The series of posts on the National Debt keeps growing. I spent months researching the topic in an attempt to understand its history and evolution.
My first draft of this series of seven posts was at least three-times longer than the final copy. It is confusing enough, so I cut.
However, this morning I awoke wanting to know how much of the national debt each president and his congress was responsible for.
The reason I do not blame just the presidents is because each president submits the annual budget to Congress and Congress may add to or subtract from what the president requests. Then Congress must vote to enact the budget and the president signs it into law. Then there is the mandatory part of the budget and the discretionary portion. The president and Congress, without cooperation, cannot do much about the mandatory section of the budget such as Social Security.
For the sake of simplicity, I did not attempt to do the math to discover the exact amount each president (except G.W. Bush and Obama) is responsible for beyond his term in office, because if President Truman is responsible for $8.6 Billion of today’s $16.3509 Trillion national debt, then he is also responsible for the annual interest on that $8.6 Billion and the interest compounded annually on that interest for sixty years. If someone wants to figure that out, be my guest. But first, you would have to know what the interest rate was for each year of those sixty years after Truman left office and the interest seems to change every three months.
For example, I found a post at Intellectual Take Out.org on the interest rates of the national debt starting in 1970 (you may notice that the interest rate has been as high as 14% and as low as 0.1%. At the end of 2010, the interest was 1.7%).
Each President’s (and his Congress) share of the National Debt
- Truman’s share of the National Debt was $8.6 Billion.
- Eisenhower’s share was $5.6 Billion.
- Kennedys share was $3.3 Billion.
- LBJ’s share was $9.3 Billion.
- Nixon’s share was $54.6 Billion.
- Ford’s share was $48.4 Billion.
- Carter’s share was $168.8 Billion.
- Reagan’s share was $2.2376 Trillion.
- G. H. W. Bush’s share was $1.143 Trillion.
- Clinton’s share was $74 Billion.
- G. W. Bush’s share was $6.3002 Trillion.
- Obama’s share is currently about $2 Trillion.
THE DETAILS OF THE RESEARCH:
When Harry Truman became president (1945 – 1952), the National Debt from World War II was $260.1 Billion. The Interest on the debt during Truman’s term as president was $32.6 Billion. Truman was responsible for about $8.6 Billion of that interest.
The National debt Eisenhower (1953 – 1960) inherited from President Truman in 1953 was $266 Billion—an increase of $5.9 Billion. During Eisenhower’s term as president the interest on the debt was $44.8 Billion. Eisenhower was responsible for about $5.6 Billion.
The debt Kennedy (1961 – 1963) inherited from Eisenhower in 1961 was $292.6 Billion—an increase of $26.6 Billion. The interest on the debt during Kennedy’s years as president was $14.4 Billion.
The debt LBJ (1963 – 1968) inherited from Kennedy after his assassination in 1963 was $310.3 Billion—an increase of $17.7 Billion. The interest on the debt during LBJ’s years as president was $55.3 Billion. LBJ was responsible for about $9.1 Billion.
The debt Nixon (1969 – 1973) inherited from LBJ in 1969 was $365.8 Billion—an increase of $55.5 Billion. The interest during his term was $74.7 Billion. Nixon is responsible for about $11.2 Billion.
The debt Ford (1974 – 1976) inherited from Nixon in 1971 was $483.9 Billion—an increase of $118.1 Billion. The interest during his term was $70.9 Billion. Ford is responsible for $6.7 Billion.
The debt Carter (1977 – 1980) inherited from Ford in 1977 was $706.4 Billion—an increase of $222.5 Billion. The interest during his term was $160.5 Billion. Carter is responsible for about $40.9 Billion.
The debt Reagan (1981 – 1988) inherited from Carter in 1981 was $994.8 Billion—an increase of $188.4 Billion. The interest during his term was $910.6 Billion, and Reagan was responsible for about $360.2 Billion.
The debt G. H. W. Bush (1989 – 1992) inherited from Reagan in 1989 was $2.878 Trillion—an increase of $1.8832 Trillion. The interest during his term was $747 Billion, and he was responsible for about $71 Billion.
The debt Clinton (1993 – 2000) inherited from G. H. W. Bush in 1993 was $4.351 Trillion—an increase of $1.474 Trillion. The interest during his four year term was $1.6097 Trillion, and he was responsible for about $201 Billion.
The debt G. W. Bush (2001- 2008) inherited from Clinton in 2001 was $5.7699 Billion—an increase of $1.419 Trillion. The interest during his term was $1.291 Trillion, and he was responsible for about $234 Billion.
The debt Obama (2009 – ) inherited from G. W. Bush in 2009 was $11.8759 Billion—an increase of $6.106 Trillion. The interest during Obama’s first term in office was $833.0 Billion, and he is responsible for about $86.3 Billion.
In December 2012, at the end of President Obama’s first term, the National Debt had increased to $16.3509 Trillion—an increase of $4.475 Trillion.
However, President Obama inherited two wars. To be fair, the cost of those wars since he has been in office was subtracted from the total that he contributed to the national debt along with the interest that goes with the cost of the wars. Obama also inherited the 2007-08 global financial crises, and TARP funds were approved during G. W. Bush’s presidency so that amount was also added to Bush.
- In 2009, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $155.1 Billion.
- In 2010, the cost was $171.0 Billion.
- In 2011, the cost was $170.7 Billion.
G. W. Bush’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of October 2008 started out at $700 Billion but was reduced to $475 Billion by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Act in July 2010, and President Obama signed it into federal law.
In addition, Fact Check.org says, “The truth is that the nearly 18 percent spike in spending in fiscal 2009 — for which the president is sometimes blamed entirely — was mostly due to appropriations and policies that were already in place when Obama took office.
“That includes spending for the bank-bailout legislation approved by President Bush. Annual increases in amounts actually spent since fiscal 2009 have been relatively modest. In fact, spending for the first seven months of the current fiscal year is running slightly below the same period last year, and below projections.
“Obama can be fairly assigned responsibility for a maximum of $203 billion in additional spending for that year. (2009).
“It can be argued that the total should be lower. Economist Daniel J. Mitchell of the libertarian CATO Institute — who once served on the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee — has put the figure at $140 billion.
Total spending for G. W. Bush’s last two budget years was $2.9825 Trillion for 2008 and $3.5177 Trillion for 2009 (President Bush requested $2.7 Trillion, but Congress enacted $3.518 Trillion).
For 2010, President Obama requested $3.552 Trillion, and Congress enacted $3.721 Trillion. For Revenue, Obama requested $2.381 Trillion, and Congress enacted $2.165 Trillion,
In 2011, Obama requested $3.834 Trillion, and Congress enacted $3.630 Trillion. For Revenue, Obama requested $2.567 Trillion, and Congress enacted $2.314 Trillion.
In 2012, Obama requested $3.729 Trillion, and Congress enacted $3.796 Trillion. For Revenue, Obama requested $2.627 Trillion, and Congress enacted $2.469 Trillion.
In conclusion, President Obama requested $667 Billion in revenues that Congress did not enact and Congress spent $32 billion more than Obama requested for 2010 – 2012. One could argue that Congress was responsible for $699 Billion in spending for those years—not President Obama.
Who do you think contributed the most to the National Debt?
Note: The primary source for government spending was US Government Spending.com and the US Government Printing Office
Start with The Evolution of the National Burden – Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”