The Partisan History of the Debt Ceiling

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We wrote this blog post about the debt ceiling in January. As yet another debt ceiling showdown looms, we thought a look back at the history of these (increasingly bitter) debates might be in order once again. We didn’t have to change a word.


Ronald Reagan gives a televised address from the Oval Office, outlining his plan for Tax Reduction Legislation in July 1981.

Ronald Reagan gives a televised address from the Oval Office, outlining his plan for Tax Reduction Legislation in July 1981. (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

As we head toward what will likely be another rancorous debt ceiling debate, the writers at The Guardian’s Datablog have updated their great series of charts that tell the ceiling’s story.

Since 1944, America’s debt ceiling has been increased 94 times. Up until the mid-90s, it was a pretty routine part of congressional business. But in the fall of 1995, Republican House leaders Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and John Boehner announced that within seven years they wanted $245 billion in tax cuts, entitlement reform and a balanced budget. President Clinton refused to give in and Americans dealt with the most serious government shutdown in U.S. history. In early 1996, when Moody’s announced they were considering downgrading America’s debt rating, the Republicans finally folded.

“The most crucial difference between Clinton’s debt limit battle and the current crisis is that, in 1996, the Republicans were bluffing. No Republican seriously considered defaulting on the debt to be a viable option,” Kara Brandeisky wrote in The New Republic.

A decade and a half later, in 2011, the debates created a stalemate that lead to an actual credit downgrade. (Clinton said that if he were still president, he would use the 14th Amendment — which many think makes the concept of debt ceilings unconstitutional — to bypass Congress. President Obama, a former professor of constitutional law, has so far resisted that option.)

Given the recent reluctance of the more conservative wing of the GOP to raise the ceiling, and the general GOP resistance to raising taxes, you may be surprised to learn that over the years Republican presidents have raised the debt ceiling more times than Democratic presidents.

In fact, the debt ceiling was increased the most times under President Reagan.

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Although the debt ceiling has been increased more frequently under Republican administrations, the amount it has been raised has been smaller on average than increases that occurred during the tenure of Democratic presidents.

For more data on the debt ceiling, including the number of times it has been lowered (yes, it happens, though not recently), take a look at The Guardian’s Datablog.

John Light blogs and works on multimedia projects for Moyers & Company. Before joining the Moyers team, he was a public radio producer. His work has been supported by grants from The Nation Institute Investigative Fund and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, among others. A New Jersey native, John studied history and film at Oberlin College and holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. Follow John on Twitter @lighttweeting.
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  • Anonymous

    An arrow may fly through the air and leave no trace; but an ill thought leaves a trail like a serpent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Cooper/100001997924719 Daniel Cooper

    Buy all the guns and ammo you can while you can. The fraud of the
    Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air and loaning to
    Governments at interest is coming to an end. The Politicians acting like
    drunken sailors and drug addicts with tax payer debt is ending. Now
    they want your guns. The right to bear arms was for self defense even if
    you needed to protect yourself from Government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-Kafantaris/100000398466956 George Kafantaris

    A fair fight, yes, but nobody gets bypassed, circumvented or nullified.
    That’s not how to run the government.
    Nor can we run it long with arm-twisting, expediency and gimmicks.
    Governing is hard work and we’ll just have to work through it. There are no easy roads to governing, just as there are no easy roads to learning.
    And for the same reason: Governing requires effort — not only to understand what needs to be done — but also effort to understand the other side.

  • Fred B.

    Since these events are not necessarily the result of unilateral acts, I’d like to see a chart doing a comparative relationship between Presidential terms, debt and deficit increases AND Congressional majority at those times.

  • Joy Danielson

    I agree. Well said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anne.walker.524 Anne Walker

    Easy enough to research. From 1981 to 1986, the GOP controlled the Senate while the Democrats controlled the House. From 1987 to 1994, the Democrats controlled Congress. Then the GOP took control from 1995 to 2006. What was left out of this article that should have been included is how much the debt increased under each president. During the Reagan administration it increased by 186%. Under Bush Sr, it increased by 54%. Clinton – 41%. Bush Jr – 72%. and 23% under Obama.

  • http://www.facebook.com/woodguy11 Raymond Fristrom

    And the party that has raised taxes the most was the GOP. Look up how many times Reagan did it. He is the one that put a tax on unemployment insurance. So those of on UI have that man to thank for taxing unemployment Ins.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433503445 Judy Zitko

    Problem is that our corporate controlled media never tells the people anything like this so they continue to be misinformed, which is intentional on the part of the special interests. Control the media, control the people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433503445 Judy Zitko

    Reagan also put in place the income tax on SS benefits as well as UI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433503445 Judy Zitko

    You’d see pretty much the same thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.postle.39 Greg Postle

    While we seem to be focused on the increase in the debt as a percentage during each administration, we also need to look at those percentages as real dollars. If we add up the increases, we discover that $100.00 of January 1981 debt had grown to $1,068.15 by the end of George W. Bush’s administration. The increase in debt under President Obama’s watch amounts to $245.67–a whopping 132% of the entire increase during Reagan’s two terms. Thus, we cannot say lightly the debt has grown by only 23%. This line of thinking is simple-minded and dangerous. This is unsustainable and cannot continue unless we wish to become the next Greece. And there will NOT any bailout available….

  • http://www.facebook.com/BingoSarahF Sarah Fuchs

    Why does this surprise you? Repubs are only against raising the debt when Dems are in the White House. I thought everybody knew that by now.

  • http://twitter.com/lafemmeartiste Kerrie B. Wrye

    Stop this fear-based rhetoric: “to become the next Greece.” The economic challenge we all face, deserves to be interacted with as clear-eyed and clear-minded as good information can provide for clear our understanding and ability to resolve the best we can. We do not need the distraction of emotionally based acting out, while we all face this together.

  • I agree with Obama!

    “The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means ‘The buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.” — Sen. Barack Obama, March 16, 2006

  • Anonymous

    This all makes perfect sense. Debt is a function of spending and spending is a power that only Congress holds. And Congress has been in the hands of the Democrats more than Republicans over the last 50 years, including during Regan’s presidency.

    Indeed, the fact that the ceiling numbers have gone up less when a Republican is President is simply a correlation of a Republican President serving to attenuate the increases in spending Democrats want year-over-year.

    In fact, the only time we even balanced the budget in the last 50 years, it was a Republican Congress that did so. They refused to give in to Clinton and even shut the government down. The press played it up as a victory for Clinton, but we reelected the Republican Congress and more importantly, the Republican Congress balanced the budget multiple times. And we enjoyed a pretty good economy overall during that time. In fact, the recent economic recession did not start until well after Democrats finally retook control of Congress. And it accelerated when Obama was elected and has only finally improved once we got a Republican House back in place to put a brake on the Democrats liberal law making.

  • Anonymous

    Reagan? I think you must be an Obama supporter and think a President can just make up laws. The Democrat Congress in 1984 passed the law that started taxing SS earnings on income above a certain threshold. That Congress was overwhelming Democratic. And in 1993 another Democrat Congress increased the threshold and started taxing 85% of those earnings, increasing the taxes people pay on SS. And that year, the President was a Democrat too.

    You guys act like Congress has nothing to do with taxing and spending. The reality it Congress has the power over all taxing and spending. The President can issue a veto, as Regan and Bush I and Bush II did many times. But Congress can override, which gives Congress the ultimate power over both.

    Civics. It’s not just a class that gives you time to play on your phone.

  • Anonymous

    Debt when Obama because President was just over 10 trillion. It is now over 16 trillion. Your skill at arithmetic leaves a lot to be desired.

    And the data is clear. Debt increases have occurred mostly under Democrat Congresses. Even under Bush II, the last two fiscal years (2008, 2009) were years that Democrats controlled both Houses. And in those two years the deficits were over $450 billion and $1.2 trillion. The FY 2007 year, the last year the Republicans had during the Bush years, the deficit was $170 billion.

    Since Presidents cannot increase the debt, nor appropriate a single dime, what matters is the party that controls Congress when it comes to spending and taxation. That has, and will always, be true. Just ask Obama whether he wishes he had a Republican House or Democrat House right now.

    And of course The House is where the majority is the most important as they don’t have the filibuster. It is better to control The House than The Senate.

  • Anonymous

    There have been such studies and they show the Democrats are the biggest spenders, and Democrats under Obama the biggest of all. But one also has to be fair and account for the fact that a large part of our spending is mandated by law and that Congress does not appropriate on a per-year basis. These programs are almost all programs passed by a Democrat Congress and signed by a Democrat President. We call most of them “entitlements” and they are on auto-pilot.

    Once passed, the programs have obligated succeeding Congresses when it comes to spending. And killing a program is extremely hard. Both for domestic political reasons and structural (think filibuster and the 60 Senate vote rule).

  • Fred B.

    I understand that one session may mandate and the other gets stuck paying…or raising the debt ceiling on their own choices. But I’m not inclined to agree that Dems under this administration are the worst of the worse. Depressed GDP coupled with tanking Federal revenues, arguably effective stimulus packages (of further income reduction through tax breaks and state handouts) and willful obstructionism by the loyal opposition tend to suggest label of “biggest of the worst” is somewhere in the category of red herrings. Nope. Not hopping on this bus.

  • Tom

    Everyone should educate themselves as to what and how much our Federal Government spend and allocates to redundant policies and self-serving programs. In effect, how would each of this generation go about ridding this Nation of the 17 trillion debt that now hangs on our heads……..

  • Anonymous

    Greece does not have the ability to control their own currency. They are part of the EU. Greece, Spain, Portugal are all proof that austerity does NOT work. France has bucked this trend and is growing out of their economic problems. No country on the earth has ever cut their way to prosperity and out of economic downturn. There is no instance of it, ever. There is ample evidence that following the GOP model of “trickle down” economics doesn’t work. When it was forced on Chile at gunpoint, supply side economics created 54% unemployment.

  • Anonymous

    This is a lie.

    Dubya left office with 10.7 trillion in debt, and another 1.1 trillion in debt service. That’s 11.7 trillion. Add to that another 500 million in lost revenue to the Treasury as a result of the Republican Great Recession, and you have a grand total of:

    $12,311,349,677,512

    http://www.skymachines.com/US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Percent-of-GDP-and-by-Presidental-Term.htm

    Bush policies like the tax cuts for the super rich that were in place when Obama took office created another 2 trillion in debt, along with the Republican Great Recession that this corrupt Republican congress refuses to fix by creating jobs. Obama’s policies have resulted in only 2 trillion in spending that can be attributed to his management of the economic meltdown that he inherited.

    Corporations and the super rich are not paying much if anything in taxes. The effective tax rate is less than 13% and some industries like energy receive large subsidies that they should not be receiving.
    If we fix the tax code and have everyone pay their fair share, and pass a jobs bill that will put people back to work, the revenue will grow the economy and the debt will not be a problem. Cutting spending at this time will be national suicide, similar to what was imposed on countries in the EU, but self imposed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1727680892 Beth Dennis

    Did you look at the charts? Republicans may have raised the debt ceiling the most number of TIMES, but Democrats have raised the debt ceiling by far and away the most MONEY.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1727680892 Beth Dennis

    You mean that Obama’s buddies, like Warren Buffet and General Electric, aren’t paying much in taxes. Doesn’t matter how much they owe, they just don’t pay them. And they get away with it because they are Democrats.

  • John Roman

    Can you read the charts? Reagan raised in more than anyone and the GOP raised it 54 to 40 since 1940.

  • jam77

    rdhl77,
    The debt ceiling was raised to almost $12T on February 17, 2009 – not even a month after Obama was sworn into office. I would credit Bush with $12T so it is you my friend who needs to check the math.
    You seem to cherry pick your information and pretty much blame the Democrats for everything. When Bush left office our economy was losing 750,000 jobs a MONTH! Response? I look forward to the spin. Two wars – unfunded and not included in the budget plus tax breaks for the very wealthy (yeah, yeah yeah – everybody but the top 1% got the majority of it) and Part D medicare along with lax oversight of the markets led to the recession in 2008.

  • jan

    You also seem to forget that when Clinton and Obama were campaigning they were faced with debt numbers to tackle. repeat BEFORE they came into office!!!

  • Anonymous

    The debt ceiling is raised to pay for money already spent… this means that a 1st term democratic president is pushing to increase the debt ceiling for debts incurred during a PRIOR administration…

    What is missing from this article is the timing of the debt ceiling increases vs. when the debt was incurred.

  • Anonymous

    This is missing one important piece of the puzzle: When was the debt incurred for which the debt ceiling is being raised to accommodate it? My best is that during the first year or two in office of a presidential administration, the debt ceiling increase is to pay for the debts incurred during the PRIOR administration and congressional terms. After that, there is a shift of the debts from the prior administration and congressional terms to the more recent ones… but there is still a lag.

    The only reasons that there might be debt from a prior administration or congressional term that would be lasting longer than two years or so into a current term would be (1) massive off-budget military spending (as per the prior Bush administration’s Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts which Obama folded back into the budget), and/or (2) national economic crash with Congress failing to take proactive steps to address job growth and increase tax revenues.

  • Leonard Gresham Sr.

    you are over looking Bush who did away with the Clinton surplus and took the country closer to a depression then we have been sense the 1929 great depression. why didn’t republicans put the brakes on George?

  • Anonymous

    Three points: First, you conveniently forget to mention that, in addition to re-electing a Republican Congress after the 1995 government shutdown, we re-elected Bill Clinton as President by one of the widest margins in U.S. history. Second, the recent recession started in December of 2007, just eleven months after the Democrats took control of Congress, not “well after,” as you state. And third, most of the causes of this recession stem from laws passed and laws repealed by the Republican Congress in the 1990s and bills signed by Democratic president Bill Clinton. There’s plenty of blame to go around for both parties.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve learned over the years that whenever someone uses the word “Democrat” when the context determines that the correct word is “Democratic” watches too much Fox News. The Congress sworn in in 2007 was a Democratic Congress because both houses were controlled by the Democratic party, which has been called the Democratic party since before the Republican party even existed. Would you call the 1995 Congress the Republic Congress? Of course not.
    Englsh class is also not a class that gives you time to play on your phone.

  • Gene Thaden

    This is something I wrote for another forum, but most of it applies here.

    The powers that be just love to see us fighting amongst ourselves over
    whether the right or left is correct. The argument is where to spend the
    money extorted from the people via taxes, or in other words theft. The
    Ds want to spend it on social programs and the Rs want to spend it on
    wars and interventions in places we have no business. When the elections
    are over they get together behind closed doors and make their deals.
    Just like professional wrestlers, everything is choreographed ahead of
    time. With only a very few exceptions all of the ranting and raving and
    hand wringing about the “other side” is for show, to occupy the people
    in pointless arguments so they will not look too closely at what is
    really occurring.

    Obamacare will drive us more quickly into bankruptcy. We will not have to deal with it for long because the
    economy is unsustainable even at this point. The present government is
    going to default on its promises to take care of the elderly through SS
    and medicare. I hope that it goes quietly into the night and does not
    make war to further distract us from its inevitable downfall.

    Those who argue on either side are accepting that there is some kind of
    political solution to our problems. The corruption that is ubiquitous
    in government will not let that happen. For the most part ensconced
    bureaucrats that cannot be fired because of civil service laws and can
    cause the lives of politicians they deem unfavorable to them to be a
    living hell are the real rulers and villains. It seems most here look
    for salvation through political elections and legislation. Your faith in
    the rule of men is very misplaced.

    In this post, more to the point, Keynesian economics has been followed
    since at least the 30s, and the results have been the extension of the
    depression and the belief that spending is a measure of economic health,
    not saving. As a result, government spends to goose the economy and
    tells us that debt doesn’t matter, This is all straight Keynesian
    economics. It is the cause of our massive debt, which, according to
    Larry Kotlikoff, the present value of just SS and medicare and medicaid
    is 222 trillion. Keynsianism has been taught since the 1940s in all of
    our schools and colleges, and it has brought about this nightmare of
    debt. Keynes told the government what they wanted to hear and they have
    been running with it since 1936. It is total junk, has never worked,
    and will be the cause of the default of our government. At this point
    in time the pointing out of who raised the debt ceiling more times than
    another is irrelevant. The whole works is Keynesian and their adherence to this economic system is universal among both parties so comparing the difference between them is useless because they both essentially believe the same thing.

  • Anonymous

    Whether Clinton or Congress was responsible for a balanced budget is up for debate. What is NOT is that taxes on the wealthiest were cut AGAIN by Bush(after Reagan’s huge cut for them), which has decreased government REVENUE; we’ve had deficits every year since. The wealthiest have pocketed the extra money and it has NOT ‘trickled down’, unless, of course, you count Communist CHINA. The GREED at the top is a huge part of the problem. Why else do CEOs, athletes, some actors, etc. demand HUGE salaries of millions per month? Because they can KEEP it. Used to be, there was no incentive to want MORE and MORE and MORE….it went to the Feds….who used it to PAY OFF huge debt from the Depression and WWII (fought on a credit card!) Wake up, America. The richest 400 individuals in this country now have more wealth than most of us combined! American dream??? Yeah, for Paris Hilton, CEOs and a few ‘super-star’ entertainers….. Ugh…. I think those who are blessed the most should pony up the most and pay BACK a portion of their good FORTUNE….

  • Anonymous

    CORPORATE media, you mean. The media is about as ‘liberal’ as the companies who OWN them….

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    notice this stupid article has a table showing the number of increases by each president and not the total amount of all increases. this is how libtards lie to you.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    would have given this post an up arrow if the first sentence had been left off.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    call him whatever names you want. he could be your next elected public offical.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    there are only 3 ways to get rid of debt: 1. declare the debt to be legally invalid 2. go bankrupt and throw ones self on the mercy of society 3. pay it back.

  • VitruvianMind

    Dear author,
    I think your goal was to add some historic context and expose the political agendas underlying these debt ceiling debates, and I can appreciate that. However, you completely miss the point and are either falling victim to, or at the very least contributing to the smoke and mirrors that is US media/politics.

    *** Not allowing the debt ceiling to raise does not control spending. All it does is says that we are not going to pay back money we already spent.***

    The statistics in the article should not be on who has raised the debt ceiling. They should be of which party has threatened to NOT raise it. So that we can know which party is willing to put the future of this country at risk, AND lie to us at the same time. All for personal/political gain.

    Ill explain a little since apparently many people just don’t get this, or are confused, or something, I don’t know.

    The debt ceiling should always be raised. It should be a formality for congress to ‘allow’ it. Really, congress should not even have that power in the first place (many people would argue the constitution actually says that they don’t). We are the only democracy on this planet that even allows for this situation to arise.

    ***No person, or group of people, should be allowed to say that WE THE PEOPLE will not repay money that we have promised to repay***

    (much less use that as a threat for their own benefit)

    Our elected officials can decide how much money they are going to tax us, and where/how they are going to spend that money. That’s fine. But after deciding to take our money, and spend it, they cannot make the decision on our behalf that we are going to turn into deadbeats. That’s not their decision to make.

    Every US citizen should take it as an insult that any politician even tries to play this game. It shows that they either don’t think we are smart enough to understand, or that we dont pay enough attention, or just don’t care enough. Even scarier, maybe they don’t care if we all see exactly what they are doing, but they don’t think we are powerful enough to do anything about. Either way, it’s a disgrace and I am angry and embarrassed that it happens in this country.

  • kml22

    Good point. Also those of you who state that bush did awaywith the surplus are forgetting that the president doesn’t hold the purse. Cutting taxes actually brought in more revenue. However, just because th have a surplus doesn’t mean you should spend it all. That is what the congress did, which usually is the dems but the repubs ended up with their hand in the cookie jar too. If you have a $100 don’t spend $200. Seems pretty simple to me, of course on a grander scale.

  • Anonymous

    “Debt is a function of spending’? Good grief, most anyone knows that debt is the difference between INCOME and spending. You righties only look at one side of the equation. The TRUTH is that with huge tax cuts under Reagan in the 80s, we’ve had debt nearly every year since! We have a REVENUE problem as well, when the wealthiest pay a scant 14% (by Mitt’s admission), and GE and others pay 0% and get ‘rebates’? Good grief, it’s no wonder the 1% is walking off with most of this country’s wealth, and all you can say is “CUT” programs that benefit the middle class and poor? Get serious about debt and ask those who can afford to contribute more to do just that….while cutting ‘WASTE’, of course, but not every program under the sun….. We need a ‘balanced’ approach to the deficit, which is what Obama has been saying for 5 years! Lot’s of help he’s had, huh?????

  • Anonymous

    Flat tax? So the guys working for minimum wage pay the SAME rate as the CEOs with millions coming in? I disagree. We HAVE a flat rate now, up to a certain wage, then it jumps up and is FLAT for the next level. The top, marginal rate should be highest. When we lowered that rate is when we started huge debt, and CEO pay, athlete’s requests, top actors, etc. started demanding MILLIONS….’cuz they could KEEP nearly all of it! The more one is blessed, the more one should give back for the benefit of everyone in this country….IMHO, of course….

  • TrustKnow1

    Why not get str8 to the truth? The USA has been in receivership to the Federal Reserve since the 1933 Federal Bankruptcy Act! Every American is collateral against the borrowed money with your Treasury Paper birth certificate and SS issued serial number serving as bond.
    The Rothschild Bankster cartel owns everyone thru our ignorance and denial. Their Illuminatti NWO endgame is close at hand.
    I’ve been banned from CNN and Infowars by NSA tool DISQUS for posting this info and expect to be banned from here as well.
    Rothschild Illuminatti Holy Trinity —
    Gold
    Oil
    Drugs
    Ask Evelyn de Rothschild…

  • malam

    Look at the percentages johnrhett. The percentage reflects the amount of money, not the number of times, the debt has gone up, For instances, GWB raised the debt by 90%. Barack Obama 26%.

  • Armadillo

    oh yes, Keynesian economics must evil…it protects the working man

  • Armadillo

    Note that he said that is ’06, BEFORE the economy melted.

  • bridgetk

    Doesn’t the Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling, not the President? Duh. So how about a history of how many times the debt ceiling has been raised by either a Democratic or Republican Congress? That might be more useful – and perhaps less biased – information.

  • Anonymous

    The Reagan “trickle down” economics we have been seeing for the last 35 years is in no way Keynesian. Try again smarty pants. Heh, heh.

  • Anonymous

    Hahahahahaha! That was funny. That’s why I laughed.

  • Anonymous

    You can’t use percentages because as time goes on, the numbers get skewed. It doesn’t represent the amount of money, just the comparison to what it began to what it became.

    Say the debt was 150 and it was raised under Bush by 150 or a 100% increase. The debt is now 300 and under Obama it raises 200. For Obama, that’s only a 66% increase but was actually more dollars than Bush.

  • Anonymous

    From 1941 on: Under a complete Republican Congress, both House and Senate, the Debt Ceiling was raised by 3.621 trillion dollars. Under a Split Congress (one Dem and one Repub) the Debt ceiling was raised by 4.155 trillion dollars. By a complete Democrat Congress, it was raised by 8.849 trillion dollars. So when one party is in control, the Dems have raised the debt ceiling more than twice the amount of Republicans.

  • Anonymous

    Lets play the math game and learn what percentages actually represent.

    Say the debt was 1 trillion when Reagan took office. After his 8 years, it raises 186% (1.86 trillion) to 2.86 trillion. Bush Sr takes over and it goes up 54%, which is 1.54 trillion, so the new debt is 4.4 trillion. Clinton gets in and it goes up 41%, 1.8 trillion, to 6.2 trillion. Evil Bush Jr gets in and it goes up 72%, or 4.7 trillion. So Obama comes in with a debt of 10.9 trillion. It goes up 26%, an amount of 2.83 trillion. So while your percentages show Reagan>Bush Jr>Bush Sr> Clinton>Obama, by the actual amount it raised, it goes Bush Sr>Obama>Reagan>Clinton>Bush Sr.

    But at the same time, Bush Sr had only 1 term and Obama has only completed 1 term so the comparison of the total amounts isn’t fair. So lets look at what the amount is per year.
    Reagan – 1.86/8 = 0.2325 trillion a year
    Bush Sr – 1.54/4 = 0.385 trillion a year
    Clinton – 1.8/8 = 0.225 trillion a year
    Bush Sr – 4.7/8 = 0.5875 trillion a year
    Obama – 2.83/4 = 0.7075 trillion a year

    Wow, look how fast Obama goes from top to bottom when you don’t have inaccurate based percentages to hide behind.

  • Anonymous

    Some would call him an adjunct professor,but no, Obama was never a tenured Professor and he never authored a single article at Harvard law school.

  • J1971

    This year’s budget Medicare and Social Security spending will be about 54% of the budget, while defense spending is 18%. Maybe in your universe 54 is less than 18, but the fact is entitlements are over half of the current spending and that percentage will only increase as more and more baby boomers retire.

  • fight4women

    The debt ceiling has increased significantly under Democrats because of subprime fiasco which occurred on Bush’s administration. Not the Democrats fault. Clinton left office with a debt 4.1 trillion. Bush jr. contribution to debt was 6.6 trillion, leaving office with a total debt of 10.7 trillion. Obama inaugurated in Jan. 2009, 6 months after U.S. financial collapse. Obama had to raise ceiling by 3 trillion, create stimulus to keep major companies from going bankrupt, which would have lead to hundreds of thousands of people losing jobs;their homes and they themselves would be filing bankruptcy. That 3 trillion is on Bush…he did not do enough to toughen bank regulations. So Bush is responsible for 9.7 trillion dollars of debt. The latest increase to debt ceiling to 17 trillion is still from the snow ball affects of Bush’s administration…

  • Dan Crabtree

    Whoops what the fail to declare here is reagan had a democrat congress and there was no bargaining with these democrats…period..if fact these demos leagalized what turned out to be some five million new illegals and now today are set on legalizing some thirty million plus….votes of course..