Show a Republican This to Expose Their Hypocrisy About Deficit Spending

gwbushThere’s a lot of rhetoric that comes from conservatives when it comes to President Obama.

I’ve never seen a man be accused of being so many different things, often accusations which completely contradict facts, logic and reality.

One of the accusations I always find most amusing is this “disgust” conservatives have with the spending under President Obama.  My favorite right-wing catchphrase is “Obama has spent more than every other President in United States history—combined.”

Which is by far one of the dumbest things I’ve heard considering that basic knowledge of math easily disproves it.  The national debt when he took office was $10.6 trillion, and it currently sits at $16.4 trillion.  That’s an increase of $5.8 trillion, or as I like to call it—not greater than the $10.7 trillion he would have needed to spend to more than double our debt and “spend more than the combined totals of all other Presidents in United States history.”

Now don’t get me wrong, $5.8 trillion is a lot of money.  But it’s also a number that has more than just what you see on face value, especially when  you consider these people voted for George W. Bush—twice.

See, much of the money that Obama gets blamed for in 2009 was actually passed in 2008—under Bush.  So if you take out the $1.4 trillion deficit we ran in 2009, which carried the budget passed in 2008 under President Bush, that puts Obama’s additions to our national debt at $4.4 trillion.

And contrary to what Republicans want you to believe, deficits are shrinking.  In fact, our deficit for 2013 is projected to be almost $500 billion lower than it was in 2009.  That’s nearly a 33% reduction in deficit spending in 4 years—under President Obama.  But I’m sure you won’t hear that on Fox News.

Also, what’s never mentioned is the fact that much of the cost for both wars was hidden by using supplemental appropriations that bypassed Congress.  When President Obama took office his administration finally put those costs on our books, which of course added to the deficits which get charged to him.

But what I like to look at is the hypocrisy of the “fiscal conservative” when it comes to spending.  They love to slam President Obama for his “out of control spending,” but they fail to mention that he took over a sinking economy and a national debt that had doubled the previous 8 years.  We had to spend a lot of money to avoid sinking into another Great Depression with an economy that was on the brink of collapse—again, thanks to 8 years of Bush.

Let’s take a look at the list of yearly deficits under Bush:

  • 2002: -157,758 Billion (First year with a budget passed by Bush)
  • 2003: -377,585 Billion
  • 2004: -412,727 Billion
  • 2005: -318,346 Billion
  • 2006: -247,181 Billion
  • 2007: -160,701 Billion
  • 2008: -458,552 Billion
  • 2009: -1,412,688 Trillion (Last year with a budget passed by Bush)

And for fun, let’s also look at the 4 years prior to Bush, under President Clinton:

  • 1998: 69,270 Billion
  • 1999: 125,610 Billion
  • 2000: 236,241 Billion
  • 2001: 128,236 Billion

Notice what those numbers are lacking?  It’s the negative sign before the number.  That’s because our nation had a budget surplus, not a deficit.  It took one budget passed under President Bush before he destroyed our surplus and sent us back into deficit spending.

And don’t give me the line, “Well Clinton had a Republican Congress.”  Bush had a mostly Republican-controlled Congress for his entire 8 years as President.  If the Republicans in Congress were responsible for our budget surpluses, they would have grown under Bush, not turned into giant deficits.

So it’s just laughable that these people act as if they suddenly care about spending, when the guy they voted for twice turned a budget surplus into giant deficits, doubled our national debt and destroyed our economy.

And this doesn’t even cover the Reagan years where we quadrupled our national debt and George H. Bush where we also added almost another $2 trillion to our national debt in just 4 years.

So the next time a conservative wants to harp about “out of control government spending,” simply ask them two questions:

  1. Did you vote for George W. Bush?
  2. Can you name a Republican President you voted for who actually balanced our budget?

Their answer to #1 will most likely be yes.  Their answer to #2 can only be answered by those old enough to have voted for Dwight D. Eisenhower, considering he’s the last Republican President to actually balance our budget.

“Fiscally conservative Republicans”—a phrase that’s more like a punchline to a bad joke than anything close to a political reality.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Jess Manuel

    These are facts, right? Then they won’t matter to a Republican voter or the entire GOP.

    They will continue to hate Obama because he’s a socialist, communist, Kenyan Muslim from Planet Not White America.

  • Victoria Lamb

    That’s a pretty sad commentary on the state of politics in America. So what shall we do about it?

    • dylan

      You vote for someone else.

  • You can show it to just about every republican but they will never
    believe it and they will come up with off the wall reasons why this is wrong.

  • WGAF

    They simply Hate Obama more than they love America.

  • Laughable

    “Conservatives” don’t care for Bush. Republicans do. There is a huge difference.

    • I don’t know a single self-proclaimed “conservative” that didn’t vote for Bush both times. Whether they ‘care’ for him, or not – they put him in place & viciously fought for everything the fool wanted. Now they all pretend that Obama did it.

      No accountability what-so-ever.

    • BD

      OK then how many conservatives voted against Bush?

  • The bottom line is that Republicans have no problem with blatant hypocrisy. They have no shame when it comes to what they say. They have one goal, returning to power, and they will do and say ANYTHING to get there,

  • As a registered independent,I will like to see a third party emerge,but since both parties have fixed the system to their benefit,its this type of bold face story telling that makes me vote Democrats into office.Republicans or Conservatives,whatever they want to call themselves need to come up with a new strategy.Barack Obama has closed the books on all the issues they use to win elections,be it National Security,Taxes or whatever.

    • cboo

      third party just takes away from democrats and pushes in another tpub to finish ruining this country

      • JB Tee

        Only until enough of us vote for them.

    • SyntheticPhylum

      I wish there was a viable 3rd party, as well. But at least the Dems have SOME interest in helping the lower & middle classes to survive & succeed!

  • Grumpmaster_Zz

    You are confusing total government spending with the deficit. Two different things. Govt spending has increased to 38% of GDP, and is around $3.7 trillion for FY2012. Revenues are only $2.5 T, and the difference must be made up by incurring debt. Obama is on track to spend almost $30 Trillion by the end of his Presidency, which is a little bit less than Clinton and Bush 43 combined – (although definitely not as much as all Presidents throughout history.)

    Total spending per recent president:
    Clinton: $13.7 T / avg $1.7 T per year (Note: 1994 & 1995 estimated)
    Bush: $20.4 T / avg $2.6 T per year
    Obama: To date: $14.3T; projected for next 4 FY: $15.6 T = total: $29.9 T / avg $3.7 T per year

    • Glad you brought up revenue. The bush tax cuts added trillions to the deficit. During the Great Bush Crash we were hemmoraghing 750,000 jobs a month (Lost Revenue). The Great Republican Recession of high unemployment also delivered Lost Revenue. As our economic engine picks up steam and more people are working that ads to the revenue. Too bad the do nothing congress doesn’t want to help to the jobs/revenue problem. Goper-nomics are a failure.

      • Salgofnir

        So it’s all Bush’s fault. I guess the Dem controlled Senate and House had nothing what so ever to do with it. The Senate that had Hillary, Obama, Biden and Clinton as members. Can you tell me a single thing that any of the 3 did while in the Senate to deal with the housing crash? I can tell you that before Obama was in the Senate he would sue banks for no making to loans to high risk inner city people. So please enlighten me as to how Bush caused the crash. A quick fact for you. in 2007 revenue has at an all time high. Even with tax cuts, bush had more revenue than Clinton.

      • Tony

        I suggest you look into what “control” they had on an actual government website, because it lasted a hell of a lot less time than Republicans seem to think and even that was plagued by filibusters.

        This concept that Democrats controlled both arms for any notable measure of time is flat out WRONG. Go look at the damn rolls already.

      • Salgofnir

        Sorry for not checking for a reply earlier. I have a life. The Dems took control of the Senate in 2004 and the House in 2006. So yes, I did look at the “damn rolls” already. But you did not answer the question. You failed to enlighten me as to how Bush caused the crash and the Dems that had controlled the Senate for 4 years and the House for 2 had nothing to do with it.

      • tcaruso01

        You need to learn the difference between control and a super-majority!! Besides the Tax Cuts and the two unpaid for wars began before the democratic majority came about!!

      • cobra614

        Bush and the Paulson together caused the crash. With the derivatives market playing Russian roulette with selling mortgages in bundles to the point that homeowners could not get a straight answer as to who was the underwriter of the mortgage. A lot of homeowners would still be in their homes if they knew they could challenge foreclosures because the original holder of the mortgage was no longer known. Allowing the banks to initiate unscrupulous lending practices and let us not forget that the bailout was under Bush and was in place when Obama took office. At this present time we are dealing with holding those responsible for crashing this economy if you have been paying attention.

      • Joe Downey

        2007 to 2009 President Bush ruled by Veto FACT

      • Joe Downey

        Obama and the Democrats in Sept of 2008 should have taken a play out of the GOP Playbook They should have done NOTHING let the Economy Crash and it be called the Bush Depression. BUT NNOOOOO Obama had to act like an adult

    • cobra614

      Well…let me clue you on some more numbers that you failed to factor in..

      According to the
      CBO and reputable economists­, the long-term impact of the fiscally irresponsi­ble
      policies orchestrat­ed under Bush will lead to the deficit exceeding $35
      trillion by 2023. Here’s the breakdown: (1) 15 year projected lost tax revenue attributab­le
      to Bush recession – $13 trillion; (2) Loss revenue attributab­le to Bush tax
      cuts for the wealthy – $7 trillion; (3) Bush oil and insurance cartel subsidies
      – $2 trillion; (4) Bush Prescripti­on Drug Bill – $1 trillion; (5) Bush era
      unfunded earmark spending – $6 trillion; and (6) Bush wars – $6 trillion.

      • Joe Downey

        you forgot the Trillions for Medical care due to the Wars

  • C. Angus

    Dude, you rip the Repubs for not knowing basic math, then you “disprove” their claims by faulty logic. A growing or shrinking deficit is NOT necessarily indicative of increased or decreased spending. It only measures the cumulative difference in expenditures and income. Spending may go up, but if the revenues keep pace the deficit will not change. Conversely, a cut in spending can (and often does, in a struggling economy) lead to an increase in the deficit through lower tax revenues. You simply cannot measure spending by looking at yearly changes in the deficit. Though the two can be related, ignoring income leaves your hypothesis sorely lacking.
    I agree with your premise, but you need to do the work and compare apples to apples. Unless you are auditioning for a job with Repubs or a Fox News role.

    • Donna_DHKBB

      Angus, the bottom line for Obama’s annual budgets reflects a shrinking deficit. It does not make a specific statement about spending or revenues. It does say he is spending less of whatever he is taking in. Do not ignore the fact that this administration IS spending less each year.

  • 2009 budget bush passed included the 787 billion stimulus package and i believe the actual quote would be that if he keeps his existing path he would add as much debt as all the presidents in history combined ….. just saying

  • This post has a convenient list of the deficits per year under Clinton and George W. Bush, but where’s the list for Barack Obama?

  • Salgofnir

    I am tired of people saying there was a budget surplus under Clinton. THERE WAS NO SURPLUS. It was an accounting trick. National debt is made up of public debt and intra-governmental holdings. The public debt went down while the intra-governmental holdings went up.

    • tcaruso01

      It was a projected surplus!!

    • Donna_DHKBB

      You’re confusing debt with budget deficit/surplus. Debt is cumulative. Deficits or Surpluses refer only to the budget (for each year).

    • SyntheticPhylum

      And there WAS a SEVEN TRILLION DOLLAR surplus in the Social Security fund ALONE. That was GONE before Dubya’s first year in office was over!

  • galen

    don’t forget repubs. kept bush tax cuts till 2012 wich added billions and billions to the debt

    • cobra614

      This is so true, Obama was being blackmailed into signing those tax cuts in order to ensure that Unemployment Benefits would be paid. Republicans were holding hostage those funds until he agreed to the cuts but letting them expire this time is another reason why the debt and deficit is going down…

  • Jerry

    You make a good argument, but one that is slightly better is to compare the national debt over time/president adjusted for inflation. Bush could hide the “deficit” spending, but not the debt

  • Charles Vincent

    The national debt when he took office was $10.6 trillion, and it currently sits at $16.4 trillion. That’s an increase of $5.8 trillion, or as I like to call it—not greater than the $10.7 trillion.
    This is deficit not debt.
    George bush inherited ~3.3 trillion in debt from bill Clinton’s presidency. George bush added another ~3.3 trillion bringing the debt to ~6.6 trillion
    The total debt at the end of 2012 is ~11.3 trillion which means Obama increased out debt by ~4.7 trillion dollars in 4 years. Compared to ~1.6 trillion per four year term during bush.
    This ~4.7 trillion is definitely more than every president up to Clinton. And it’s more than bush spent in eight years by ~1.4 trillion and ~3.1 trillion mor than bush spent during either of his 2 four year terms.

    • cobra614

      Did you factor in the surplus that was in place when Bush took office? You forgot that Bush spent his way through his 8 years like a drunken sailor and remember Cheney said deficits do not matter…remember that?

      • Charles Vincent

        You’re confusing debt with deficit they are two separate things. I am talking about debt. I included national debt when bush took office as a reference point so I could better illustrate how much obamas debt dwarfed not just bush’s debt but all other president up to Clinton. Remember when the democrats created America’s worst depression because of their poor fiscal policy, it lasted ~12 years. And I am not referencing the depression of the 1930’s.

      • Joe Downey

        The debt left by Carter to Reagan was 980 Billion 8 yrs later Reagan gave a 3.7 Trillion Debt to Bush the Elected, Bush the Elected gave Clinton aDebt of 5.4 Trillion Clinton then transferred a Debt to Bush the appointed a total of 5.8 Trillion. In 2009 the transferred amount was 10.7 Trillion FACTS

      • Charles Vincent

        The new CBO numbers and their analysis of the Obama budget through 2023 show a better long term set of numbers and they also include two different models one shows our total debt at 109 trillion in 2016, this number includes unfunded liabilities like social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but does not include the new unfunded liabilities that the ACA adds to the mandatory spending in the form of block grants to the states to fund those un able to pay for the now mandatory health care coverage. Also my posts on this topic are two months old and I have since started using the CBO’s newest numbers.

  • rwy

    Nothing new here. Nixon was able to open relations with China because he was an avid antiCommunist. Can you imagine if it had been a Democrat who dared try how the Republicans would raise the cry of Dupe! Dupe!? “The party of fiscal responsibility” can get away with huge deficits because they are “fiscally responsible”, so it must be OK.

  • K_Ann

    It’s unfortunate that people don’t understand the difference between debt, deficit and spending. In simple terms the deficit is the difference between revenue and spending and debt is the money borrowed to cover the deficit. You could double or triple the spending and as long as you doubled or tripled taxes the deficit would not change; you could also maintain spending and raise taxes and have a lower deficit.

    And the ever disingenuous Mr. Clifton carries on with two more fallacious claims; first he uses debt as a measure of spending – which is – well, just wrong – the budget or financial statement for each of those years would be the measure of spending. See above, the deficit is not a measure of spending. And then he interprets the claim of all presidents before him and meaning all presidents combined rather than each individually. What he should have done was gasp at the fact that in one term Obama increased the debt, that took several prior presidents to accumulate, by approximately 50%.

    Don’t swallow everything this guy says without thinking on your own.

    • DougH2

      No other President assumed a budget deficit over $1 trillion dollars. And, since the great depression, no other President assumed an economy that was losing 800,000 jobs per month. That’s on top of 2 of the big 3 automakers being close to liquidation, a DOW that had lost 3,500 points in the previous 6 months and two wars (first started with tax cuts rather than tax increases in the history of America).

      To attribute the additional debt to President Obama and the Democrats is blatant dishonesty.