter — to even suggest that they be terminated is an impeachable offense. The important thing, during this perilous time in American history, as our national debt threatens to send us hurtling into the abyss, is that we keep these tax cuts, so that the wealthy among us continue to pay less in taxes under Obama than they did under the deified Ronald Reagan. Of course, no one on the right seems to be aware of that fact either.

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  1. Jiggs
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Wait. How can socialist health care reduce the national debt by $123 billion? Please help me.

  2. Edward
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Klein explained that in a piece a few weeks ago, Jiggs.

  3. Brainless
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Jiggs, you’re just being a dick by saying “socialist healthcare”. You know goddamn well that folks are talking about single-payer, not a nationalized health system.

  4. Elf
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    This is way too complicated for the average American. It’s easier to look at Obama, see that he’s black, and then jump to the conclusion that he’s a shiftless, lazy, basketball-playing “food stamp” President, who wants to turn America into a country where everyone, except for the downtrodden, hard-working rich, are on welfare.

  5. Demetrius
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    @ Elf

    You’ve just distilled the entire Republican 2012 campaign strategy into a single sentence.

  6. Jiggs
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Brainless, I do know that. I was playing the role of someone who doesn’t, asking in their voice, as most people who call it that don’t understand what it really is all about and that it actually does reduce the national debt.

  7. lamont
    Posted September 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    elf you sound like a democrat. obviously anyone who doesn’t love obama MUST be a racist,right?
    Hate to break it to you ol pointy ears, but even people who are not racist dislike obama and his crap policies. I’m not a racist. I am Caucasian with a black wife(been married 12 lovely years so far) , and even she dislikes obama.
    It seems to be the democratic war cry to start spouting oh he so racist!!!! about anyone who doesn’t agree with obama.

  8. Chelsea
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Saddly we found out in the last election that more people VOTE for a living than WORK for a living. This is the problem we have

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