GOP BS: myth vs. math

These figures don’t lie, so if you’re tired of the harangue, homily, hysteria and hypocrisy about which presidents have run up the national debt, read on.

The following figures show the national debt percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) at the beginning and the end of the terms of American presidents since WWII. Source for figures: Congressional Budget Office.

Franklin D. Roosevelt/Harry S. Truman (D) 1945-1949: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 117.5%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 93.1%.
Change: Down 24.4%

Harry S. Truman (D) 1949-1953: Debt/GDP at beginning of term, 93.1%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 71.4%.
Change: Down 21.7%

Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) 1953-1957: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 71.4%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 60.4%.
Change: Down 11%

Dwight D. Eisenhowerr (R) 1957-1961: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 60.4%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 55.2%.
Change: Down 5.2%

John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson (D) 1961-1965: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 55.2%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 46.9%.
Change: Down 8.3%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D) 1965-1969: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 46.9%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 38.6%.
Change: Down 8.3%

Richard M. Nixon (R) 1969-1973: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 38.6%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 35.6%.
Change: Down 3%

Richard M. Nixon/Gerald Ford (R) 1973-1977: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 35.6%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 35.8%.
Change: Up 0.2%

Jimmy Carter (D) 1977-1981: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 35.8%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 32.5%.
Change: Down 3.3%

Ronald Reagan (R) 1981-1985: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 32.5%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 43.8%.
Change: Up 11.3%

Ronald Reagan (R) 1985-1989: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 43.8%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 53.1%.
Change: Up 9.3%

George H.W. Bush (R) 1989-1993: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 53.1%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 66.1%.
Change: Up 15%

Bill Clinton (D) 1993-1997: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 66.1%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 65.4%.
Change: Down 0.7%

Bill Clinton (D) 1997-2001: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 65.4%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 56.4%.
Change: Down 9%

George W. Bush (R) 2001-2005: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 56.4%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 63.4%.
Change: Up 7.1%

George W. Bush (R) 2005-2009: Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 63.4%. Debt/GDP at end of term: 83.4%.
Change: Up 20%

Barack Obama (D) 2009 -. Debt/GDP at beginning of term: 83.4%.


So, there you have it, boys and girls, every Democratic president since Harry Truman has reduced the public debt share of the GDP. And, what's amazing, still managed to push through legislation beneficial to all Americans.

The last four Republican presidents – Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush – have overseen increases in America’s debt, clearly marking a shift from true conservatism.

If I were a gambling woman I’d place my bets on Obama to pull us out of this fiscal mess.

And, to those who trust cureent GOP leaders to do their research and their thinking, read my lips:



Tiny said...

Tiny seconds the 'shut up' motion!

But listen to the repubs propaganda about the dems being the tax and spend bunch. Facts just don't lie!

Tiny will just add a great big Amen! to the 'shut up' and say, preach on sister.

Malcolm said...

Didn't you know that the CBO is a liberal group in the tank for the Democrats? This is what we are likely to hear from Republicans when we hit them with the facts you provided here. Good job B.J.!

tnlib said...

The GOP has already begun a campaign to raise doubts about the CBO. Boehner & Co. have often made desparaging/snarky comments about it. This only fuels the impression that it is a nasty liberal group who's figures can't be trusted.

B.J. said...

I asked my hobbit friend , Frodo, to help me understand the relationship between the GDP and the national debt, and I don’t think he will mind me sharing his response:

“David Stockman once said, ‘Nobody here understands these numbers.’ The occasion occurred, of course, while he served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. Stockman soon departed this position and returned to Wall Street.

“Consumer spending constitutes one of three directions in which capital is applied, thereby determining what is called the gross domestic product (GDP). Consumer spending is roughly two-thirds of the total. The economic mess we're in is the result of a precipitous drop in consumer spending. Until consumer spending returns to the earlier numbers, and it will, there are only two other sources of cash flow, and that is our government or those who invest in us.

“If our government spends more, it makes Ron Paul's kid apoplectic. The investors, who have been Japan, China, etc., are facing their own problems, and their investment in our bonds is lessening already. The panacea to entice them to invest more is, ta da, to raise interest rates, so that our bonds will be more attractive to these foreign investors.
That is, unless somebody refuses to meet our current obligations.

“That's what Bernie Madoff did, and what the 61 freshman products of torn condoms (in Congress) seem to want.

“Ronald Reagan, by the way, raised the revenue-input of the ‘top 2%’ of American taxpayers to 19.3% of GDP. Today, it is at 17.3%, lower than at any point since 1931.

“It would not solve all the problem to raise the taxes of Michael Vick, the Koch brothers, and George W. Bush, et al. To argue against it, however, is borderline psychotic, as well as documentation of an inability to ‘understand the numbers.’

“Now, step away for a while, and come back and re-read.”


Thanks, Frodo. I’m trying. So, if consumers, government and investors make up percentages of the gross domestic product (GDP), I’m guessing it ain’t a good thing that GWB raised the national debt share of the GDP to 83.4%, and Obama’s task is to bring it back down?


B.J. said...

Let’s just set the F-N record straight right now:

CBO's MANDATE is to provide the Congress with:

Objective, nonpartisan and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and
The information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.

Yep, Malcolma and tnlib, years of indoctrination have taught Fox News viewers that they can trust NO OTHER source of information in this country. This, of course, would exclude every major U.S. newspaper or any other source which presents FACTS which don’t gee-haw with the PARTY LINE.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve encountered “That’s a liberal group” when trying to share something from major nonpartisan fact-check sites! Pathetic, huh?


Preston said...

Nothing new about this -- The Idiots that know this count -- It's the Idiots that don't that are the problem. PV,NYC

B.J. said...

Preston: As the song goes, “If everyone lit just one little candle, what a bright world this would be.” BJ

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, that was silly... You've completely failed to notice that, until midway through Clinton's first term, Congress had been almost exclusively controlled by the Democrats since WWII.
The annual budget (and hence, any shift in the Debt/GDP ratio) is created by Congress. Your analysis of this data was far from rigorous...

On an unrelated note, I humbly suggest, to both you and your readers, that you try and make your tone just a tad less vile. You might be taken seriously that way.

Who i$ John Galt? - 777