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Paul Ryan and others in the Republican Party are trying to blame President Obama for what they describe as the $5 Trillion increase in national debt that has occurred since 2008, an increase also described in terms of a massive rise in the ratio of debt-to-GDP, rising from 33.3% of GDP (projected for 2012 in January of 2008) to 72.8% of GDP (projected for 2012 by the CBO in August of 2012), a difference of  39.5%.  

Did you know that of that "$5 Trillion", over $4.631 Trillion (93%) was already projected to occur in August of 2009, based on the economic conditions created by and policies enacted by President Bush, a projection issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) well before President Obama's first budget became law?

Did you know that of the 39.5% increase in the Debt-to-GDP ratio for 2012 between the January 2008 CBO projection and their August 2012 projection, all but 6.9% of it was already projected by the CBO in August of 2009 based on the economic conditions created by and policies enacted by President Bush, in a projection issued by the CBO well before President Obama's first budget became law?

Did you know that of the differences between the August 2009 CBO projections and the August 2012 projections (which take into account changes in taxes and spending during the Obama Administration)  almost all are accouted for by differences in revenue - tax revenue being lower than anticipated - not spending?

(This may not be as exhaustive a review of these numbers as you or I might like, but they are a damned sight more exhaustive than the half-assed 'analysis' behind the Republican claim that the $5 Trillion in new debt should be rightfully placed at the feet of President Obama.  I welcome corrections or suggestions.)

Debt Held By the Public

The pre-recession January 2008 CBO projection assumed the Debt Held by Public would be $5.751 Trillion by 2012.
The recession-colored August 2009 projection from the CBO assumed the Debt Held by Public would be $10.382 Trillion.
The August 2012 CBO projection expects the Debt Held by Public to be $11.318 Trillion.

So while the Debt has increased beyond the projections given before President Obama's first budget went into effect, only about $936 Billion is debt above what was expected based on the tax and spending laws in effect under President Bush (and the Stimulus bill) and under the expectations of the impact of the recession in August of 2009.  

Of that $936 Billion difference , how much is accounted for by differences in spending and how much by revenues?

Looking at last year and this year gives us some clue:

The August 2009 CBO projection estimated spending for 2011 at $3.638 Trillion and for 2012 at $3.6 Trillion.

The August 2012 CBO projection reports spending for 2011 at $3.603 Trillion and projects 2012 will be $3.5463 Trillion, so spending for 2011/2012 is at or below what was projected back in August of 2009 based on a continuation of the policies and laws in effect at the time of President Bush's last budget as modifed by the February 2009 ARRA 'stimulus'.

The August 2009 CBO projection estimated revenue for 2011 at $2.717 Trillion and for 2012 at $3.010 Trillion.

The August 2012 CBO projection reports revenue for 2011 at $2.303 Trillion ($414 Billion short) and projects 2012 will be $2.435 Trillion ($575 short) , so revenue just for those two years, is $989 Billion below what was projected for those two years in August of 2009 based on a continuation of the policies and laws in effect at the time of President Bush's last budget (more than the $936 Billion difference in 2012 debt projected in August 2009 and August 2012).

Debt to GDP

Before President Obama's first budget went into effect, the federal debt held by the public was projected by the CBO in August 2009 to rise to 65.9% of GDP by the end of 2012.

That was an increase of 32.6% from the projection given by the CBO in January 2008 before the impacts of the financial collapse and recession were recognized (33.3%).  

According to the August 2012 projection from the CBO that figure is now expected to be 72.8%, just 6.9% higher than the 65.9 %  Public Debt to GDP projected before Obama's first budget took effect (but after and therefore including the ARRA Stimulus bill signed into law February 17, 2009.)

Included in the August 2009 CBO projection was the $789 Billion ARRA (Stimulus Act) of which $288 Billion (37%) was tax cuts (decreased revenue), $144 Billion (18%) was state and local fiscal relief (spending) and $357 Billion (45%) was federal spending programs.  

So the same CBO whose debt and deficit projections are embraced as the source of bad news about Obama, were projecting nearly all of that bad news before Obama even got his hands on the federal budget (other than his Stimulus bill of which over 1/3 was tax cuts.)  

The same folk who brought us the recession, built that national debt.  

Sources:

The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2008 to 2018
Congressional Budget Office  -  January 2008

Web page:  http://cbo.gov/...    

Full Document pdf:   http://cbo.gov/...  

The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update

Congressional Budget Office -  August 2009

Web page:  http://cbo.gov/...

Full Document pdf:   http://cbo.gov/...

An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022
Congressional Budget Office -  August 2012

Web page   http://www.cbo.gov/...
Full document pdf:  http://www.cbo.gov/...

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