Debt Reckoning


The Obama administration is playing a game of opposite limbo with the federal budget: When it comes to deficit spending, its operative question seems to be "How high can you go?"

New numbers posted today on the Treasury Department website show the National Debt has increased by more than $3 trillion since President Obama took office.

The National Debt stood at $10.626 trillion the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated. The Bureau of Public Debt reported today that the National Debt had hit an all time high of $13.665 trillion.

The Debt increased $4.9 trillion during President Bush's two terms. The Administration has projected the National Debt will soar in Mr. Obama's fourth year in office to nearly $16.5-trillion in 2012. That's more than 100 percent of the value of the nation's economy and $5.9-trillion above what it was his first day on the job.

Mr. Obama frequently lays blame for soaring federal deficits on his predecessor.
"By the time I got into office we already had a $1.3 trillion deficit and we had exploded the national debt," he said last month during one of his backyard chats with Americans.

The president has a (partial) point: Bush ran up mountain-sized deficits too. And when he left office, one of his gifts to the incoming administration was a giant pile of debt. But instead of chipping away at the problem, Obama has allowed the nation's budget deficit to climb even higher. And his commitment to long-term deficit reduction is weak, at best. Sure, he's committed to reducing the deficit to 3 percent of GDP. But as Peter Orszag admitted earlier this year, his own budget fails to propose actual policies to achieve that reduction.  Instead, it relies on a non-binding commission conveniently set to release its findings shortly after the upcoming election. I think it's pretty safe to say that when a president is a serious about taking action an issue, he usually doesn't choose to address it by relying on a powerless commission that releases its findings in December. Bush's budgeting failures were real, and significant. But they don't excuse Obama's lack of follow-through.

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  1. Follow through? No one with any sense expected Obama to follow through on such a bogus commitment.

  2. I think it’s pretty safe to say that when a president is a serious about taking action an issue, he usually doesn’t choose to address it by relying on a powerless commission that releases its findings in December.

    Let me be clear.


  3. Don’t you see they’re investing it for us.

    1. The U.S. government’s bailout of financial firms through the Troubled Asset Relief Program provided taxpayers with higher returns than yields paid on 30- year Treasury bonds

      Good! When’s my check get here? I need it to pay for my Halloween stuff.

      1. One of those subsidies is the $350 billion that savers forgo each year because the Fed keeps interest rates near zero, according to Petzel’s calculations. While banks can borrow at close to zero from the Fed, they lend to consumers and corporations at almost 5 percent, or to the Treasury at 2.5 percent, and they get to keep the difference.

        See, the system works!

  4. Bushed jumped off the runaway train, so Obama had no choice but to speed it up. What’s that about a bridge out ahead?

    1. What’s that about a bridge out ahead?


      1. Don’t worry, it’s Shovel Ready?

        1. You fool!! You should have begun the post with “Hello McFly!”. Your fail has been noted.


        I’m gonna make it jump the tracks!

    2. Hey, if you saw someone trying to drive a car that’s face first in a ditch by putting it in “D,” you’d drink a Slurpee and laugh at the poor idiot, too.

      1. The problem is we (I’m assuming the vast majority of this site) are in the car with him, and it’s our car.

        1. Oh, so “the black guy” stole the car from you, whitey?

          That is straight up RAAACIST!

        2. Nope, I bailed out on that piece of shit car. My excess capital has left the premises, and soon likely myself as well.

          1. So where did you find a better car?

        3. I’m selling black-market slurpees.

          “Hey kid. Get ya brain freeze.”

          1. “What flava you want?”

    3. That’s not fair. Obama inherited his policies from Bush.

  5. I just read a piece in the economist that came down on the side against austerity. It cited some IMF report that we have tons more money to borrow if necessary.


    1. Exhibit 3532 that The Economist is as stupid as it is pretentious.

    2. Haha, sure you can buy those new dresses and all this jewelry, honey! I get new credit card offers in the mail every day!

  6. Bush’s budgeting failures were real, and significant. But they don’t excuse Obama’s lack of follow-through.

    This can’t be stated enough. “But…but…Bush!!!” is the argument of a fucking child. If what Bush did was so bad (and it was), why are you continuing it at a potentially greater pace, asshole?

      1. One has to head off dipshits who will try and do a “look over there, Elvis!” by saying that if he slows down over the next few years his pace will be slower, overall.

        1. Now hold on there, hoss. I’d vote for Elvis.

          1. No one votes for Elvis, you goofball. He’s already the King.

            1. Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

              1. Eric Idle:

                “Well, I would have tried to meet Elvis because he loved Python. I met Linda Thompson (Elvis’ former girlfriend) the other day and she said that Elvis knew all the Python sketches. He would watch all-night Python. He would learn and recite them. Took the tapes on his plane. He would call people Squire from the “Nudge Nudge” sketch.

                I said to Linda, “What? You’re kidding!” She said, “No, we’d be up all night. He’d make me learn these things and we’d laugh and laugh and laugh.” And I just felt so happy. I mean, I knew we had the Beatles but Elvis as well! You know, Elvis saved my life when I was 13 or 14. He saved all our lives.”

                  1. You look nothing like the guy from “My New Haircut”. Disappointed.

                1. That’s been verified. He ran around quoting Holy Grail, too. Elvis. I must say his stock went up quite a bit for me when I heard that.

    1. Where is the “greater pace” you ignorant fuckstick?

      Did you look at the Cato link in the body of the article? It forecasts declining deficits down to $600 billion by 2014.

      1. Oh wow, GOOD JOB.

        1. I know, could he have walked into it any better than that? It’s almost like…he doesn’t actually pay attention to anything that’s said.

          1. You’re always running out preempting any criticism of Bush by calling anyone who states facts a “fucking child”.

            You’re worse than John.

            1. You keep digging that grave, shriek. I love it.

            2. Since when is a forecast a fact?

            3. I think you’ve failed to point out that the math in this article and its links are RACIST!!!!

      2. Shrike,

        You can’t be serious.

        If you are, you must fall down a lot.

  7. So how does Obama intend to pay back this debt he’s run up? I have to say, I don’t think we should accept a personal check for that much money.

    1. Fuck, the racism is all over the place here today. Sure, don’t take a check from “the black guy”.

      “You people” disgust me, and by “you people”, I mean you people.

      1. I would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddlin’ kids.

  8. Of course, as stated in their Pledge to America, the Republicans plan to cause the deficit to explode to even more insane heights.

    I’ll stick with Democrats, thank you very much.

    1. I’ll stick with Democrats, thank you very much.


      1. Citation, please.

    2. And the Dems will do the exact same thing.

      Were the right wing trolls during the Bush years as stupid as Chad and Tony?

      1. Yes. They’re exactly the same, just on different TEAMS; why would one be stupider than the other?

    3. If Chad left the Democrat party, would it’s average IQ go up or down. Discuss.

    4. Well, as long as we don’t have a Democrat Congress (you know, the branch that actually spends money) there’s hope. Even while dealing with the actual security issues the Copperheads kicked down the road in the 90s, Bush and the Republicans were reducing the deficit until Copperheads got the Congress.

  9. If this choice is between A and A, I’ll choose A. Got it.

  10. Face it gay people and ALL progressive people in AMERICA that voted for Obama as I have.

    He goes to church on SUNDAY. EVERY SUNDAY. Don’t listen to that ‘OBAMA is a Muslim’ Junk. He is CHRISTIAN. And, Christians are ANTI-GAY. Period.

    He NEVER intended on abolishing DADT. His faith forbids it. Obama and the Democrats use the Gay and Progressive community to obtain votes just as the Republicans use the Religious people.

    And, this is made clear with his actions. He doesn’t want the ruling to end DADT…he wants a survey by the military and a vote in congress. And neither congress will vote for it as republicans will STONE WALL and the military’s survey will (with no surprise) show that they don’t support it.

    We need another party (progressives and gays).

      1. I’m not a fag. I just play one in real life.

        1. That’s hot (no homo).

    1. He goes to church on SUNDAY. EVERY SUNDAY.

      No, he doesn’t. Instead of speculating, a simple Google search might have been more effective.

        1. You are just discriminating against me because I’m a Poof.


          1. Did you hear about the gay man who died of spontaneous combustion?

            One day, he just went and — poof!

    2. “And neither congress will vote for it as republicans will STONE WALL and the military’s survey will (with no surprise) show that they don’t support it.”

      Not only wil the Repubs not support it, but he’ll run into trouble from his own party like everything else.

      And, if the military survey isn’t anonymous, then of course a majority won’t support it.

      However, I think it’s not because he’s Christian that he has tried to block the federal judges ruling. He wants to get into the habit of challenging (and hopefully weakening) federal judges, for when they try to block ObamaCare and whatever else. Plus, as long as the issue is alive, he can blame team red. His whole presidency has been based on assigning blame to anything and anyone.

  11. So the governments deficit budget commission will release its results after the election.

    We’ll find out what the government’s stake in GM is really worth with the IPO after the election. We’ll be hearing the results of the Afghanistan policy review after the election.

    My cynical nature suggests that good news would be released about two weeks before an election.

  12. So the governments deficit budget commission wil release its results after the election.

    We’ll find out what the governments stake in GM is really worth with the IPO after the election. We’ll be hearing the results of the Afghanistan policy review after the election.

    My cynical nature suggests that good news would be released about two weeks before an election.

    1. Charlie Rangel and Maxine Wright ethics hearings- after…

      Extending the Bush taxcuts Allowing the Obama tax increase to occur- after…

      Union Pension Bailout- after…

      I think there might be a pattern there, somewhere.

    2. J sub – we’ll know what’s in the law once it’s passed? Don’t you see??

      It’s all part of the plan – it’s all going to be alright! Hopey Change!

  13. Let’s remember, too, that the Democrats controlled Congress the last two years of the Bush administration, when his deficits started to balloon. Congress even refused to pass a budget Bush’s last fiscal year (in favor of “continuing resolutions”) so Baracky could dip his snout deep into the plunder trough as soon as he eased into office.

    1. oh yeah – so what did they pass in new spending programs?

      All I remember was TARP after Paulson knelt and begged Pelosi for $700 billion so he could “save capitalism” while Bush licked his balls in the corner wondering what the hell was going on.

      1. Which proves what–that Pelosi has just as little concept of debt as Paulson and Bush?

        You’re not exactly making your case, here.

        1. shriek doesn’t make cases. He makes shit up out of thin air.

      2. He sucked her cock?

      3. Not sure, but you will note that Bush’s worst deficit years were those where Democrats had control of Congress, and the deficits up to then were actually shrinking.

        Even now, Obama’s smallest projected deficit is larger than Bush’s largest, and port-siders were wailing about how irresponsible those were. They seem to absolutely LOVE them now. Funny, that.

      4. TARP? You mean that thing that we made a profit on and which has reduced the deficit?

        Thankfully a few Republicans were willing to vote for it. It was their last partial measure of non-partisanship.

        1. Chad — Close, but wrong. The loans/forced cash infusions to the major banks have been paid back at a profit, but at the end of day, the program is currently estimated to cost the American taxpayers around $30-50 billion. This is far better then the original estimated loss of $350+ billion, but it’s not in any way reducing the deficit

          1. You give him WAY too much credit. TARP was an implicit guarantee that was given to the banks way before it was enacted. It is exactly why they were making such risky bets to begin with. So by praising TARP, you are saying the bank failures and subsequent recession were AWESOME!

            1. Are you talking to me? If so, I believe you are mistaken, and you have misread my post. I only wrote about the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) and its projected cost. If you want to discuss/debate the role of the Fed discount window, the ‘implicit’ government backstop provided to the mortgage industry, via Freddie and Fannie, and each of their roles in the recent recession — fine, but I just wanted to make sure we’re discussing that same thing.

              Side note — TARP was in no way implicit. Each loan was attached to many clearly define rules, which included, but not limited to, preferred stocks and warrants, requiring new claw back provisions’ on employee compensation, and changes to tax deduction limits for executive pay.

  14. “And his commitment to long-term deficit reduction is weak, at best.”

    Does the concept of weak commitment exist outside politics?

    1. Ask some of my ex-girlfriends.

  15. Bring on more stimulus–we are nearly in a depression.
    BTW, ever since I found out Reason was a Koch catamite operation, I call Reason Magazine the “Reason Fagazine.”

    1. “Reason Fagazine.”

      Eh. “D” for effort.

    2. You don’t perchance write for Fad Fagazine do you?

  16. It’s not fair to expect progressives to tighten the pursestrings after conservatives have dumped trillions into their spending interests. We have to restore the balance by spending the same amount of money on progressive interests.

    1. Makes perfect sense.

  17. But, we got Bernanke to inflate away all of our debt, dummies.

  18. You know what Obama, it is too late, far too late for you to coast on the “I’m not Bush” thing. I actually think that and the “Make History” meme were the two you rode into the White House. But you messed the first one up when you got there and 1. reneged on most of the reversals of Bush policies you promised and 2. started initiating all of your “Comprehensive Reform of Everything” bills.

    All you had to do was get in there and not be Bush, but you f*cked that up royally. And now, as I predicted when you were nominated, you’ve led your party to slaughter and put Bush’s party back into power in Congress. Way to go!

    1. IIRC your prediction of Obama’s downfall involved a racist backlash, not Hopey McChange stinking up the joint.

  19. Heads up Reason editors, you now have an excuse to link to the guy who may be our greatest social commentator of the day:


    The Parents Television Council denounced the makers of the TV show “Glee” for a hyper-sexualized GQ photo shoot that will be featured in the November issue.
    “It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on ‘Glee’ in this way. It borders on pedophilia. Sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment.

    Lea and Dianna are both 24 so this item contains an extra heaping batch of stupid.

    1. The Parents Television Council is one of the sillier organizations on the planet. I guess the anti-wrestling path they used to get main-stream exposure dried up, so now it’s on to Glee. Give me a break.

  20. “The president has a (partial) point: Bush ran up mountain-sized deficits too”

    He didn’t do it by himself.

    Congress controls the purse strings and the Democrats were in charge of Congress for the last 2 years of his administration.

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