I try to stay out of most political debates, but I want to toss a chart out to add a little perspective on the “Obama has added $6 Trillion of debt” talking point.
Check out the below chart (created in about 20 seconds using the awesome free St. Louis Fed online data tools).
The gap between the red and blue lines in each year is our deficit – that’s how much we need to borrow to keep the government running. The sum of all those deficits equals our debt. Make sense?
The rate of expenditure (red line) has been increasing pretty steadily no matter who has been president.
What has really been changing, obviously, is revenue (the blue line): first from the Bush tax cuts (2001-03), and then the recession (2008-2010; because less GDP = less tax revenue).
If you look at the end of the red line you’ll see that spending has been leveling out the past two years – for the first time in a long time. Also, revenue is increasing. We are starting down the path to fiscal recovery. We probably should be patting ourselves on the back a little, but of course no one wants to give either party any credit for this.
Personally I think we can cut expenditures AND increase revenues to close that gap (and turn it into a surplus), but nobody wants to have an adult conversation about that – thus the childlike brinkmanship and finger pointing.
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