List Of GOP Presidents And The Debt Ceiling Facts

Let’s be honest about what is happening in Washington regarding the debt ceiling.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the entire GOP caucus are desiring to threaten the United States economy by not only refusing to increase the debt limit, but denying through a procedural method the Democrats from being able to vote for it.

The dangers of not increasing the debt limit have been written about often as of late. I have made it clear that the Republicans should not be able to hold the economy hostage during the increase process, so to extract something for just doing their jobs.

The absolute blarney that McConnell is spreading about why the Republicans are pouting in the sandbox makes us more aware of what he wishes the public not to know. Or recall.

The fact is that the majority of this country’s debt was incurred by Republican presidents. That is not my writing a partisan line, but rather one of those pesky facts Republicans wish to forget. The national debt is all those deficits accumulated, minus whatever we have paid off, regardless of which party the debt accumulated under. In other words, the GOP needs to act like adults.

Here then are the numbers…..the facts...from over the decades.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (D)
     Assumed office November 1963: $5 billion deficit
     Left office January 1969: $3 billion surplus
     Decreased deficit by $8 billion
Richard Nixon (R)
     Assumed office January 1969: $3 billion surplus
     Left office August 1974: $6 billion deficit
     Increased deficit by $9 billion
Gerald Ford (R)
     Assumed office August 1974: $6 billion deficit
     Left office January 1977: $54 billion deficit
     Increased deficit by $48 billion
Jimmy Carter (D)
     Assumed office January 1977: $54 billion deficit
     Left office January 1981: $79 billion deficit
     Increased deficit by $25 billion
Ronald Reagan (R)
     Assumed office January 1981: $79 billion deficit
     Left office January 1989: $153 billion deficit
     Increased deficit by $74 billion
George H.W Bush (R)
     Assumed office January 1989: $153 billion deficit
     Left office January 1993: $255 billion deficit
     Increased deficit by $102 billion
Bill Clinton (D)
     Assumed office January 1993: $255 billion deficit
     Left office January 2001: $128 billion surplus
     Decreased deficit by $383 billion
George W. Bush (R)
     Assumed office January 2001: $128 billion surplus
     Left office January 2009: $1.4 trillion deficit
     Increased deficit by $1.5 trillion
Barack Obama (D)
     Assumed office January 2009: $1.4 trillion deficit
     Left office January 2017: $665 billion deficit
     Decreased deficit by $735 billion
Donald Trump (R)
     Assumed office January 2017: $665 billion deficit
     Left office January 2020: $3.7 trillion deficit
     Increased deficit by $3 trillion

As the data proves from over the past nearly 60 years only Democratic President Jimmy Carter had a larger budget deficit in his last year in office than he inherited from his predecessor. Please note that all six Republican presidents had larger deficits in their last budgets than they were handed at the start of their term.

In other words, Republicans love to spend taxpayer money and then deny what they did in office in relation to spending. What is harmful at times like this, when debt ceiling action is required, is too many gullible voters have swallowed the GOP rhetoric that this is all somehow the fault of Democrats.

Such attempts from Republicans are simply factually wrong.

And so it goes.

Democrats Give Nation Lesson In Governing As Reconciliation Bill Makes Progress

There are probably a few Democrats on Capitol Hill singing a little ditty under their breath today as they move down hallways for another meeting on the reconciliation bill.

“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day”

The reason for a bounce in their step has to do with both Senator Joe Manchin and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal doing what this blog recommended last week.

Act pragmatically.

Last week Manchin was stating his top line for the package was $1.5 trillion. But now he has compromised…this is how such large measures are constructed in Washington. He now states being agreeable to a higher amount. His range now is between $1.9 – $2.2 trillion.

On the House side Jayapal, the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, suggested the party could unite behind a $2.5 trillion package. The most important part of this new development on both sides is the recognition that compromise is moving in both directions.

However, if one listens to the far-right talk shows or tune into FOX News during the angry prime time hours it would seem that compromise equals capitulation. 

It does not.

History shows that compromise is often needed in the most dire of times. Given the emotion and desires of various factions, compromise is always very difficult to achieve. That it is imperative at critical times to reach a deal should not be news to anyone. Yet sadly, compromise or even talk of it, (such as over the past two weeks) has led to some needlessly tense conversations and wounded relationships in D.C.

At times like this, I reflect on other moments in our national story where compromise was required to get the larger needs met.

As the Constitutional Convention was proceeding  Ben Franklin often looked at the president’s chair and saw the image of the sun that was painted upon it.  After the proceedings were complete he remarked to other colleagues that he had wondered if the sun was rising or setting on the chair, and felt with the completion of the work that it was indeed rising.

That is how I feel at this time, too. Though there is much work remaining until President Joe Biden signs the various legislation.

I just know that a significant and purposeful reconciliation bill will be drafted and passed in this Congress, along with the much-needed infrastructure bill. Democrats will also ensure that the debt ceiling is increased.

In achieving all these things the nation will have witnessed how governing happens even when all the parties are not initially aligned. Crafting a massive piece of legislation is always a process that is messy and makes some uncomfortable in Middle America. This civics lesson is as important to the needs of the nation right now as are the final bills.

Maybe even the Republicans will learn something.

And so it goes.