National Debt Graph by President
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In 1981, the supply-siders commandeered the Reagan Presidency and employed their Voodoo economics, as Bush senior had called it in 1980. He was saying that tax cuts would not increase government revenues. As you can see on the graph above (get it on your smartphone [#app info]), the Voodoo failed just as Bush predicted, and the supply-siders turned a 32-year winning streak into a debt disaster that continues to this day. For 20 years, under Reagan and the Bushes, the national debt increased compared to GDP every single year. In most other years it decreased. Twenty years in a row can't be just an accident, but to understand you need to learn the voodoo strategy. (Why graph Debt / GDP ?)
Bush senior fought against supply-side debt, so the Republicans didn't support him and he lost to Clinton, who put an end to supply-side economics. G. W. Bush brought it back full strength, with V.P. Cheney saying "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Currently supply-siders are in full control of the Republican party.
What about Obama? Notice how the debt accelerated during Bush's last two budget years. Obama's debt is a continuation of that trend and neither Bush nor Obama are directly responsible for that acceleration. It happened because of the recession. Bush set the all-time record by increasing the debt by $1.1 trillion in 100 days between July 30 and Nov 9, 2008—but that had little to do with his choices.
Recessions cut tax revenues—in this case, dramatically. That accounts for nearly half of the deficit. So blaming Obama for the full deficit is like blaming him for not raising the tax rate to keep tax revenues up. Most of the increased spending is automatic increases in unemployment benefits, food stamps, and social security payments for early retirement. Very little of it is from stimulus spending, and that's over.
The green line shows what would have happened to the national debt if Reagan and the Bushes had balanced their budgets as Reagan claimed he would. G.W. Bush, in all modesty, claimed he would "retire nearly $1 trillion in debt over the next four years. This will be the largest debt reduction ever achieved by any nation at any time."
Republicans are quite [#embarrassed] by this performance, so they have invented a cover story: The Democratic Congress did it. Nice try. But for 12 of the 20 years the Congress was not Democratic. Also, presidents can veto, and when it was Democratic, Congress passed smaller budgets on average than the Republican Presidents asked for. Presidents propose the budget, and they have the most influence. Check it out.
The Election. ZFacts' new Reality App has this graph, amazing facts (e.g. who ran the debt up by more than $1 trillion in 100 days), and much more. To see and install it on your mobile, browse to zFacts.com/vote . If you're on a PC/Mac click here.
If Romney is elected, the debt will continue to rise the same reasons it went up under Reagan — more military spending and tax cuts for the rich. Obama will follow Clinton's path, but will have a harder time of it, because this recession is far worse than the one Clinton faced when he took office.
|[=embarrassed] By 1987 Ron Paul was asking "How is it that the party of balanced budgets, with control of the White House and Senate, accumulated red ink greater than all previous administrations put together?"|
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