Government

What is the actual federal debt and who caused it?

I'm still not optimistic

We hear a lot these days about deficits, debt and even more about who is at fault, who added more and why.  What we don’t hear a lot about are the facts.

So let’s take a look;

On January 20, 2001 at the start of the Bush administration the federal debt was $5,727,776,738,304.64 (that’s trillion).  On January 20, 2009 at the end of the Bush administration the federal debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08 or an increase in eight years of $4,899,100,310.609 for an annual average increase of $612,387,538,826 (that’s billion).

On January 20, 2009 at the start of the Obama administration the federal debt was $10,626,877,048,913. As of January 20, 2012 the debt was $15,236,271,879,792.78 for an increase of $4,609,394,830,879 in three years or an annual increase of    $1,536,464,943,626 (that’s trillion).

So what caused all this debt; spending and tax reductions, but mostly not paid for spending.

In May 2001 Bush enacted tax cuts worth $1.3 trillion. On September 11, 2001 we began our war on terror followed by the Iraq war. In December 2003 Medicare Part D was approved (unfunded). In October 2008 we had the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

Remember, that from January 2007 forward both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats.

Obama inherited a debt that had about doubled during an eight year period. During his first three years he increased the debt another 50%

During his administration we have had several major spending bills, including:

2009

February 17: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

May 20: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009

August 6: Cash For Clunkers Extension Act

November 6: Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009

2010

March 18: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act)

March 23: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

March 30: Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

July 22: Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010

September 27: Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010

December 17: Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010

And of course, in February 2012 extension of unemployment benefits and the Social Security tax holiday.

So whose fault is our current debt? It’s every member of Congress since January 20, 2001.  Does it matter who inherited what or on whose watch September 11 occurred or the economy collapsed, not if you are a taxpayer or creditor of the U.S. it doesn’t.

You promised me...

Keep in mind that no matter how you slice it, no matter what shenanigans occurred by the financial community, the root cause of the economic crisis was federal policies trying to push more and more people into home ownership they could not afford and that goes back several administrations and Congresses controlled by both parties. Of course, careless individual borrowing and debt accumulation by individuals added fuel to the fire as well.

Raising taxes alone is not going to get us out of this mess and not just because you can’t raise enough in taxes to do so without killing the economy, but more importantly because Congress keeps spending without regard to the consequences.  You can argue all you want that short-term spending is necessary to stimulate the economy as many liberal-minded economists do, but the reality is that Congress doesn’t know when to stop because spending means votes from this generation and the people most affected can’t vote yet, so who cares.

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