Snap Fact #283 - The Obama Administration has added less than 20% as Much to the National Debt as Compared With the Bush Administration!

Post date: Aug 22, 2012 3:41:20 PM

Snap Fact #283

The Obama Administration has added less than 20% as Much to the National Debt as Compared With the Bush Administration!

There has been much written about which President is responsible for huge surge in the National Debt in the last 11 years. Republicans mistakenly insist that President Obama has been the main source of the increase while Democrats lay the blame on President G. W. Bush. Our research department has carefully examined the documentation and sorted through the financial spin and distortions to present an accurate and truthful account of how the National Debt has been built up to its current staggering amount. In the end it is clear that the lions share is unmistakably and mathematically attributable to the Bush administration, although many have been led to believe otherwise.

In the following chart, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities lays out the mathematical case once again in an easy to follow format. This time, a careful study of the chart shows that in point of fact, the two biggest items on Obama's list are 1) the Recovery Act which is an investment rather than an expense that will be returned many times over in the long run; and 2) the extension of the Bush tax cuts which was cynically forced upon the President by the obstructionist Republican House.

Earlier this year, The Rational Majority, published an extensive piece about the mathematics of the National Debt - how it got to where it is, and who really got us there. Math is math and no lies, contortions, or misinformation can change the bottom line. The fact is that the Bush administration added 5 times the amount that the Obama administration added to the National Debt. The full article can be accessed from the home page of The reader will find several other relevant articles in the web site archives which is accessible under the "SNAP FACTS" section. President Bush left his successor two wars that were unpaid for, Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, prescription drug bill that was unpaid for ("unpaid for"- that’s Washington parlance for bills not offset by corresponding spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere in the federal budget). It is only good common sense, as well as a law of accounting, that the money spent and unaccounted for by the Bush administration is attributable to the party that spent it, not the party that corrected the cooked books.

Adding to the deficit: Bush vs. Obama

Since President Obama became chief executive, the national debt has risen almost $5 trillion. But how much of that was because of policies passed by Obama, and how much was caused by the financial crisis, the continuation of past policies and other effects? For this analysis, we worked with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to attach a price tag to the legislation passed by Obama and his predecessor. George W. Bush’s major policies increased the debt by more than $5 trillion during his presidency. Obama has increased the debt by less than $1 trillion. Read related article.