A Promise Unkept

Debt growth by fiscal year - 1950 to March 2012 (Data Source: U.S. Treasury Department)

In exactly 3 years and 2 months, President Barack Obama accomplished what took President George W. Bush eight full years to achieve. Obama’s dubious honor occurred on 3/19/2012.

Barack Obama surpassed George W. in the amount that he has raised the U.S. national debt.

At his current world record pace of $4.3 billion/day, should President Obama be reelected, he will add a staggering $12.51 trillion to the national debt over 8 years. That will bring it up from $10.6 trillion the day Obama took office to a mind-blowing $23.14 trillion the day he leaves.

If Obama is a two-term president then, together with George W. Bush, they will have more than quadrupled the national debt.

All the fiscal irresponsibility by all past congresses and past presidents combined are insignificant compared to that.

A Promise Unkept

Today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office
– President Barack Obama, Fiscal Responsibility Summit, 2/23/2009

With great fanfare in late February 2009 – a month after assuming office – President Obama held a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” at the White House. It made huge headlines everywhere when Obama made his bold promise.

An adoring press lavished great praise on the new president. He’d just solved the financial crisis with passage of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and was now moving on to tackle the nation’s debt problem.

Obama brought in experts from all over the country for talks to confront debt head on and bring the nation’s fiscal house in order. He’d tackle healthcare, social security and tax reform while doing so.

Healthcare reform was pushed hard for its cost savings at the summit.

Things Changed Fast

We’ve had The Affordable Care Act now for two years, yet national healthcare costs continue skyrocketing.

About $90 billion in ARRA “stimulus” funding went to subsidize state Medicaid programs instead of creating jobs. Another $1.5 billion went to make a flu vaccine we didn’t need. That is partly to blame for its stark lack of success in both creating jobs and stimulating the economy.

President Obama still plays the blame game over debt and the recession that he “inherited” from George W. Bush. Yet in just a little over three years he inflicted more damage on this country’s fiscal position than GW did in eight years.

Its time for Democrats and Republicans to stop pointing fingers at each other and take the bull by the horns… or there might not be an American dream for our descendents.


The debt comparison between Bush and Obama is a bit unfair to Obama given it doesn’t account for inflation. Today, its kinda symbolic. Tomorrow it won’t be.

Technically speaking, Obama probably hasn’t quite surpassed GW yet… that will happen the end of this month when quarterly Treasury bond payments come due. That will add about $100 billion instantly to the national debt.

What is true, though, is that both Obama and Bush are culpable for the fiscal harm they have wrought.

Bush is not as much to blame as Obama would have us believe. Contrary to popular belief, Bush no more caused the recession Obama “inherited” in 2009 than Bill Clinton caused the tech bubble recession that GW “inherited” in 2001.

GW fought not one, but two serious recessions during his presidency. He caused neither but both added to the debt load.

The costly prescription drug program, Medicare Part D, passed under Bush. Obama has and still does strongly criticized it for adding to deficits, yet he actually embraced and expanded the program in his own “affordable” care act.

Both presidents are responsible for their war policies that contributed to deficit spending. Bush’s Iraq, for example, should never have been fought.

Obama, however, continued and added to Bush’s war policies by following the Bush Iraq exit strategy, tripling the size of of the Afghan war, quadrupling the size of the drone wars and bombing the heck out of Libya. All that cost money we don’t have.

Both GW and Obama have blame for the predicament we are in.

In the end, though, Barack Obama is still in a position to do something about his part. President Obama, so far, shows no sign of taking debt seriously.

Obama’s will remain… a promise unkept.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Mar 21, 2012, in Affordable Care Act, ARRA, Debt, Debt crisis, Deficit, economics, National Debt, news, Opinion, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. In America, we get stuck in ruts here and there and elect a string of mediocre Presidents. Who remembers those of the late 1800s. So far the 21st Century looks like another period of mediocrity. I guess Bush W and Obama took Dick Cheney seriously, when VP Cheney said “deficits do not matter.” Maybe Cheney is the real President still

  2. The debt time-bomb won’t wait for us to find sanity, AZ. The only way to defuse the bomb is to start paying down the debt and that is bot politically feasible. In the not too distant future, the Chairman of the Fed will have to choose between runaway inflation or forcing the government to default. Best get ready for runaway inflation.

    • To be honest… I don’t care what is politically feasible… I only care about doing what will save the American Dream for our descendents.

      I believe that The Fed can help, but that President Obama will not help. 😦

  1. Pingback: Despicable New Obama Super PAC Ad Blames Romney & Capitalism for Cancer Death

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