how to prove Obama LOWERED the deficit in 4 easy steps

Posted: March 24, 2013 in economic policy, Obama, politics
Tags: , , , ,


images-69The GOP, Fox News and AM Hate Radio regularly complain that Obama has raised the deficit.   This is a lie.  A very VERY big lie.

It’s such a big lie and so easy to prove as a big lie that the fact 90% of the country thinks it’s true is one the greatest failures of the “liberal” media since they couldn’t be bothered to vet the Iraq War. The problem is that conservatives don’t want to know, independents can’t be bothered to look and liberals should be deeply ashamed for not knowing.

But worry not! It’s very VERY easy to clear up this misperception (and piss off conservatives to boot!) in just 4 simple steps.

Step One: Establish the facts of what the deficit is and how it works – Ask the conservative, uninformed “independent” or naughty liberal if they understand that the deficit is not the same as the debt. This is super important because the right has gone VERY far out of its way to confuse the two. And for good reason; the debt has never been higher. This is inevitable since we still have a deficit. The debt is a byproduct of the deficit. The only way to pay down the debt is to turn the deficit into a surplus. 

The deficit is how much more we spend than we collect in revenue (taxes, etc.). The debt is how much we owe. The deficit is the credit card, the debt is the bill. A bill that the right wants to pin completely on Obama as if we didn’t have a penny of debt until he took office instead of having been built by almost a century of deficit spending by both Republican and Democratic presidents (but mostly Republican).

Do not proceed until these basic definitions are agreed upon or the conservative will attempt to weasel out of the hole you are digging for them by whining about how Obama increased the debt. If they try, mention that every president except Clinton has done that since World War II, why should Obama be singled out? When they invariably say “Because he’s gone higher than any president ever has!” The same was true of Bush at the time and no one on the right seemed upset about it. Ask them to explain why that is or to drop it and move on. Chances are they’ll drop it.

Step Two: Establish when the budget is passed – This is another deliberate lie the right LOVES to pass around. They would very much like you to believe that the 2009 budget with its record shattering $1.4 trillion deficit was Obama’s. The reality is that budgets are passed and signed into law at the end of the year before. So the 2000 budget was signed into law by President Clinton and President Bush was stuck with it. In 2017, whoever takes the White House will have a budget signed into law in 2016 by the outgoing President Obama. Therefore, the 2009 budget was not “Obama’s,” it was Bush’s. If you need to prove this definitively, share this link to the CATO Institute. The CATO Institute is a respected but undeniably right-wing think tank. The opening paragraph in their “About Us” section says: “The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank – dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.” No one in their right mind can argue the CATO Institute is “liberal.” Yet they clearly state that the 2009 budget does not belong to Obama.

Step 3: Establish what the 2009 deficit was – This will be a little tricky because at this point the conservative you’re talking to will be getting VERY uncomfortable with the conversation. They will try to turn the discussion to ANYTHING else at this point. Why? Because it is a tenet of faith among the right that the 2009 budget was $1.4 Trillion and it was all Obama’s fault. Here’s a link to Fox News that should freeze them in their tracks. The relevant part:

The federal budget deficit tripled to a record $1.4 trillion for the 2009 fiscal year that ended last week, congressional analysts said Wednesday.
– Published October 7 2009

The House and the Senate voted to pass the 2009 budget on June 4-5, 2008. President Bush signed off on all of it. Conservatives will try to blame the Democratic-held Senate and House for the deficit but they can’t have it both ways. Either the president is responsible for the budget or he’s not.

images-68If you want to be a helpful wise ass, remind the person you’re talking to that Obama was elected in November and didn’t take office until January 21. That’s almost a full four months after the 2009 fiscal year, with its 2009 budget, started.he’s not. You can’t blame Obama while holding Bush blameless.

Step 4: What is the deficit now? – That’s easy. Go to the CBO’s page (and remember that the Congressional Budget Office is nonpartisan. They have to be, anyone can check their math and partisan games would be outed immediately.) So here it is. Ready?

If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $845 billion, or 5.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), its smallest size since 2008.

Is $845 billion more or less than $1.4 trillion? At this point, a conservative will be spitting nails or will have stopped talking to you several minutes ago. An independent voter should be trying to figure out how they could have been so completely wrong. A liberal should be deeply embarrassed they didn’t know.

Just so we’re all on the same page here. Obama knocked $555 BILLION off of the deficit.images-70 That’s an entire third of the total deficit. That’s more than every president in the history of the country put  together. Republicans have been screeching for deficit cuts like demented harpies for years (except when a Republican is in office). If a Republican president did this, the Tea Party would be holding parades for him. Obama did it and 90% of the country doesn’t even know it. The GOP has them convinced the deficit is still going up.

Ignorance is the GOP’s best weapon. Knowledge is ours.


  1. Once again, you are either seriously deluded or your math skills are unbelievably horrid. I’m guessing 90% of us think that it’s true because we passed 8th grade math. Do you suppose that 90% of America watches Fox News? Sadly, I don’t have cable TV so I can’t, but they DO have far more viewers than ANY other news network (by a longshot). Hmmmm, I wonder why?

    Regarding Step one:
    Granted, I don’t watch much TV, but I do read and I have never heard (or read) a coherent conservative conflate the debt with the deficit. Please give examples of where someone (who matters) has perpetrated this evil deed. If it was on Fox I’m sure there’s a link to video or something?

    Fact: No president ever, not even George W Satan, has come anywhere near Obama’s deficits, even if you credit all of 2009 to Bush.

    Regarding Step Two (When the budget is passed):
    You are correct, FY 2009 was passed in 2008 and signed into law by Bush. The budget passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress was $3.1 Trillion. Actual Expenditures were $3.5 Trillion. Irresponsable no matter how you slice it…. However, as I pointed out before:

    1) The $787 Billion (since revised up… way up….) Stimulus was signed into law by Obama in 2009 and the estimates are that about 1/3rd of it was spent in 2009. Let’s go low and figure only $200 billion or so was spent.

    2) Obama also passed a $410 bill “Emergency spending bill” that he hated to pass but, you know, the shenanigans of GW Bush forced him to.

    3) There were also others but let’s not worry about the nickel and dime stuff. My basic (and very conservative) calulator already shows at least $610 Billion that can, and should, be credited to Obama.

    Step Three: That was the 2009 deficit? $ 1.4 Trillion just as you say. However, your own quotes seems to negate what you are saying:

    “The federal budget deficit tripled to a record $1.4 trillion…” Yes. It tripled. Meaning it was 1/3rd of that number before!

    As you will see in the numbers below: Bush’s deficits (all 8 years) averaged $380 Billion (this is crediting ALL of 2009 to Bush by the way, even Obama’s emergency spending bills — aren’t I magnanimous?). Compare that to Obama’s Average deficits (4 years): $1.19 Trillion. (That number is using your low-ball $845 Billion number for 2013.

    Year GDP-US$ billion nominal
    2001 10286.2 285.082 -128.23
    2002 10642.3 287.804 157.75
    2003 11142.2 290.326 377.59
    2004 11853.3 293.046 412.73
    2005 12623 295.507 318.35
    2006 13377.2 298.109 248.18
    2007 14028.7 300.733 160.71
    2008 14369.1 303.38 458.55
    2009 13939 306.051 1412.69
    2010 14508.2 308.746 1293.49
    2011 14958.6 311.592 1299.59
    2012 15601.5 314.123 1326.95
    2013 16335 316.847 845

    As to your “can’t have it both ways” comment, I’ll let the record speak for itself: The Senate passed the FY2009 budget 48-45, with only two Republicans voting for it. The house vote didn’t get a single Republican. (side note, both Obama and Biden voted yea). So explain to ma again your logic? Why is it that it was all those dastardly Republicans that racked up the deficit?

    Step Four (The deficit now): Your CBO link is very interesting. I hope your followers will take the time to actually read it in it’s entirety, which you apparently did not. If you move just a bit further past your pull-quote, you will find a few more noteworthy tidbits:

    “Deficits are projected to increase later in the coming decade, however….”

    “By 2023, if current laws remain in place, debt will equal 77 percent of GDP and be on an upward path, CBO projects.”

    “Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences: When interest rates rose to more normal levels, federal spending on interest payments would increase substantially.”

    “…such a large debt would increase the risk of a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.”

    “Under Current Law, Federal Debt Will Stay at Historically High Levels Relative to GDP”

    “…if the laws that govern taxes and spending do not change, federal debt held by the public will reach 76 percent of GDP by the end of this fiscal year, the largest percentage since 1950.”

    “…federal debt would remain above 73 percent of GDP—far higher than the 39 percent average seen over the past four decades. (As recently as the end of 2007, federal debt equaled just 36 percent of GDP.)” (Note: Who was president in 2007 again?)

    “CBO expects that economic activity will expand slowly this year, with real GDP growing by just 1.4 percent.”

    Why didn’t you use some of these other quotes I wonder? Perhaps because they don’t sell your unicorn-riding Obama to the ignorant masses?

    How about some reality? As I’ve told you before, no conservative that I know was a fan of GW Bush’s eonomic policies (or his father’s for that matter). Bush was the worst kind of spendthrift, no doubt. He was also a notoriously big spender as a governor which is probably why he had so many Democrat endorsments out of Texas.

    That being said, to try to make the claim that Obama is somehow NOT a reckless spender is just a whacky fantasy. It seems to me that you will go to any lengths to defend the reckless fiscal path we are on with your specious arguments and fallacious “facts” simply because “your man” is in the drivers seat. The problem is, reality is reality. At some point, the chickens WILL come hope to roost for all of us. The path we are on is untenable. Perhaps the reason most Americans see through the lies of the dinosaur media is because they can sense the truth of it in their own lives. Just a thought.

    Off topic: Sorry I don’t have more time to comment on more of your posts. I hope to circle back someday. 🙂

  2. I realize that all of those numbers above can easily just confuse things since people don’t want to take the time to learn for themselves. Let me make my point as succinctly as possible:

    Obama has had higher DEFICITS for his first 4 years than any president in history, period.
    Obama has added more DEBT than all presidents before him combined.

    That is mathematical fact, no matter how creative you get with numbers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    John, repeating a lie over and over again doesn’t magically make it true. You’re just wrong on this one, dude.

    • Dear Anonymous, hopefully Michael will approve my first comment that I made sometime soon where I actually detail numbers. Calling something a lie over and over again doesn’t make it so. Math is math and unfortunately (for you), both of my statements above are, once more, inarguable mathematical fact. Using misleading tactics (like % of GDP vs actual $$) is simply a way to confuse the ignorant. I guess it’s a good thing that, as the original post states, 90% of America apparently sees through the B.S. you are shoveling. Cheers!

  4. Wow, that was quick Mike! Was it already approved and I just couldn’t see it or were you sitting on the enter key waiting? 🙂

  5. No idea now. Before, when I wasn’t logged in I could see my later comments but not the first, very long one. I figured it’s because of the links that I posted. When I login, I see it but right under my name it says, “your comment is awaiting moderation”. So either it’s telling me I’m too much of an extremist, or it’s waiting on you to “approve” my hateful, extremist first comment. 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll check on it when i get home. I didn’t click the “don’t allow right wing extremists” button when I signed up, so it much be something else. 🙂

  6. Thanks Mike! You’re OK, no matter what names I keep calling you! 😉

  7. My comment still doesn’t show. I’m starting to think you’re afraid to let it be seen…. how can I call you an “ignorant slut” if you refuse to show my comments? 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. Oh, don’t worry, you’re still an ignorant slut, dude. OK – I’ll look into it for sure tonight…I’ve been on the road traveling…any recent posts that have appeared where scheduled on Saturday. I do have a little time tonight to play, though, so I’ll check into it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Seriously? a credit card is not a debt? That’s the liberals for you-what a statement
    by liberals ugh, that is the problem. Sure if you pay it off every month or put credit on it without interest.

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