Could $12 Trillion Really Be Right? Absolutely!
See Proof with simple calculation and documentation below.
The debt went up during Clinton’s years only because of $2.2 Trillion interest on the Reagan-Bush debt. Otherwise Clinton would have paid off most the remaining WWII debt.
|Complete Proof of the $12 Trillion Republican Debt
Just below you can see the calculation and the documentation links for the Reagan-Bushes $12 Trillion ($12,049 Billion) national debt as of September 30, 2010. You can download this as an excel spreadsheet by clicking: Download as XLS.
Their debt has 4 parts, but the bulk of it is calculated from 4 inputs (yellow and tan) that you can check with the color coded links to the treasury at the bottom. This will verify the $3.4 Trillion Reagan-Bush debt and the $6.1 Trillion G.W. Bush debt. Together that’s $9.5 Trillion. Now some of G.W. Bush’s debt is really interest on the Reagan-Bush debt, so he is not as bad as he looks, and Reagan-Bush are lot worse because of all their interest. You can see that in the graph above.
Interest is calculated on the second sheet (tab at bottom). But you know that 17 years of compound interest on 3.4 Trillion is going to add a lot. So a $12 Trillion total is very believable, and if you want to spend 10 minutes you can check it easily.
And if you think Congress did it, you better have a look here. Under Reagan and Bush-I, Congress actually made the debt a tiny bit smaller than what both presidents asked for. And G.W. Bush passed his supply-side tax cuts with a Republican Congress. There is just no wiggle room. The Republicans did it.
Reagan Told Us How to Track the Debt
October 30, 2010. From Reagan’s first speech as President: “A trillion dollars would be a stack of thousand-dollar bills 67 miles high. The interest on the public debt this year we know will be over $90 billion, and unless we change the proposed spending for the fiscal year beginning October…“
Well he changed it all right, and when he left office the stack of $1000 bills was 191 miles high.
So what did Reagan tell us about calculating his debt? (1) Start on October 1, 1981, and (2) Don’t forget the interest costs of the debt.
October 1, 1981 is the beginning of his first budget year (fiscal year). He’s right. He is not responsible for Carter’s last budget year that runs until Oct. 1. But Reagan is responsible for his own last budget year, which ran until Sept. 30 1989. That’s eight years, which is right for two terms. Reagan was right and fair about this, and that’s what the spreadsheet above does.
And, like he said, the interest on the debt matters. And since he and Bush-I left us $3.4 Trillion of extra debt when Bush-I’s last budget year ended on Sept. 30, 1993, that debt started collecting interest, and it still is. Clinton, G.W. Bush and Obama are not responsible for that interest. So the spreadsheet actually over-states G.W. Bushes debt because quite a bit of that was interest on the Reagan-Bush-I debt. But shifting that responsibility to Reagan-Bush (as the graph shows) does not affect our total for Reagan and the Bushes.
G.W. Bush took control of the budget on Oct. 1, 2001, when the debt was $5.8 Trillion and his last budget year ended Oct. 1, 2009, with the debt at $11.9 Trillion. During that last year, Obama got a stimulus bill passed, but that’s the only significant change he was able to make in federal spending. (You can see it subtracted above.) Spending the stimulus money was slow, so only $36 Billion ($0.036 Trillion) contributed to Bush’s deficits. So instead of raising the debt $6.10 Trillion, he only raised it $6.06 Trillion.
About $0.2 Trillion is still left from WWII, and Obama has $1.25 Trillion that’s his. Of course half of that is from the Bush-II tax cuts and most of the rest is because of the Great Recession.
|About the Graph
On the Graph above, the Reagan+Bush debt is the gap between the red line and Clinton’s green line at the bottom. As it shows, if America had not had to pay the Reagan-Bush interest, Clinton’s budget balancing would have nearly paid off the remaining debt from WWII–and we would have been in fabulous shape when the Great Recession struck.