Obama Doubles National Debt
from what it was when he entered office
President Obama has signed a budget deal for the next two years that will increase the national debt ceiling from $18.5 trillion to $20 trillion, putting it at levels almost twice of what they were at when he first took office.
The deal passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the Republican-controlled congress, with the House voting 266-167 on Wednesday and the Senate.
It allows for the Treasury Department to borrow another $1.5 trillion into March 2017, just two months after Obama leaves office. At that point, the country’s public debt will be around $20 trillion and the debt ceiling will need to be negotiated once again.
The deal was brokered with the help of Republican John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House who only left office on Wednesday. He said that the new increases didn’t represent a blow to fiscal responsibility, because the long-growing national debt was offset by $112 billion in spending cuts. Many Republicans, who lean towards fiscal restraint and support a balanced budget, were upset with Congress agreeing to the deal.
When President Obama entered office in 2009, the nation’s debt obligations stood at around $10.6 trillion dollars. It currently stands at almost $18.2 trillion, and is expected to approach the newly-agreed upon debt limit when Obama leaves the White House in January 2017.
Despite the national debt undergoing an unprecedented increase of $10 trillion during the Obama presidency, administration officials had previously criticized President Bush for roughly doubling the national debt with a much smaller increase. When Bush took office, the country was facing debt obligations of $5.8 trillion dollars, and it increased by about the same amount by the time his second term was up.
"We've added, in the last eight years, $4 trillion of debt to the nation's obligations,” former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on Meet the Press in 2009, just before Obama took office.
But the debt increase under Obama also eclipsed the increase during the presidency of fellow Democratic President Bill Clinton out of the water. Clinton entered office with a national debt of $4.4 trillion. He only added $1.4 trillion to the debt, bringing it up to $5.6 trillion, an increase of roughly 32 percent.
Though Obama had by far the largest dollar amount increase in the history of the United States debt, President Reagan ‘beat’ him in terms of a percentage increase. Ronald Reagan entered office in 1981 with a 998 billion-dollar debt left by Jimmy Carter, which subsequently increased to 1.86 trillion in 1989 – a 186% increase.