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Originally posted by MaskedDebater
So let me see if I got this straight. Our economy is in the tank and is largely and often unsoundly blamed on Obama.
Mr. Obama's $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, by his own admission, redefines the role of government in our economy and society. The budget more than doubles the national debt held by the public, adding more to the debt than all previous presidents -- from George Washington to George W. Bush -- combined. It reduces defense spending to a level not sustained since the dangerous days before World War II, while increasing nondefense spending (relative to GDP) to the highest level in U.S. history. And it would raise taxes to historically high levels (again, relative to GDP). And all of this before addressing the impending explosion in Social Security and Medicare costs.
The public debt on Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama took office was $6.3 trillion. So "all those other presidents combined" were responsible for $6.3 trillion in debt. Under Obama, it has grown by $3.4 trillion to $9.7 trillion, as of May 27, the most recent figures available.
A few preliminaries. First, there are two common measures for debt. One, called public debt, tallies up the debt held by the public, while gross federal debt is a larger figure that combines publicly held debt plus debt held by the government itself, such as in the Social Security or Medicare trust funds. Both figures are considered legitimate, and since Palin didn’t specify which one she was referring to, we’ll run the numbers for both categories of debt.
Second, we’ll assume that all the debt accumulated under Obama should be attributed to him. In reality, this isn’t a logical allocation, since the first budget he wrote was actually for the 2010 fiscal year, and because he -- like all presidents -- inherited the fiscal legacy of his predecessor.
Still, calculating it this way is much simpler -- and as we’ll see, it won’t matter to the outcome.
We turned to the Treasury Department’s "Debt to the Penny" calculator, where we found that on Obama’s first day in office, Jan. 20, 2009, the public debt stood at $6.307 trillion; gross federal debt stood at $10.627 trillion. For the most recent date available -- May 27, 2011 -- these two debt figures stood at $9.718 trillion and $14.345 trillion, respectively.
That means that under Obama, the public debt rose by $3.411 trillion and the gross federal debt rose by $3.718 trillion. That’s a huge amount of money -- but it’s far less than what was accumulated by Obama’s 43 predecessors.
Because debt is cumulative (minus any intervening surpluses) the debt level for the previous 43 presidents is equal to the amount of debt on the day Obama was inaugurated. So even by the standards we used -- which aren’t especially favorable to Obama -- the debt he accumulated amounts to either 54 percent of his predecessors’ combined debt (using the public debt figure) or 35 percent (using gross federal debt).
Neither of these figures is "more … than all those other presidents combined," ....