the debt

So ALL political bias aside. Who tacked on more debt: Bush or Obama? Both parties blame the other. Really looking for a clear vision with all the mud flying around. Am looking forward to hear some straight talk. Don’t bother with an agenda. Thanks in advance!

Without getting into the weeds and the myriad of ways to present/spin the numbers/calculations, both are guilty of fiscal irresponsibility. That said, Obama’s record in this regard is far worse than Bush’s.

If you move into a new apartment and the previous tenants left a filthy mess, how is it your fault that you have to spend money to clean it up?

Impossible to answer as stated. There at least two distinct questions here - which president’s policies have added the most to the debt and which president presided over the larger increase in the debt. And really only the second one has a truly factual answer (Obama). Bush oversaw a $5T increase in the debt. Obama has been in charge for about a $6T increase in half the time.

For an answer to the policy question you need GD.

The fact is that as a percentage of our national wealth, there is no period that grew the national debt more than during World War II. It’s just a simple fact.

However, if you think about this for a moment, most people will understand that there’s a decent reason why the debt increased so much during World War II. If one only looks at the numbers, and totally ignore why the numbers did what they did, one can come to a much different conclusion about that fact.

The debt has risen more quickly during Obama’s time in the White House than during any four-year period of the Bush presidency. That’s just a fact. However, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Reasonable minds can disagree about whether the increase in the debt has been avoidable or not: but to only look at the numbers without considering why the numbers are that way is to only look at one side of the story.

It is possible to spin it exactly the other way around, by examining the effect on the debt of each president’s actual actions. What did Bush actually do to increase the debt? What did Obama actually do in the same regard? If you look at it this way, you get a completely different answer. (Bush started two wars and signed a tax-cut bill. Obama…not really much.)

There are simply too many ways to look at it – valid ways to look at it – for the answer to be answered in any kind of clear A/B fashion.

Debt isn’t always bad, and it’s hard to determine which debt accrued is worse.

If you have 500k in debt on an asset that will very likely be worth 1.5 million in a few years, that isn’t bad debt.

If you have 500k in debt and there’s such crushing interest that you will be out 1 million in a few years with little in return or little left… then that’s a different debt entirely.

So, no way to effectively measure the debt without understanding what it buys us or costs us.


Plus, Bush decided to give seniors prescription benefits, but in such a way that the benefit fund could not negotiate lower drug costs with the drug companies.

And… that benefit generates more debt each year; so who “owns” that debt since 2008, for example - Bush or Obama?
Same as who “owns” the interest on the Iraq war costs? Who “owns” the debt due to taxes being cut while the budget was already in the red? Who “owns” the debt due to banks and car companies needing bailouts, seeing that the markets crashed well before Obama was inaugurated, but the costs kept piling on since then?

This is why there are “spin” masters in political campaigns. Numbers and facts can be tortured (waterboarded?) to say whatever you want them to say.