Republican National Debt: $12 Trillion and Counting

This page explains
[#the green line]

  Republicans blame the "Democratic Congress" for their debt increases. The trouble is that Congress was only Democratic 8 out of the 20 years, and in those 8 years, on average, Congress passed smaller budgets than the Republican presidents requested. The specifics are all right here: It Was the Republicans.

So, let's add up the debt under Reagan and the Bushes. We can't blame Reagan for the debt's increase until his first budget took effect, October 1, 1981. Then, for 12 years until Sept. 30, 1993, the Republicans ballooned the debt. Later, George W. Bush took over.

  • Under Reagan and Bush: $3.4 Trillion increase in the debt.
  • Under George W. Bush: $6.1 Trillion.[#1]
  • Total:  $9.5 Trillion. (without counting interest)

But wait, there's interest on that debt ... continued below the graph.

The debt went up during Clinton's years only because of $2.2 Trillion interest on the Reagan-Bush debt. Otherwise Clinton would have paid off most the remaining WWII debt. G.W.Bush got [#sand-bagged] by Reagan.

Just like a mortgage, the debt incurs interest, so the Reagan-Bush-I debt grew during the Clinton years. The average debt interest rate in those years was about 6.5%, which would increase it over 50% without compounding, but with compound interest the total debt – including interest – increased by $2.2 trillion.

  • Total Republican debt from above: $9.5 trillion
  • Interest on Reagan-Bush debt under Clinton: $2.2 trillion
  • Interest on $11.7 trillion after G. W. Bush: $0.3 trillion
  • (detailed calculation)
  • Grand Total Reagan-Bushes Debt:  $12 trillion (as of Sept. 30, 2010).

If the Republicans had not run up this $12 trillion debt, we could easily have pulled out of the Great Recession.

PopNotes used above:

The Obama stimulus package spent $36 billion ($0.036 trillion) before the end of Bush's final budget years. This has been subtracted.
[=the green line] The Green Line on the graph above shows what the debt would have been if Reagan and the Bushes had balanced their budgets. (Full-size graph)
[=sand-bagged] Not as Bad as He Looks
Almost half of the debt that Bush II ran up was from interest on the Reagan-Bush-I debt, but it was still all Republican.