The Debt Keeps Lifting Us (Higher and Higher)


Blockbuster debt

Back in April, Obama warned that the nation's "rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. The total public debt, he said, "has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy if we don't begin a process now to get our fiscal house in order." 

CBS News, today, on Obama's record-setting debt record:

The latest posting by the Treasury Department shows the national debt has now increased $4 trillion on President Obama's watch.

The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion.

It's the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.

The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama's four-year term.

Obama can plausibly blame some of the giant-sized deficit from his first year in office on his predecessor. And the long-term debt problems associated with entitlements existed before he came into office. But he owns the rest, as well as the failure to set in place a long-term plan to deal with it. Which may help explain his not entirely consistent rhetoric on the debt. On the one hand, he delivers a big debt speech in which he quotes Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warning that "the greatest long-term threat to America's national security is America's debt." On the other hand, he says the national debt is a "manageable problem." Judging by his record, however, it's one he's failed to manage. 

NEXT: The Contradictions of a Conservative

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  1. I have been assured by Top. Men. that taxing the rich/corporations solves all problems.

    Strangely I do not sleep very well at night.

  2. Obama can blame some of the increase in the debt from his first year on Bush, but that excuse really started to get old by his third year.

    1. that excuse really started to get old

      Yeah. I blame Bush.

    2. Even Khrushchev* realized you can only get away with that once.

      * Yes, I know, it’s probably apocryphal.

      1. “Write three letters…”

    3. being in the senate at the time isn’t exactly a rock solid alibi either.

  3. I’ve given up. I just popped some popcorn, got my sled out, and am hanging out for the inevitable ride down into the abyss.

    At least I’ll have popcorn.

    Woo hoo!

  4. The good news is that, at least according to Libertarian babe (yes there really is such a thing) Sonia Arrison, we are all going to live well past a hundred, so we will have plenty of time to slave away for the government to pay all that off.…..0465019668

    1. Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,207 in Books

      That book ain’t no Declaration of Independents!!!!

      1. The Jacket and Cavanaugh ain’t no Sonia Arrison.

        1. The Jacket and Welch, you mean? Damn, you are smitten, John.

          1. I thought it was The Jacket, Gillespie and Welch?

    2. Babe? I’ll give you the fact she’s not ugly, but she’s no Michelle Fields.

      1. And can either one of them compare to Lobster Girl?

  5. You remember when Bush wanted to address the Social Security shortfalls by privatizing a portion of contributions which would’ve gone a long way towards addressing the fiscal imbalance of the program?

    Good times.

    1. that woulda worked-out well. yesiree

      1. Actually it would’ve worked out awesome considering the crash and the subsequent turnaround of the market would still be an exponentially larger return in the long run than what I am supposed to get out of my current SSA contributions.

        And that’s going with the assumption that SS will actually have any money left when I retire, which at the current rate is a pipe dream at best.

        1. #don’t forget inflation vs. roi of ss#

          (you know who else had numbers of ss?)

        2. Don’t worry, you’ll get your money whether it exists or not.

      2. It was a pretty simple plan really. The government loses 6% of the employee’s contribution, so 3% of the total on behalf of that employee counting the employer share, and the government only has to pay that employee 94% of benefits. 6 is bigger than 3. Still.

        I never understood the controversy. On a $1,500 benefit the reduction w/b less than $100. Instead, you’d have an asset, assuming a 40 year work life a $30,000 salary for all 40 years and for simplicity no growth, worth about $4,000. Throw in modest growth and you’re probably not too far from a ‘real’ $10,000. The point being not that this was a great deal but that this was entirely on the margins of the program. Bush was proposing to poke a toe in the pond. But the pinky toe, not the big toe. But the media treated it as a bigger deal than it was.

        1. Can’t have people getting accustomed to capitalism and personal choice and all. Next thing there’ll be rock and roll music and dancing.

    2. And he of course was destroyed for the effort. Now we here how we must do this first. And of course it is domestic spending not entitlements that is driving the current deficit. From Byron York today.

      But how, precisely, did that happen? Was there a steep rise in entitlement spending? Did everyone suddenly turn 65 and begin collecting Social Security and using Medicare? No: The deficits are largely the result not of entitlements but of an explosion in spending related to the economic downturn and the rise of Democrats to power in Washington. While entitlements must be controlled in the long run, Washington’s current spending problem lies elsewhere.

      A lot of the higher spending has stemmed directly from the downturn. There is, for example, spending on what is called “income security” — that is, for unemployment compensation, food stamps and related programs. In 2007, the government spent $365 billion on income security. In 2011, it’s estimated to spend $622 billion. That’s an increase of $257 billion.

      Then there is Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income Americans. A lot of people had lower incomes due to the economic downturn, and federal expenditures on Medicaid — its costs are shared with the states — went from $190 billion in 2007 to an estimated $276 billion in 2011, an increase of $86 billion. Put that together with the $257 billion increase in income security spending, and you have $343 billion.

      Add to that the $338 billion in decreased revenues, and you get $681 billion — which means nearly half of the current deficit can be clearly attributed to the downturn.

      That’s a deficit increase that would have happened in an economic crisis whether Republicans or Democrats controlled Washington. But it was the specific spending excesses of President Obama and the Democrats that shot the deficit into the stratosphere.

      There is no line in the federal budget that says “stimulus,” but Obama’s massive $814 billion stimulus increased spending in virtually every part of the federal government. “It’s spread all through the budget,” says former Congressional Budget Office chief Douglas Holtz-Eakin. “It was essentially a down payment on the Obama domestic agenda.” Green jobs, infrastructure, health information technology, aid to states — it’s all in there, billions in increased spending.

      As for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP — it has no specific line in the budget, either, but that is because it was anticipated to pay nearly all of its own cost, which it has.

      Spending for Social Security and Medicare did go up in this period — $162 billion and $119 billion, respectively — but by incremental and predictable amounts that weren’t big problems in previous years. “We’re getting older one year at a time, and health care costs grow at 7 or 8 percent a year,” says Holtz-Eakin. If Social Security and Medicare were the sole source of the current deficit, it would be a lot smaller than it is.


    3. Because the best way to solve to the problems of social security insolvency is to nationalize the capital markets.

      1. Can we do that? Surely I can run them better than all those greedy capitalists!

        1. You already did: George Bush the younger did it for you on his second try.

  6. Obama’s one consistent trait is saying one thing and then doing the opposite. I find it so…appropriate that the president who was going to change everything will go down as possibly the worst, most mendacious, most economy-destroying president ever.

    It’s too bad Living Color couldn’t have included Obama in “Cult of Personality” because he would have been perfect.

    1. Is there, perhaps, a relevant Fishbone song?

      1. I’ll go with FB’s Properties of Propaganda not so much for the relevance but just because I love the line-

        Get together yo shit
        And Move your ass to a proper toilet!

      2. “Subliminal Fascism”? Nah; maybe “Behavior Control Technician”?

      3. I’m thinking more Power by Clawfinger. The lyrics are appropriate to any pol, but seem to have been esp. predictive of Obama.

      4. What about the Dead Milkmen’s “Takin’ Retards To The Zoo”?

      5. The Dead Kennedys would need to re-write one of theirs. “Illinois Uber Alles.”

    2. He could be spliced in with modern technology.

      1. It wouldn’t be the same.

        1. But we have the technology!

          1. So did George Lucas when he changed it so that Greedo shot first. Did that make it right?!? Think, man!!!

            1. Yes, but Obama fits the song so well. Like it was written for him. Like he tried to achieve the opposite of the song’s meaning.

              In Han’s case, he shot Greedo first. . .with good reason. I mean, the guy was sitting there talking about how he was going to shoot him. You have to wait until the guy shoots at you at point-blank range while he’s pointing a pistol at you and telling you he’s going to shoot you? What moral system is Lucas’ revisionism pushing, exactly?

              1. If Gandhi were sitting across from Greedo in that same situation, the Mahatma shoots first, every time.

                1. Electronic Mother’s Day Card: Come, Comrade Bender, we must take to the streets!

                  Bender: Umm, is this the boring, peaceful kind of taking to the streets?

                  Electronic Mother’s Day Card: No, the kind with looting. And maybe starting a few fires!

                  Bender: Yes! In your face, Gandhi!

                  1. To be fair, I’m not sure Gandhi had a position on looting. No violence, right, but sometimes a civil disobeyer needs some funds.

                    1. Wish I could remember the book, but he was supported by several wealthy Indians. One made the comment ‘It takes a lot of money to keep Ghandi in poverty’.

                2. Everyone knows Ghandi hated Rodians.

    3. Say what you want about Bush. At least he just wanted to tear down and rebuilt other countries in his own image.

    4. Obama’s one consistent trait is doing whatever Bush did, only more of it.

      More spending, more debt, more wars.

  7. OT — anyone else feel that quake?
    5.8 in virginia — shook my building in Columbus OH.
    pentagon being evacuated

    1. of course, it is an old building…

    2. my 1st quake. pretty fun, but i’m all the way out in dundalk. usgs is saying it happened in VA.

      1. (too excited to notice that CN already posted it’s origin)

    3. obviously they’re fracking around ur location.

    4. Could feel it in New Hampshire if you were paying attention.

    5. Re: Citizen Nothing,

      OT — anyone else feel that quake?

      Sorry if I scared you… My wife was in the mood, so…

      1. Really OM, who did she call?

        1. That’s why I said: Sorry if *I* scared you.

    6. Felt a little shake here in Pittsburgh. Pretty cool.

    7. I didn’t feel it (nor did anyone in the meeting I was in), but most of the people in my department did. Natick, MA.

      1. Is there really a twinkie factory there?

        1. Not anymore. Now it’s all about the software and drugs.

    8. “5.8 in virginia”

      Obama wrote in “3” on his scorecard.

  8. books off the shelf here in DC

  9. Damn, that was crazy. We felt that shit out here in West Virginia.

  10. Why not triple or even quadruple Bush’s deficit in one term? After all, we can’t have Bush outdoing Obama!

    1. Obama is just trying to prove the old adage that everything is bigger in Texas is wrong.

  11. Clearly, the earthquake is Bush’s fault.

    1. Cheney’s new autobiography is released next week. Coincidence?

    2. The Halliburton Hurricane Machine that caused Katrina has been retooled to cause earthquakes.
      Darth Cheney is at the helm.

      1. No silly. Global Warming caused the earthquake. Don’t you libertarians know anything?

      2. This sounds more like MJ12’s MO.

    3. The fissure opening up under D.C. will surely, finally drain that swamp.

    4. The Earthquake Enigma: 8/23 And the Israeli Connection coming to a discount bin near you in early 2012.

    5. If the earthquake had been worse and destroyed some buildings, the economy would have been stimulated. Maybe God is trying to tell us something.

      1. Even God doesn’t have the stomach for Krugman sized stimulus?

  12. Humor from Google News — Back to back articles under US News.

    Has Ron Paul become electable?
    Christian Science Monitor – ?1 hour ago?
    In a head-to-head matchup with Obama, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul is within striking distance, a new Gallup poll shows. But Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are running stronger.
    Mitt Romney to unveil his jobs plan from Nevada Politico Obama in dead heat with four GOP contenders Los Angeles Times The Hill – Daily Beast – Comedy Central – IMAO (satire) – Wikipedia: Republican Party
    all 351 news articles ?

    Daily Mail Apparent earthquake rocks Washington DC area
    USA Today – Douglas Stanglin – ?20 minutes ago?
    Says Doug Kammerer, meteorlogist with the NBC affiliate in Washington, calls the tremor a “very big earthquake for our area.” The quake struck around 1:15 pm ET and lasted for about 30 to 45 seconds.
    Earthquake rocks New Jersey and New York The Star-Ledger – Earthquake rocks Washington area Austin American-Statesman BBC News – KESQ – International Business Times
    all 16 news articles ?

    1. Definitely not a coincidence.

      Paul in 2012!!!

    2. That’s no earthquake. That was the Underminer: “I’m always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me!”

      1. Great, now I need to think of a new wrestling persona and catchphrase!

        1. In wrestling, you want everything to be beneath you.

    3. Just think, if it had been twice as strong all our problems would’ve gone away.

      1. “Just think, if it had been twice as strong all our problems would’ve gone away.”
        Nope. FEMA just would have shown its incompetence on the home field.

  13. JUST had this debt talk with my friend. He lays the blame for much of the debt at Bush II’s feet. But then he loses all sanity and discounts the new war* in Libya, and the entitlement spending and says that Obama has pulled ‘most’ of the troops out of Iraq & Afghanistan so it’s all good.

    I fear the uninformed idiots who are gonna buy the same blame and mediocre ‘accomplishments’, while ignoring the huge levels of debt and spending and hand Obama the keys all over again. Especially when you look at the crop of dolts that the GOP seems intent on sending in.

    1. Really, Obama should’ve sat out ’08 since the reverberations from Bush will apparently still be going well into ’12. Then Barry would’ve had 8 trouble-free years to buy us all cars and pay off our mortgages!

  14. Greetings from California, where a fifteen second tremor is nothing to us, although I guess many old buildings in the East aren’t designed to be quake resistant.

    1. Except in a few weird locations, any quake you can feel is worthy of comment in the East.

      1. What weird locations would those be?

        1. Bedrooms of intern/prostitutes on the Hill?

        2. Moodus, CT is the one I can think of. There are certain places with unusual geology that have lots of very small, very local quakes.

      2. Well to be fair over here a quarter inch of rain gets treated by the local news as “STORM WATCH” complete with on-site reporters and a fancy doppler radar.

        1. “There appears to be some sort of fluid falling from the sky today”

    2. The good news is that the minor earthquake has pretty much shut down the entire federal government for the rest of the day. The bad news is they all still get paid.

      1. They’re going to get paid anyway, so it’s better for all of us is they’re doing nothing.

  15. The worst part of all is that Obama is doing this to us on purpose. His goal is to bankrupt America just like Reagan bankrupted the old Soviet Union.

    1. like some double-secret kenyan plan for [EMPIRE] ?

      1. Whatever happened to [HERCULE] Thevenin Equivalent, or whatever his name was?

    2. You think so? I see him more as a guy who didn’t know what he was getting into and has no idea what the hell is going on.

      1. Much closer to the truth.

        1. +1

          When deciding whether a politican or other government official is malevolent v. incompetent, the latter is almost always the case.

          1. There is no reason they can’t be both.

            1. If he was both, wouldn’t we be in much better shape since he’d be trying to destroy us and failing miserably?

          2. You’re much too kind. My guess is that the opposite is true. Almost every one of them completed for years of college and won an election. They aren’t dumb, they’re evil.

            1. Did you really just equate finishing college with being intelligent?

              You have some things to learn, son.

      2. Re: Zeb,

        I see him more as a guy who didn’t know what he was getting into and has no idea what the hell is going on.


    3. I don’t think so.
      He’s a Keynesian who honestly believes that removing money from the economy, skimming some off the top to pay government employees, and then putting that reduced amount back into the economy has a multiplier effect.
      This is as opposed to leaving the money in the economy and letting it be used to create something of value.
      The problem with the latter is that it cannot be ordered and controlled. Who knows what you’ll get?
      With the former you get to control and direct everything. This way you know it will turn out good because that is your intention. If it doesn’t turn out right then you just remove a bunch more money from the economy and direct it out to your buddies.
      Yeah, I know it doesn’t pass the straight face test, but that’s what they teach in college so it must be true.

      1. The multiplier is around 0.8

        1. Yep. There is a multiplier effect when it comes to gov’t spending but it is less than 1.

      2. The difference between a Keynesian and a Kenyan is only ESI. According to Wikipedia, ESI is an acronym for Electronically Stored Information. Clearly Obama is collecting an electronic database on all of us for his reptilian overlords.

  16. Of course, no one on the right noticed that $5T Bush was running up. Or maybe they’d want us to believe they were like the frog in the steadily boiling water?

    And how much you wanna bet when President Perry takes office they suddenly forget about the debt again?

    Never forget, libertarians, they’re all bad and always will be bad.

  17. TJ: The picture just says it all, right?

    “Suck it, beechez.”

    1. “We have a political desert right now in France. People want to return to the Socialists but there is nobody with charisma. If it’s him against Sarkozy, I’ll vote for him.”

      The French people will never, ever recover from this statement in my eyes. Ever.

      The entire current and future population of France has lost the faith of poster “stoprobbers” because of this one comment from “a woman named Marie”.


    2. I have to say I am a little disappointed. It would have been fun to watch a douche like DSK go down hard.

      1. He already went down hard.

        1. Stop it, sloopy! You’ll cause another earthquake!

    3. Who’s the broad?

  18. It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.

    Hey, can we– just to be dicks– start using global warming rhetoric when describing the debt?

    1. Worldwide poverty levels will rise 15% by 2014, and fully half of American homeowners will be underwater!

      What are you doing to reduce your debt footprint?!

      1. What are you doing to reduce your debt footprint?!

        I owe nothing except the mortgage on my house, which I could pay off, but haven’t (largely because I expect inflation to outpace my interest rate).

        1. no you idiot, you’re doing it wrong. to reduce debt you have to borrow and spend more.

      2. What are you doing to reduce your debt footprint?!

        Practicing Jedi hand waves.

        ** practices Jedi hand wave **

        The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

      3. Hank:

        That’s… not bad.

    2. Anthropogenic national debt change?

  19. On the other hand, he says the national debt is a “manageable problem.”

    Oh, I’ll just freeze in the dark.

  20. You fuckin libertards can burn in Hell with the teabaggers.

    1. Racist!

      (For mocking Maxine Walters!)

      1. Hey, Real/Fake Tony… you forgot to say “all this could be fixed just by raising taxes five cents on the dollar”.

        Of course, that’s utter bullshit, but it makes you *feel* better, and that’s all that counts, isn’t it?

  21. Fuck me, but gold took a bath today. Only up about $350/oz for the last couple months, now.

    1. Don’t worry. Obama will announce QEIII as part of his jobs program and it will come right back.

      1. Don’t be ridiculous, John. Bernanke will announce it (in code, of course) at Jackson Hole this week as part of his bankster safety net program.

        1. Hey, why wasn’t I invited? I love Jackson Hole.

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  23. Obama warned that the public debt is so big, but what we can do if most of Americans can not live without making debts? In out debt-based economy borrowing is available for every one, that’s why people borrow money. People never have enough, that’s why they borrow, take out loans to buy houses, vehicles, getting education, buying groceries and etc. On one hand it’s good that if some one have no mone he/she can borrow and get what’s necessary, but one other hand, maybe borrowing is too available? Maybe people should borrow only only when it’s necessary, not just because they have an opportunity to borrow.

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