Obama's $5 Trillion Moment

Posted: Apr 19, 2012 3:15 PM

I buried this item at the bottom of my early morning post on Romney's rhetoric, but I think this staggering milestone merits a separate post.  The Obama legacy:

In the 39 months since Barack Obama took the oath of office as president of the United States, the federal government’s debt has increased by $5,027,761,476,484.56. Although he has served less than a term, Obama is now the first American president to see the federal government's debt increase by more than $5 trillion during his time in office. During the full eight years that George W. Bush served as president, the federal government's debt increased by $4,899,100,310,608.44. (Rising from $5,727,776,738,304.64 to $10,626,877,048,913.08.) The $5,027,761,476,484.56 that the debt has increased during Obama's presidency equals $16,043.39 for every one of the 313,385,295 people the Census Bureau now estimates live in the United States.

This president has accumulated more debt on his watch than the first 41 presidents combined.  President Bush -- who inherited a recession, then presided over 9/11, two wars, and a horrific economic collapse at the tail end of his term -- added less than $5 Trillion to the national debt over eight years in office.  Obama has eclipsed that mark in less than half the time.  When he was a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama assailed Bush's record on the national debt, even using the hyper-charged term "unpatriotic" to describe his predecessor's record:


"The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.- Barack Obama, July 3, 2008

If Bush's (unacceptable) debt accrual was "unpatriotic," how would Obama assess his own performance?  Two final notes: (1) The annual federal deficit is the difference between outlays and revenues in a given year.  The federal debt is every anual deficit rolled up into one figure.  Obama has increased the debt by more than $5 Trillion and has racked up annual deficits of over $1 Trillion for four years running -- after pledging to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.  By Obama's own standard, those two facts represent an "unpatriotic" broken promise of epic proportions.  (2) This president's unanimously-defeated FY 2013 budget would add $11 Trillion of additional debt by the end of the decade.  By his administration's own admission, this president has no solutions to the coming debt tsunami, but he sure hates other people's ideas.  Four more years!