In his speech last week on the budget, President Obama blamed his predecessor for creating the massive deficits which plague us today:
But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program -– but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts -– tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.
To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this: In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.
But that’s not what happened. And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place. When I took office, our projected deficit, annually, was more than $1 trillion.
What he didn’t mention is that when he took office, his party had had majorities in both houses of Congress for the preceding two years, with him serving in the upper chamber. Under Democratic leadership, the annual increase in federal spending jumped considerably. The federal deficit which had been declining for three straight years when Republicans controlled the executive and legislative branches, skyrocketed.
Nor did the president mention that while “the debt during Bush’s eight years in office increased from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion, or $4.9 trillion over eight years“, it has increased at an even greater rate since the Democrat replaced the much maligned Republican in the White House:
. . . in the less than three years Obama has been in office, the debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to $14.2 trillion, a $3.6 trillion increase in about 27 months. In other words, Obama is increasing the debt by $1.6 trillion per year, three times as fast as Bush.
This is not to excuse Bush and the 108th and 109th Republican Congresses. After all, as we said repeatedly on this blog at that time, they didn’t do enough to rein in out-of-control federal spending, but to remind you that while “Bush’s record on increasing the national debt is bad . . . Obama’s is worse.“