A Scorecard on Federal Spending
Just so history isn’t rewritten during the current outcry over deficit spending, here’s a recap of the national debt during the reign of the last five presidents. (All numbers come from the Treasury Department, here and here.)
When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, the federal debt was just under $908 billion. Eight years and several tax cuts later, it was $2.6 trillion. Difference: +186%.
Taking the $2.6 trillion debt he inherited, George H.W. Bush took us up to $4.1 trillion in 1992. Difference: +58%.
In eight years under Bill Clinton, the debt jumped from $4.1 trillion to $5.7 trillion. Difference: +39%.
Under George W. Bush, that $5.7 trillion in 2000 grew to more than $10 trillion in 2008. Difference: +75%.
Last year, under Barack Obama‘s reign (but not his budget), the figure went from $10 trillion to $11.9 trillion. Difference: +19%.
Which begs two questions: (1) Why do Republicans consider themselves the more fiscally responsible party? And (2) how did Reagan become the poster child of conservative budget policy?