Obama did NOT cut spending


There is a lot of hay over the fact that under Obama, spending has fallen. Except, you’d be wrong. It hasn’t fallen at all. We’re spending more money in the federal government than we ever have.

Let me break it down for you.

Go to the treasury website: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt.htm

That’s the balance/debt of the government. It’s how much we owe or have on hand. It would be the equivalent of your all your debts. If it’s 0, then you don’t owe anyone anything.

Note that this does NOT take into account money owed to the entitlement programs. No one really knows how much we owe them. It is only how much money we borrowed.

Now, copy and paste that data into your favorite spreadsheet program. It’s not formatted particularly well, but that’s ok. It’s not rocket science to fix the numbers.

Add a column to the right that simply subtracts the previous number from the next number. That’s the surplus/deficit. It’s how much more we bring in than we spend. Notice that there is NO surplus in the 90’s. The last surplus was in the late 50’s, and then the 20’s. (Quiz: Who was president then?)

Now that we have the deficit, we can measure how much the deficit changed. If the deficit is reducing, thent that means we are slowing our borrowing, even though we are likely to still be borrowing. You’ll not that what Obama claims to have achieved is not remarkable. No president has ever increased deficit spending faster than him. On the other hand, several times President Bush achieved a slowing of the deficit.

Here’s a link to that in LibreOffice format: http://jonathangardner.net/balance.ods

President Obama has NOT reduced the size of government debt. He just slowed the pace of how fast the debt is growing.


11 Responses to “Obama did NOT cut spending”

  1. Tensor Says:

    Notice that there is NO surplus in the 90′s.

    President Clinton’s signing of several surplus budgets — several more than presidents named Bush an Reagan ever signed — really rankles you, doesn’t it? It’s almost like facts contradicting your beliefs, isn’t it?

  2. tensor Says:

    Let’s see — putting “Clinton budget surplus” into Google gets us many links, including this one:

    … Clinton, who considers his administration’s success in running a budget surplus a key part of his legacy,

    The rest of the article is spent on the greed of the 1%, and the bad-faith negotiating tactics of Congressional Republicans on the federal budget. Enjoy, and thanks again for playing.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      There was no actual surplus, although there was a budgeted surplus.

      The budget is what congress and the president planned to happen. The revenue didn’t occur, or congress subsequently passed spending bills that ruined the budget.

      Go look at the treasury data. Where in the 90’s does the national debt fall? It doesn’t. It increases every single year. There was no surplus.

  3. tensor Says:

    There was no actual surplus, although there was a budgeted surplus.

    Under the extraordinarily generous assumption that sentence contains any meaning at all, it’s flat wrong.

    From The Wall Street Journal, 29 January 2001, “Where Do We Put The Surplus?”:

    Let’s look at the numbers. The latest Office of Management and Budget forecast is for the surplus to reach about $5.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Rumor has it that the soon-to-be-released Congressional Budget Office forecast will peg it at $6 trillion, with almost $1 trillion arriving in 2011 alone.

    Why not just pay down the debt? Put simply, there’s not that much debt to pay. According to the Treasury Department, total government debt held by the public is only about $3 trillion. With no change in tax policy, projected surpluses would pay down the debt by around 2008. Government will subsequently have to decide in what it will invest the massive surpluses.

    Of course, FIscal Year 2001 — the last of the Clinton surpluses — was the last year we ran a surplus. Who took over in 2001?

    The budget is what congress and the president planned to happen. The revenue didn’t occur, or congress subsequently passed spending bills that ruined the budget.

    Your statement is true, not for the years President Clinton was signing surpluses, but for the Republican President and Republican Congress (you neglected to give their party affiliation, for some reason) which squandered our money after Clinton left office.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I don’t know how to explain this. Let me talk to you like you are a third grader.

      A BUDGET surplus is a surplus that is expected to occur. It is when people say, “I expect to bring in $100, and spend $98.”

      An ACTUAL surplus is when people actually bring in more money than they spend. It is when you bring in $105, and spend $98.

      There was a BUDGET surplus in the 1990’s, no thanks to Clinton. (You do recall, of course, the ’94 Republican Revolution, the first time in 40 years that republicans took both the house and senate? You remember Newt Gingrich shutting down government?)

      There was no ACTUAL surplus. We still brought in less money than we spent. The debt increased every year in the 90’s. At no time did we have an ACTUAL surplus in the 1990’s.

      Bill Clinton may have perjured himself in court, but he is very careful to always say “BUDGET surplus”, and not just “surplus”. Even he can’t bring himself to lie about such an obvious fact.

      What happened in 2001? Oh yeah, we were attacked, our economy collapsed, and everything went to heck. Our project revenues dropped significantly, and we now had to fund a war effort to protect the country from further attacks. During wartime, we have always spent more than we took in. I can’t think of any country in the history of time that has ever funded its own war fighting with current revenues. They have always borrowed money to buy today what they cannot afford.

      Yes, the republicans from 2002-2006 were spending like drunken sailors. President Bush did not help. They spent enormous amounts of money on things we did not need to spend on. They did not reform Social Security and Medicare, and those costs rose faster than anything else. While spending more on the military is perfectly justified, expanding social programs was not.

      So in 2006, republicans stayed home and Democrats took over both houses of congress.

      Guess what happened next? The deficit shot up like a rocket. We could not invent new terminology to describe what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did in 2006-2010.

      When President Obama took office, he swore to balance the budget, and proceeded to spend even more money. The deficit under Obama is astronomical. Even Reagan couldn’t contemplate such a deficit. It is so large there are rumor we cannot even borrow enough money to fully fund the budget we have on hand. Thanks to Obama and the democratic congress, President Bush’s drunken spending now looks like amateurs arguing over pennies.

      When the TEA Party revolted in 2010, congress was swept with new TEA Party members. They strictly held the line on spending. No budget has been passed since 2009 since Democrats in the senate will not even write one, let alone vote for ANY budget that the House has ever passed, including President Obama’s own budgets.

      The bottom line is this. In the past 20 years, republican congresses with republican presidents have spent the least. If you care at all about the deficit, you would not think of casting a vote for a democrat of any kind.

  4. tensor Says:

    From the Congressional Budget Office Report for 29 January 2009:
    Total federal revenues exceeded spending in fiscal year 1998 by $70 billion, producing the first surplus in almost 30 years.

    (Thirty years before was Fiscal Year 1969, when LBJ and the Democratic majority in Congress had produced a balanced budget in the middle of a big war, and attendant social turmoil.)

    I can keep citing these statistics from here until Election Day. Please keep hurling your insults; the contrast is very illuminating.

  5. tensor Says:

    Whoops, that was the report for 1999. By 2009, of course, a budget surplus was about as likely as a unicorn.

  6. tensor Says:

    If revenues exceeded expenditures, why did the national debt go up?

    From the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s web site:

    Debt on 31 December 1999: $5,776,091,314,225.33
    Debt on 29 December 2000: $5,662,216,013,697.37

    Please note that “up” is, in fact, the opposite of “down”. You’re welcome; I always try to help the desperately needy.

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