Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Obama spending stimulates the national debt by $3,039,000,000,000

Democrat president Barack Obama talks politics with his political director Patrick Gaspard

No wonder the president's wife is passing the hat to his supporters asking for $3 campaign donations. Have you seen the size of the national debt? It's a new record.

The United States of America now owes someone(s) $13,665,000,000,000.

By 2012, when Hillary Clinton next challenges Barack Obama for their party's presidential nomination, the national debt will be even larger than today's record -- $16,500,000,000,000, according to current federal estimates. That's more money than the entire United States economy produces in a complete year.

That's also way more money than either Obama or Clinton spent to win the Democratic nomination in 2008.

This stunning debt news comes to us courtesy of Mark Knoller of CBS News, who is the White House press corps' chief cruncher of all things numbers.

Knoller has also figured out that during Obama's presidential watch, the....

...national debt has increased by $3,039,000,000,000, as in, that much more than it was when he took the oath on Jan. 20, 2009, in front of millions of excited witnesses and Aretha Franklin's huge hat.

Obama prefers to lay the blame or credit for this gargantuan spending increase at the cowboy-booted feet of his Lone Star Republican predecessor. During George W. Bush's Oval Office tenure, the national debt increased more -- by $4.9 trillion, in Aretha Franklin and hat at the Obama inaugurationfact.

However, Bush took 96 months to do that.

Obama has accomplished his spending feat in less than 21 months. Under his spendership the national debt has grown about $4.8 billion every day since he took the oath of office twice, just to be safe.

Just imagine the dough Obama could push out the door given another two years of partnership with Democratic congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Those Democrat majorities controlling Congress since 2007 didn't have time to get around to passing a federal budget this fiscal year, what with all the additional spending measures and recesses and necessary campaigning and all.

But according to polls in recent months, the federal debt and spending deficit have emerged as major concerns of American voters, who have this silly idea from their own lives that spending ought to be more in line with available resources. They may have something to say about this on Nov. 2.

The ongoing gap -- or, more accurately, chasm -- between federal in-come and out-go is a major reason why Obama says he opposes a continuation of tax cuts for what he considers wealthy Americans. He wants that tax money coming in to help cover spending.

Not much talk yet about cutting that spending.

But maybe that subject will come up now and then when the newer members of Congress convene in January.

Related Item:

Sarah Palin pleads: 'Nobody tell Barack Obama what number comes after a trillion'

-- Andrew Malcolm

Special Notice to Ticket Subscribers: Due to the size of the nation's debt, we must regrettably double the price of our free Twitter alerts. Click here to join nearly 54,000 global readers who follow The Ticket with Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available here on Kindle now.

Photo: Pete Souza / White House (Campaigning Obama talks politics with aide Patrick Gaspard); Ron Edmonds / Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (37)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I know this may some investigative journalism, but could you please explain where this debt comes from and how it came about?

Chris in Germany

I'm going to ask of you what needs to be asked of every Republican running for congress: please give a specific example of something that should be cut. Keep in mind that the real money is in Medicare and Social Security. So what would you cut?

Disco -- If spending came into being in the past 2 years, don't you think it's just kind of likely we could cut it and no one would really notice?

How about cutting arts and music events at the WH? Bet that would save billions. How about taking whatever the WH budget is, and cutting it in one-third -- that would include Michelle's 22 assistants. I think she can possibly get by with fewer. How about trimming the federal workforce back down to 2006 levels? (Or even 2004; I'm not fussy.) That would be across the board.

That's a start, right there.

Oh noes! A servicable debt has grown slightly! Better vote GOP so they can, uh... well, what, exactly? What's going to be cut?

Disco: Cut? Social Security and Medicare.
Any more questions?

Cut? Dept. of Education and Dept. of Energy for a START!

The Dept of Energy was created with the specific purpose of making us LESS dependent on foreign oil. When it was begun, we bout about 30% foreign oil. It's now about 70%. FAIL. Where dis all those hundreds of billions go? Hmmm?

I think we should cut the presidential golf outings back to 1 per month.

Barack Obama has already created more debt than every President from George Washington thru Ronald Reagan combined. It took Obama only 19 months to run up more debt than the US had accumulated over 200 years (1789-1989).

You must admit: that is change.

source: CBO

So $13.3 TRILLION is a "serviceable debt" and in 2012 it will be $16.5 TRILLION--more than the entire US makes in a YEAR! This begs just one question--how many of you could make it with a credit card debt EQUAL to your annual income (you can't compare this debt to your home mortgage because for the nation, that's around $200 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities). And while the interest on our national debt is less than a credit card rate, it is going to chew up MOST of the income tax sent to the Treasury each year. See why we're screwed? See why a Limited Government/Balanced Budget approach is the only way out of this mess? If not, buy a calculator and use it!

Amazing when you think about it.....the out of control spending and the POTUS get a complete pass from the press. Save us from ourselves, dear Lord, and the tax and spend Dems.

The deficits of the last two fiscal years come primarily from policies enacted under President Bush (two wars, the tax cuts, the unfunded Medicare drug benefit, etc.) and the recession of 2008-2009. The FY 2009 budget was from President Bush, so that FY really counts against him for the most part. Yes, ARRA did add $100 billion in spending and $100 billion in tax cuts to the FY 2009 deficit. So $0.2 trillion (out of $1.4 trillion) can be scored against President Obama. Spending in FY 2010 actually went DOWN versus FY 2009, so it is tough to blame that deficit on anything except the continuing effects of Bush policies and the recession.

"two wars, the tax cuts,"

Wars and the protection of this Country is exactly what our taxes are supposed to be used for. And for the umpteenth time time, not one cent leaves Washington to pay for tax cuts. This is why democrats are incapable and unworthy of running this Country or holding any positions of power or authority.

November is going to be a beating for that very reason.

Karl from Chicago said "The deficits of the last two fiscal years come primarily from policies enacted under President Bush (two wars, the tax cuts, the unfunded Medicare drug benefit, etc.) and the recession of 2008-2009. The FY 2009 budget was from President Bush, so that FY really counts against him for the most part."

Only problem with your reasoning Karl is that presidents don't write budgets, congress does. And what party has been in the budget drivers seat since 1/2008? I'll give you a hint: The same party thats going to get waxed at the polls in about 2 weeks.

Okay Disco:
"I'm going to ask of you what needs to be asked of every Republican running for congress: please give a specific example of something that should be cut."

1. Deport illegal immigrants (that's entitlement spending, along with education spending, incarceration, etc)
2. Eliminate several US departments, especially departments that are state issues, ex. Department of Education. Why take tax dollars from states and distribute it back to them as you see fit? Education is a LOCAL issue. We do not have federal school districts (or university districts).
3. End the wars, and pull back to a safe distance while making it clear if extremists take over, we will be back.

These are just a few that are worth hundreds of billions.
I'm sure there are plenty more among this list:

I would privatize a portion of Social Security (gasp), maybe 5-10%, is that any more risky than the $100+ trillion in unfunded liabilities the government owes? How about giving people the option to buy private retirement insurance rather than Medicare - they might actually be able to find a doctor when they need one? You libs think that people love SS and MC, it's the only option they have. They have contributed for decades to the system and feel they deserve the meager benefits they get. Ask any of them if they would not prefer other options like private insurance or a private retirement account. We all know the answer.

The increase in the debt and deficit is far more a function of the "Great Recession" than anything that Obama and the Democratic Congress have done. When the country goes into recession, government receipts fall (due to declining incomes and business activity) and automatic expenditures go up (for unemployment benefits and Medicaid). This would have happened no matter who had been president. The "Stimulus" didn't even increase total government spending when you take into consideration how much state and local governments have had to cut back. The focus shouldn't be so much on the debt and deficit and more on whether or not the policies pursued are best calculated to get us out of the mess that was made by previous presidents and Congresses. On that count the President and Congress have done an okay job, certainly better that could have been expected from the Republicans.

"I'm going to ask of you what needs to be asked of every Republican running for congress: please give a specific example of something that should be cut."

Actually, that question should be asked of ALL candidates regardless of party.

We shouldn't take it for granted that just because Democrats are Democrats they are going to drive us off the cliff economically, and that Republicans are the only ones who can possibly be taken seriously.

Anyone who wants to serve in high elective office should be required to explain what they will do to pull us back from the fiscal abyss.

"I would privatize a portion of Social Security (gasp), maybe 5-10%, is that any more risky than the $100+ trillion in unfunded liabilities the government owes?"

Putting part of your social security into a private account is risky because it will lose value in a down economy.

On the other hand, the money you have in the social security trust fund will never lose a penny no matter how bad the economy goes. Because there is not one frigging penny in the social security trust fund to begin with!

Karl from Chicago, you are entitled to your opinion, but not your own "facts." In Jan.,2007, Democrats took over majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, constitutionally assuming control of the "nation's purse strings"
Let us recap the accomplishments of their four years of "crony socialism:"
2007 - Energy crisis & $5/gal gas (Congress sits on their collective hands - Harry Reid defines Democrat's energy policy: "Oil is dirty.")
2007-8 - Financial & Mortgage crisis (Congress passes 1 trillion dollar TARP fund & Obama elected President.)
2009 - Unemployment hits double digits (Congress passes 1 trillion dollar "Stimulus" bill which primarily goes back into more government spending - deficit increases 1.5 trillion dollars)
2010 - Unemployment unaffected by "Stimulus" spending stays at or near 10% (Congress passes 2.6 trillion dollar ObamaCare over objections of 2/3's of Americans - deficit increases another 1.5 trillion dollars or double the amount the Democrats assumed in '07)
Poverty rate hits 20% (44 million Americans), bankruptcies at record level & mortgage defaults at historic highs (2.3 million have lost their homes since Dems took power).
Dems fail to pass budget and as a last grand finale, Zoe Loftgren has Steve Colbert – the comedian – “testify” before her committee on “immigration reform” only to be invited to leave when he does what he does – comedy.
You may dispute these facts, but, at least, they facts and not "talking points."
What I'd really like to hear from President Obama and Democrats in general, is an apology for the millions of Americans his misguided, socialist policies have hurt. I've got them all up and down the street where I live.

This simply has to stop. And those of you liberals out there who keep saying stupid things like "we can't cut Medicare, or we can't cut Social Security, or we can't cut...", I say YES WE CAN! Everything needs to be on the table. You guys that think we can't find anything to cut can simply look at Obama's travel budget. Or how about his stimulus advertising signs. Or how about cutting a few of the 100 czars? And maybe we can take away Pelosi's private jet. Then across the board spending cuts should help too.

It is obvious Members of Congress lack the political spine to pass balanced budgets. This goes for both the Democrats and Republicans. A balanced buget admentment sounds like a good idea (as well as term limits). The present direction our nation is going is a disaster. Perhaps all Members of Congress should be held financially liable for their collective incompetence. Our nation needs leaders-not 'professional' politicians. In the end...we get what we reap! We keep re-electing the same old you know what. Wake up America!

I started working at 16 i.e. social security and medicare deductions coming out of my paycheck (worked through college and the deductions continued). Add what my employer has paid. I'm 45 now and my generation has known for years we'll never see a dime of this money.

Just get on with it already.

Obvious Malcolm is counting on low information voters to be easily mislead.
1. 4 trillion of the 3 trillion was inherited from George Bush's FY 2009 budget.

We should credit the Obama adminstration for a smaller budget defict. In FY 2010 budget deficit shrank from 125 billion to 1.29 trillion. Also the President Obama CUT taxes by over 300 billion dollars.

FY 2009 started in September 2008 under the Bush adminstration.
President Obama inhertited two wars, a 1. 4 trillion dollar defict, 700 billion TARP bill, an economy losing 700,000 a month, and a free falling stock market. Anybody who wants to go back to must be brainwashed inside of some type right wing matrix. You know the type. They can quote every right wing talk show host, but stutters, when asked to comment on something they haven't been taught by a talk show guru.

The fact is the national debt rises during war time. President Obama inherited two wars. Andrew Jackson complained about the national debt after the war of 1812. He got into a big hullaboo with Congress about how much to spend on infrastructure. . National Debt rose to over 124% of GDP during WWII.
Then dropped steadily until Reagan came into office. Reagan cut taxes too deep and the National Debt tripled the national debt!!! Nearly doubled during Bush 1 and did double during Bush II to 10.6 trillion dollars. Add the 700 billion dollar TARP and you're up 11.3 trillion.

Dick Cheney said. "Reagan proved that deficts don't matter."
Nary a Republican objected while Reagan and the Bushes increased
the national debt tenfold!!!!!!!!!!!
Take a gander

The Dem party can't be taken seriously on this issue... they point fingers (which doesn't help solve the problem) or volley the question back after failing to respond (which doesn't help) or they offer ridiculous suggestions which do not address the full scope of the problem (not unlike removing the cherry on a sundae in order to "cut back on the cals).

Who really is to blame for Obama's spending which calculates out to be $4.8 billion every day since he took the oath of office?

The answer may surprise you--IT IS THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS and a DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT! This debt would not have occurred if Pelosi--Dirty Harry would have been a true leader and cared more about the American people than their HISTORICAL MOMENT!

Obama couldn't have done anything without Congress! This is how the Constitution has been written so no one party could control--protect our freedoms--bring a balance to Govt SO WHAT HAPPENED UNDER PELOSI and DIRTY HARRY could never occurred if Congress was controlling the President--not giving him everything Obama wanted--as quick as possible--IT IS PELOSI-HARRY LEADERS OF THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE WHO ARE AT FAULT!

Disco wants to know , What spending should be cut?

Gee , this isn't rocket science unless you'd like to continue footing the bill for the education, medical, and housing of ILLEGAL ALIENS, as Obama and the progressive commies would like for you to do?

How about the Obama administration stop sending stimulus checks to convicts, and dead people?

And while we are at it , why not get back those multi million dollar bonuses Obama gave to the banksters as part of the 787 bilion dollar stimulus?

How about finding the obama stimulus money that went to zip codes that dont even exist?

How about Obama stop campaigning and vacationing 24/7 on the tax payers dime?

Whatr kind of moron would ask the question. Where do we cut spending?

Need some more? I barely scratched the surface.

As long the Federal Reserve exists this nightmare will go on and on. Getting back to sound money is the only way out.

I just want to warn the citizens of California. We here in the heartland see you as incredibly radical... to the point that we are willing to agree with La Raza that your state should be returned to Mexico.

Disco, yeah, I'm going to have to chime in too: I'd cut Social Security and Medicare...along with discretionary spending, the defense budget, several Cabinet positions (and everything connected to the word "czar"), public pensions, and pretty much everything else save for servicing the national debt.

You don't seem to get it, do you? The days of demagoguery and fear-mongering, both right and left, are kaput. We know all about Mr. Bush's fiscal follies, but we also know who's run Congress the past four years. Mr. Obama's tired "car in the ditch" metaphor isn't working: both parties were at the wheel, and most of us know it. Washington needs to start deleveraging, and it's going to hurt. As Debra above put it: get on with it already. I wholeheartedly concur.

This strongly biased article ignores a little event in a recent past (hopefully past) that differentiates 2008 - 2010 from 2001-2008, namely the recession. Consumer spending fell to a standstill, significantly limiting government income. More important President Obama championed the American Recovery Act with that very goal in mind, combating the Recession by dumping money back into circulation. It's fine to dispute his logic or the effectiveness of the Recovery Act but to not even mention the reason that he and the Democratic Congress passed this record spending bill in 2009 is shear neglect and bias.

Very simple ... you're a CEO ... you meet with all your department heads ... you tell them "cut your budgets by 10% any way you can ... benefits, pensions, staff whatever ... use your best judgement" ... same thing in government ... meet with all the cabinet heads ... "cut your budgets 10% etc..." doesn't matter if it's SSI, CMS, Defense, Justice, Energy, Education, Transpotation or any other branch ... you tell them DO MORE WITH LESS ... just like in the real world ... political repercussions yes but it's either that or a pathetic debtor nation ... do the math ...

Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes FY 2009

Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,650 billion
MILITARY: 54% and $1,449 billion
NON-MILITARY: 46% and $1,210 billion

You have to question an article that mentions national debt but fails to mention the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, 3 Trillion dollars
over 2 year.

Joe did you know President Obama's 787 billion dollar stimulus, included over
3oo billion in tax cuts.

Now the right wing wants to add 700 billion to the defict and 4 Trillion by
extending the tax cut that caused the debt to increase from 5.6 Trillion
to 10.6 trillion during the Bush years. Bush doubled the defict.
Reagan tripled the deficit .

The defict will go down next year. No more TARP and the war cost of the war in Iraq will be less. Right now about 60% of the budget goes tow

People like Mr. Malcolm (and all who do this sort of hand wringing) should read "Good Deficit - Bad Deficit" by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in order to understand why the short term deficits created by the current administration are significantly different that the real deficit problem facing this country.

You neglected to mention the $1.3 trillion dollar deficit waiting for Obama on January 20, 2009 bringing your Bush totals to $6.2 trillion. But don't let facts get in the way of a good argument.

The clear bias here is the "new record" comment. The debt is almost a "new record" under any administration, except in special situations like the Clinton surpluses. It's hard to see how this "new record" statement serves any purpose other than intentionally misleading the simple-minded.

I meant to write always after almost in the second sentence, as in, "the debt is almost always..."

the stimulus,was intended to go to state governments to bail out union jobs and protect them from layoffs or budget cuts.anything,the stimulus did was temporary and only extended he inevitable.if obama's first year had been spent on creating jobs rather than killing them in the private sector and forcing a health care disaster on the public they did not want,things would not be almost bankrupt.the changes that need to be made are reducing the size of government and union pensions and benefits rather than increasing their numbers.the administration is trying to duplicate what is bankrupting the European system while they try to get away from it.

This is what happens when you "spread the poverty around".


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: