By Rick Manning — “I don’t know how they’ve been bamboozling folks into thinking that they are the responsible, fiscally-disciplined party. They run up these wild debts and then when we take over we have to clean it up,” Obama said. “And then they point and say, ‘Look how irresponsible they are.’ Look at facts, look at the numbers. And now I want to finish the job,” President Obama said at a fundraiser in Denver.
“Look at the facts, look at the numbers. And now I want to finish the job.”
Like failed 1984 Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart daring reporters to follow him around in response to rumors that he was having an affair, only to have his swinging ways with Donna Rice exposed in tabloids across the nation, Obama has dared people to examine the truth about his fiscal record.
So let’s take him up on it.
Incredibly, Obama has only been a federal elected official since he was sworn into the U.S. Senate on January 3, 2005.
When Obama took office in the Senate, the debt to gross domestic product ratio for the country was 62.9 percent. This means that the total U.S. debt equaled almost two-thirds of the annual economic production of the country. Institutions which decide the debt rating for countries look at this debt/GDP number to determine each country’s credit ratings. When Obama entered the U.S. Senate, the United States had the highest possible credit rating at AAA, allowing our government to borrow money at the lowest possible rates.
During Obama’s first two years in the Senate, Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress and the debt to GDP ratio jumped by .6, still an indictment of the lack of fiscal restraint demonstrated by the GOP in the latter stage of their last time controlling Congress and the presidency.
At least partially due to this lack of fiscal restraint, the elections of 2006 swept the Democrats to power in Congress starting in 2007. During the next two years, the debt to GDP went up by 50 percent compared to the prior two years, but still was at a manageable 64.4 percent when Obama was elected president.
That’s when fiscal restraint was thrown out the window.
The Obama, Reid, Pelosi troika engaged in a record spending binge and the nation’s GDP did not respond robustly as the nation’s debt to GDP exploded almost 20 percent higher from a 64.4 percent ratio to an astounding 84.2 percent.
The rate of growth continued unabated in the third year of Obama’s term in office as it jumped another 9 percent to 93.2 percent as the U.S. Senate controlled by Obama’s political party, refused to pass a budget or seriously consider proposals to cut the rate of spending in the country.
Now, as Obama is running for re-election full time, the nation has crossed the Rubicon and the national debt to GDP is well above 100 percent.
Checking the numbers, since Obama became a federally elected official, the White House’s Office of Management & Budget website reveals that when Obama took office, federal government spending was below 3 trillion dollars a year. During the first three years of Obama’s term in office federal government spending jumped to 3.5 trillion in 2009, 3.4 trillion in 2010 and 3.6 trillion in 2011 with an Obama White House projected increase to just under 3.8 trillion in 2012.
By the same token, our nation’s revenues from taxes and other sources declined to 2005 levels of 2.1 trillion in 2009 due to the recession. These revenues still remain substantially below 2006 levels with 2.3 trillion received by the federal government in 2011.
These revenue differences are under essentially the same tax law for the entire period, so the lower revenues are not due to any new tax breaks or avoidance, but are a reflection of an economy that is staggering along with more than 300,000 fewer Americans employed today than were employed when Obama took office.
In fact, the federal deficit in the “wild spending days” prior to the Democratic congressional takeover of 2007 was a very manageable $161 billion. In Obama’s first year of his term in the presidency, the federal deficit was $1.4 trillion with 2010 and 2011 each logging in $1.3 trillion deficits and 2012 projected to jump above $1.3 trillion.
Looking at the numbers as candidate Obama implores makes one long for the good ole days of fiscal year 2007 before he was even considered a credible candidate for president and was still trying to find the restrooms in the Senate office buildings.
Like Gary Hart before him, perhaps Obama should not protesteth too much, because when put under the microscope, Obama’s record deficit spending makes his predecessor look like a piker.
Rick Manning is the Communications Director of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RManning957.