Debt and Deficits

Obama Brags About His Deficit Reduction, But As a Senator, He Would Have Been a Critic


The deficit is down, way down, coming in at $486 billion this year, in the range of 3 percent of GDP. Over the last year, the White House has not been shy about advertising the deficit's decline. The deficit has been "cut in half since 2009," the administration's top budget official declared last year. It's "falling faster than any time since the end of World War II," the White House explained with a handy shareable chart. Tell your friends! Or just let Obama explain it himself.

"When I took office," President Obama bragged last week, "the deficit was nearly 10 percent of our economy. Today, it's approaching 3 percent."

All true. And yet it's worth putting the declining deficit in context, and remembering that, as a Senator, Obama probably would have been appalled by his current deficits.

The year's deficit total, just shy of half a trillion dollars, represents a big drop from the $1.4 trillion peak it hit in Obama's first term. (More than 40 percent of that reduction came as a result of tax hikes.) But the reduction only came following a massive 800 percent increase in annual deficits.

Notably, it's still much higher than the typical deficits during the Bush years, which, you may recall, were worrisomely large—indeed, they were large enough that Obama, as a Senator in 2005, declared that "you don't have to be a deficit hawk to be disturbed by the growing gap between revenues and expenses." Between the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years, the deficit dropped from $248 billion to $160 billion.

The Bush-era deficit totals, far lower than his own second-term deficits, were "a sign that the U.S. government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies." Obama even opposed an increase in the nation's debt limit.

But look where we are now: Not only are this year's lowered deficits still much higher than the deficits he was worried about during his predecessor's presidency, they are on track to skyrocket again, as this graph from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget shows:

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

As the CRFB dryly notes, "Unfortunately, the recent fall in deficits is not a sign of fiscal sustainability." 

And, of course, a temporarily reduced deficit—which measures the yearly gap between spending and revenues—doesn't mean a reduction in total debt. That's set to rise too. As the Congressional Budget Office noted in August, "The persistent and growing deficits that CBO projects would result in increasing amounts of federal debt held by the public." The fiscal situation is not as obviously and immediately terrible as it was during Obama's first term, but it's hardly anything to brag about.  

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  1. Paging shriek, to the retard courtesy phone

    1. Lol:)

    2. He’s 8% of the way to a 100% reduction of the defecit!!11!

      1. And if that God damned Bush hadn’t still be President in 2009, Obama wouldn’t have so much work to do.

        1. this^^ also

          1. And like clockwork shreek shows up to claim exactly that.

  2. It’s also absurd for him to claim credit for this when the chief reason new spending has eased has been a lack of congressional support — It’s like a kleptomaniac claiming he’s gotten his problem under control when he’s been in jail the whole time.

    1. See surplus under Clinton, Bill.

      1. you mean “surplus”

  3. The person who cried hysterically about austerity and GOP obstructionism is now trying to take credit for the results of those actions. Shocking.

    1. Yes. And he is also taking credit for reducing the deficit he helped to create.

      Its like me coming over and breaking three of your windows and then asking you to thank me after I fix one of them.

  4. President is a lying sack of shit? The hell you say!

  5. This article won’t be read by the Peanut Gallery, Suderman. They belong to the 54% that falsely believe the deficit has increased while Obama was POTUS.

    1. No. They belong to the 95% who are not retarded and thus know that the debt is different than the deficit and that Obama was elected and sworn in in January of 2009.

      The retarded like you don’t know the difference between the deficit and the debt and think they can blame Bush for deficits that occurred after he was no longer in office.

      If I am not mistaken even your handlers have told you to stop using the “but look at the 2009 deficit compared to now” talking point. For once take their advice.

      1. Fuck off liar. That is all you have left.

        Will Romney win again in 2016?

        1. Yeah Shreek. I am lying when I claim that Obama was sworn in as President in January of 2009. You got me.

          Just give it up. I know you are retarded and delusional. All of us get that and cut you some slack because of it. But your clinging to the idea that Bush was really President in 2009 is pathetic even for you.

          1. It was those first 20 days in January, John.
            He fucked it all up that quickly. /derp

    2. PB

      Im an analyst. I monkey numbers for a living. There are many ways to measure things – honest and dishonest. The most honest measure of a presidents contribution to the national debt is to simply add the total deficit for all years served by each and compare them.

      How does that look?

      1. The honest way is to look at the policies that create deficits.

        Bush took a surplus and left trillion dollar deficits. Obama could not cancel Medicare Part D or Homeland Security (although the wasted trillion in Iraq has ended).

        1. George Bush was not President in 2009. He didn’t leave anything except a blank check for Obama. The election happened in 2008 you fucking half wit.

          1. Not only that, but the Democrats made the 2009 budget in 2008, but refused to let Bush sign it. They instead waited for Obama, and he signed it in a ceremony, because the Democrats wanted credit for that spending.

            So, its completely scummy to on the one hand want to take credit for the spending, but on the other hand now assign that spending to Bush’s column.

            BTW, Obama probably voted for it as a Senator, too.

            1. Yes. The Dems did not set 09 spending until after Bush left office.

        2. Obama could not cancel Medicare Part D or Homeland Security (although the wasted trillion in Iraq has ended).

          And he couldn’t cancel TARP or that trillion dollar stimulus that he signed either I guess. And George Bush put a gun to his head and made him raise baseline spending by 50%.

          I think at this point even Obama is tired of you sucking his cock every day.

          1. TARP was fully repaid under Geithner, liar. Plus $40 billion in interest payments.

            No one not named Bush raised baseline spending 50%, liar.

            1. In these debates I always forget that we elect dictators now and Congress has nothing to do with spending.

              Apparently in 2007-08, Bush went on a wild spending spree despite the wishes of the Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress.

              1. That is right. Once Bush got control of both houses of Congress in 2006, spending really went through through the roof.

            2. TARP was fully repaid under Geithner, liar. Plus $40 billion in interest payments.

              CITATION NEEDED

                1. So IOW a tiny profit gained at massive risk and a huge distortion of the economy that sets us up for Crash 2.

                2. So, what you are saying is that Bush’s primary contribution to the 2009 deficit has been repaid. What’s Obama’s excuse?

            3. this “baseline” you speak of…

              nothing to cut? the word “repeal” left the dictionary while democrats controlled both houses and the executive?

              and you call other people ‘partisan’. LOL

            4. “The United States federal budget for fiscal year 2009 began as a spending request submitted by President George W. Bush to the 110th Congress. The final resolution written and submitted by the 110th Congress to be forwarded to the President was approved by the House on June 5, 2008.[2] The final spending bills for the budget were not signed into law until March 11, 2009 by President Barack Obama, nearly five and a half months after the fiscal year began.”

              Obama signed it. His name is on it. The Democrats wanted credit for this and refused to have Bush sign it.

              So, please give them the credit they asked for back then.

              Obama’s owns 2009 spending. He could have refused to sign it.

              1. The CBO said the 2008/09 fiscal year deficit would be $1.2 trillion while Bush was still POTUS.

                The budget meant nothing. The deficit is the result of real expenditures and lower tax revenues.

                1. It means so little we don’t have them any more.

          2. You do have to love his obsession with Part D, one of the few welfare programs that is perpetually under budget.

            Did it come in 40 percent under budget?

            We asked Santorum’s campaign for their source but didn’t hear back. There are two official estimates for Medicare Part D costs, one put out by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and another put out by the board of trustees for the Medicare trust funds. These reports calculated potential costs differently, so there are different sets of numbers to work with. The board of trustees projected costs higher than the Congressional Budget Office, so if you use the trustees’ numbers, the savings are greater and come closer to 40 percent.

            1. If you use the Congressional Budget Office numbers, the savings are somewhat lower. In addition, two analysts we spoke with said you have to subtract the premiums that patients pay, as well as contributions from the states. If you account for those sources of revenue, the program comes in about 28 percent below budget, said Edwin Park, an analyst with the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He walked us through his analysis, and it seemed like a reasonable, though different, way to calculate costs.

              On top of that, the total cost of the program over the next decade is going to be less than Obama’s stimulus. Talk about screwy priorities.

            2. The same people think medicare and Social Security are the greatest federal programs of the 20th Century claim with a straight face that Bush was evil because he gave old people free prescription drugs.

        3. Amazing how you seem to find Obama powerless to bring about the ‘smaller goverment’ you pretend he’d prefer?

          this charade that Obama is a fiscal hawk makes no sense either in numbers or policy = his admin is frustrated by ‘sequester’, not arguing against more spending. they dont even pretend to care about the numbers but then tout the ‘lower #’ as though it was a product of pruning rather than rising GDP.

          only the numerically illiterate buy your weaksauce.

        4. Hey demfag, there wasn’t a fucking surplus, even by the government’s own fucked up accounting.


        5. The honest way is to look at the policies that create deficits.

          Then most of blame goes to FDR and LBJ?

          1. SS and Medicare are currently in the black.

            Although I oppose them both.

            1. That’s a lie.

    3. even if you allow for the 2009 gimme that some prefer to use…

      Obama has added 6+trillion to the debt in 6 years.

      Bush racked up 5.8 in 8 years. and he invaded iraq! as we are endlessly reminded. Obama has managed to blow more money than bush without invading anyone or adding any new tax cuts. Stellar.

      1. Its even better than that. Obama inherited 100,000 troops in Iraq and got the peace dividend from bringing them home. And he still ran up more debt in six years than Bush did in 9 (if you are going to count deficits that happened after Bush left office).

        Only someone like shreek who completely lacks the capacity for shame or rational thought could brag that Obama did something about the debt and deficit.

      2. Everyone knows that wars are expensive, especially on going wars like the one obama was handed. now that the troops are home we can finally stop handing all of our tax money to hailiburton and all of Cheney’s friends who got rich off of american blood. If obama was president for 10 years you would see the deficit probably shrink to nothing by his 10th year. You are judging him based on the mess he had to clean up which distorts the record and makes him seem way worse than he is… which is still a huge improvement over any klepto republican running against him. oh, who are you going to elect that’s better? Rubio? lol yeah lets invade cuba, that would be great. Rand Paul? Yeah lets audit the new world order and switch to gold with Glenn Beck. Romney? Oh yeah let’s invade Russia, there our number 1 enemy. Maybe you should just nominate Bill O’loofa and he can send his mercenary force to Ferguson.

        1. LOLOLOLOL Stop it. I know the Obama defenders’ talking points are idiotic and shameless. But even they are not that bad. Just stop it. You don’t help the cause by creating this unfair of a straw man of our opponents’ views.

    4. You’re such an imbecile you can’t even read a fucking graph.

      Newsflash dipshit, spiking the punch and then slowly draining the entire bowl is NOT A FUCKING ACCOMPLISHMENT.

      1. “When I took office,” President Obama bragged last week, “the deficit was nearly 10 percent of our economy. Today, it’s approaching 3 percent.”

        All true.

        1. Only if you think he took office in 2010 and not January of 2010.

          Look dumbass just because Obama says it doesn’t mean he wants his supporters to repeat it.

          1. Tell Suderman he is wrong then. He wrote it.

            Like he will believe your lying ass.

            1. I don’t think he did.

              1. All true. And yet it’s worth putting the declining deficit in context, and remembering that, as a Senator, Obama probably would have been appalled by his current deficits.

                Straight up the page. You are becoming another John.

        2. it was raining when i woke up, and a few hours later… IT STOPPED

          I AM A GOD!!

          again = trying to sell lower deficits as a product of Obama’s policy is a laugh contradicted by your other argument = he started in a recession. *the numbers were guaranteed to only get better*. It wasnt magic. it was ‘waiting’. you are basically saying “and Al Gore gave us all Internets!!” and angry that everyone is laughing at you

    5. Husband to angry wife: “I’m only cheating on you with half as many bimbos as I was four years ago.”

  6. I hear shrieking, right on cue. Like a child torn from its mother in the mall, shrieking, so forlorn, so lost, so afraid. Shrieking.

    We are the 8%!

    1. Dont forget “but BUUUUUSSSSSHHHH!!”

  7. I want to repeat what I said in 2006:

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.”

    1. Hey. Obama was young then. A lot of people were terrorists when they were young. He learned and grew. That allowed him to stop the Republican terrorists from doing the same thing he almost did when he was young.

    2. Oh like he’s not allowed to evolve or change his opinion on any issue? Of course when handed the worst economy since the great depression he had to do what was necess to SAVE capitalism from its worst excesses, morons. Only now that the economy is finally recovering and obamacare is happening, despite your best efforts to stop it and shut down the government… all to STOP PEOPLE FROM BEING HEALTHY… now the deficit is shrinking and all you can do is talk about how its not good enough, bush was better, etc. Face the FACT that obama is shrinking the deficit, the economy is finally improving after republican capitalist policy almost sunk it completely, and that romney lost. sour grapes, waaaah.

      1. I know this board is known for its sarcasm. But this is so cynical and so sarcastic it is almost too much for even here.

        Even I have to admit though, that is some funny shit. I mean seriously, that whole paragraph made me laugh out loud. Stop people from being healthy. You are killing me, just killing me here.

        1. That -8.9% GDP in q4 2008 was all Pelosi’s fault, right? The 750,000 jobs a month lost was Obama’s fault, right?

          TARP was on Obama too, right?

          GO TEAM RED! GO GO GO!

          1. You right shreek. Its 8%.

            You can always call it if the answer is 8%.

          2. Yeah it kind of was Pelosi did support the policies that led to that housing bust. Much of the crash was due to fear of Obama’s policies, which was entirely justified. And yes, TARP is partly on Obama, because he supported it you dipshit..

          3. Bush wanted to rein in Fannie and Freddie.

            Some guy named Barney Frank wanted to “roll the dice” instead.

            So, let’s give at least some of the blame to the Democrats.

            I didn’t hear any Democrats talking about housing bubbles or interest rates being too low.

            Stigler wrote a paper saying Fannie/Freddie had an insignificant chance of going bankrupt. Stigler – that right-wing GOP shill didn’t see this coming!

            1. Lies. Bush killed the GSE Reform Act of 2005 after it passed the House with over 300 votes.

              HR 1461.

              Quit listening to Fat Rush (King of the Rednecks) Limbaugh.

        2. Maybe you should spend some time helping other people or trying to understand there problems instead of just being cynical or posting here and laughing. help your community or volunteer at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen instead of doing everything you can to stop a black man… a good, FAMILY man, unlike Bill O’Loofa or William ‘cash in my chips’ Bennett or Lush painkiller Windbaugh… you know, the ones you guys always think are so great and concerned about family values and the economy. Obama has done more for this country over the past 5 years getting it back on track that its a total joke when you criticize him for anything. oh noes the prez is black! i better join the teabaggers! he’s a liar, but i’m not a racist, i am just saying he is a liar because he just got elected and is not a white republican! outside of your rightwing bubble people know the truth. they know that over 40% of americans are living in poverty, the middle class is living paycheck to paycheck, that women are routinley denied access to medical care, and that the rethuglicans in Congress like it that way.

          1. Okay, which one of the regulars is posting this?

            Stop it. I am sorry but while I disagree with the Democrats, I am friends with some of them and none of them are this stupid. I resent whichever regular is on here trying to make Democrats look this stupid. No one is really this stupid, not even the most liberal Democrats.

            1. They are this stupid.

            2. If you don’t think anyone is this stupid, you need to read the comments section of more sites.

              1. I have. But this site is supposed to be better. And this is a regular trolling us. It has to be.

          2. Beautiful. The lack of capitalization is just icing on the cake.

      2. Thank you for defending me and praising the Affordable Care Act. I would like to repeat the promises I made on health care:

        “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”

        “We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”

      3. This is excellent A-grade stuff.

  8. Even if you were a talking buttplug, that chart oughta scare you.

    1. Doesn’t scare Weigel. According to him, the debt never has to be paid back.

  9. Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall, With Average at Eight-Year Low…..r-low.html


    1. Just post some faked government numbers and no one will notice the job market and economy are a disaster.…..-to-light/

      That is the ticket. And hey, Obama’s supporters on Wall Street are making money. And that is what really matters because you know Obama cares.

      God you are pathetic. You have gotten so pathetic you have become amusing.

    2. Worst recovery EVAR! YEAH OBAMACOCK SO GOOD

    3. U6 remains stubbornly high, though.

    4. That’s just one of the good signs that the economy is improving. Hopefully the rethuglicans won’t do everything they can to sabotage it before the midterms. Faux is already doing its best to manufacture scandals and so called failures to get their base to get out the vote. another 2008 would be their dream scenario so they could pin it on democrats instead of the do nothing house.

      1. How can the economy improve if income inequality is surging? Maybe more income inequality will improve the economy even more???

      2. Stupidest shreek sockpuppet yet….winner, winner, chicken dinner.

    5. Yes, the last time jobless claim averages were this low, Bush was in office.

      It took Obama 6+ years and ~7 tril in debt to get there. Not to mention the 4 decade low LFPR or the record high SSDI rolls.

    6. Does it feel like 5.9% unemployment?

      Not really. Lots of college kids living with mom and working at starbucks.

      Maybe its my bias, but it doesn’t feel like good times are here.

      It feels okay. Not horrible.

      Am I wrong on this?

  10. Remember when we all heard all the pundits questioning the supposedly high unemployment rate when Bush was President? And the bitching about the gas prices? What happened to that? Are we supposed to question their motives for downplaying those same facts now?

    Oh, I thought this was the Napolitano article. Sorry, nm.

    1. They went to the same place that concern about homelessness went.

      1. And where concerns about the deficit and the casualty figures in Afghanistan went.

  11. We just owe it to ourselves. Put another IOU in the cookie jar!

  12. So Obama brought down the deficit to be on level with Bush’s worst deficit year of his 8 years in office….

    golf clap.

  13. The deficits of today are defined more by the likes of FDR and LBJ than they are of Bush and Obama. Obama took office at the peak of a recession, no shit outlays were going to be higher than usual. For him to claim credit for something that he has had literally nothing to do with is beyond retarded. The government runs on funny money anyway, why not just pretend that deficits don’t exist?

  14. Wolf Richter at David Stockman’s blog says the deficit last year was about $1.1 tillion. Due to the debt limit fight, the administration basically stopped counting its spending from mid June until October 16.
    But using “Debt to the penny” which includes inter agency borrowing, the total came to over $1.1 trillion.


  15. Possibly deficit reduction really means that the economy improves, but it is not reflected in the average citizens condition, they still have to turn to fast online payday loans to make their ends meet, and such projects as Obamacare do not add credibility to the president.

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