Who owns the debt-ceiling issue again?

posted at 2:05 pm on July 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I rebutted the strange New York Times chart making the rounds which makes it look as though the Bush administration and Republican Congresses have been responsible for all of the spending growth of the last generation.  Today, John Hinderaker points out another chart from Heritage, which shows exactly where the debt expansion occurred, and who is responsible for it:

Of the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling we have now, $4.5 trillion got added by Democrat-controlled Congresses since taking control in 2007.  That corresponds exactly with the expansion in spending by Democratic Congresses over the same period:

Again, this new chart doesn’t exactly let Republicans off the hook, either.  In the six years preceding this $4.5 trillion expansion of debt limits, Republicans expanded it by $3.85 trillion themselves — over six years, not three.  The increasing pressure of entitlement spending created much of the need for this, but Congress under both parties increased discretionary spending at the same time, too — and Democrats did more of that than Republicans, as this chart showed yesterday:

John writes:

The chart also responds implicitly to some recent Democratic Party talking points. The Democrats like to point out that the ceiling was raised 18 times during the Reagan administration. That’s right, an average of about once every six months. In other words, those increases were small and highly temporary, as you can see from the chart. It is also noteworthy that the total increase in the debt ceiling during the Reagan years was almost exactly equal to the increase in the debt ceiling during the Clinton administration. Neither, however, is in the same universe with the spiraling debt the Democrats have racked up since they took control of Congress in 2007.

Both parties have a great deal of responsibility for bringing us to where we are today. However, the assertion that it’s more the fault of George Bush and Republicans rather than Barack Obama and Democrats is patently absurd.  These charts show exactly where spending increased, by how much, and the actions taken by Congress under control of each party — and every one of them shows the rate of increase in discretionary and mandatory spending rising faster under Democrats than Republicans, and the debt-ceiling hikes going up significantly faster.

All of this misses the point, however.  We elected this Congress to change the way the federal government operates.  Trimming $71 or $74 billion a year in spending won’t turn the tide on debt aggregation; we need fundamental, structural reform of spending that reduces to zero the amount of money we have to borrow on an annual basis to pay our bills.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

No arguement that Ogabe has virtually exploded the debt.

But … look at the chart and you’ll see – the GOP President and Congress had nothing to crow about on their watch either.

HondaV65 on July 27, 2011 at 2:10 PM

As Larry Elders once quipped: “Facts to a liberal are like Kryptonite to Superman.”

Weebork on July 27, 2011 at 2:10 PM

bayam to claim this chart is “fake” in 3….2….1……

Del Dolemonte on July 27, 2011 at 2:12 PM

But Boehner’s bill will “cut” $100 Billion…!

/

Seven Percent Solution on July 27, 2011 at 2:14 PM

There’s a new currency out to solve everyone’s debt problems…it’s called the “Barackazillion.”

It’s as “Good as gold” and “The only currency you will ever need.”

Watch the video of how it works at http://barackazillion.com

Fed Up on July 27, 2011 at 2:15 PM

It was just bad luck that so few Democrat Senators were up for re-election in 2010. That made it very difficult to also flip the senate, but we did clear out some deadwood. That will change in 2012.

Mord on July 27, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Related-

Politico says that Clyburn and Boxer are begging Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit under the 14th Amendment, which he’s previously said he doesn’t have the ability to do.

teke184 on July 27, 2011 at 2:19 PM

See that first chart?

It’s almost a perfect fit with the green line on the graph on this page.

That’s all that matters, or soon will be all that matters.

ZenDraken on July 27, 2011 at 2:20 PM

“These are not the charts you are looking for.”

Akzed on July 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

BushBushBushBushBushBushBushBsuhBshBshBshBshBsbsbsbsbsbsbs

tree hugging sister on July 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

In other words, those increases were small and highly temporary

I find that highly offensive. There hasn’t been a “temporary” debt limit increase.

Once it’s there, it’s there. Forever and ever, amen.

ButterflyDragon on July 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

“We elected this Congress to change the way the federal government operates.”

The change should be “The Day After Budget”…

… “The Day After Budget” is the budget after a nuclear strike to Washington, D.C.

Start from scratch, fund what is spelled out in the Constitution, and then everything after that will up for a vote in front of the American people…

… I doubt federal funding for a study of homosexual genitalia will make it this time around.

Seven Percent Solution on July 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM

we need fundamental, structural reform of spending that reduces to zero the amount of money we have to borrow on an annual basis to pay our bills.

All who are focused on reelection, incl. President Drama, should be fired.

Save the land. Stop the bleeding NOW. Apply tourniquets.

Lefties using language like “negotiating with terrorists on the right” should make them suffocate on their own words.

Schadenfreude on July 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Conclusion:

The Progressive/Modern Liberal/statist ideology, going all the way back to The New Deal, has failed.

It has failed in America. It has failed in Europe. It has failed in South America. It can never last over an extended period of time, anywhere.

It makes no difference if the people in power are Republicans or Democrats. If they push Leftist policy, it will eventually fail, period.

The only solution is to vote for the most conservative candidate possible. Since conservative Democrats are extinct, the only choice is conservative Republicans. Left-leaning Republicans need to be voted out.

Do you care about the poor and less fortunate, or not?

visions on July 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM

But … look at the chart and you’ll see – the GOP President and Congress had nothing to crow about on their watch either.

HondaV65 on July 27, 2011 at 2:10 PM

LOL! That’s what I thought when I saw it, too. That “compassionate conservatism” and the DeLay congress were like drunken sailor’s,…until Obama/Pelosi/Reid got the whole navy smashed.

cartooner on July 27, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I sent this to the tips email addy, but in case they don’t get it, or see it…could someone read this, and explain it in greater detail? I’m not quite sure what the ramifications are, but when it’s an exec order, signed yesterday by Obama, and without any news on it…I’m suspicious.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/25/executive-order-blocking-property-transnational-criminal-organizations

capejasmine on July 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Obamas the plan, the plan.

Schadenfreude on July 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

The Law Of Compound Interest cannot be repealed, and it is inexorable.

To get out of this mess, we are going to have to make all spending discretionary, cut everything across the board, sell a lot of assets, and try to grow the economy and create more taxpayers.

The only alternative is for the U.S. to repudiate all of its debt and send the world into darkness for many generations.

rockmom on July 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Obama’s the plan, the plan…Carney is twisting himself in pretzels again…no plan.

Schadenfreude on July 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

visions on July 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM

I agree. When we beat Obama in ’12, we need to be prepared to primary our president if he catches Washingtonitis.

cartooner on July 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

You knoowwww…

… If we were drilling for every ounce of oil and natural gas we had under our feet, this graph could quite possibly represent the amount of money we had in surplus.

Just sayin’…

Seven Percent Solution on July 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Federal spending, adjusted for inflation appears to have doubled in the last 20 years.

But it’ll be the end of the world if we even slow the growth in government spending in any significant way.

These people are spending junkies and the entitlements are going to sink us even if they go into rehab for the discretionary stuff.

This is going to end some day soon. It’s just a matter of deciding if we want to do it under control or in chaos.

forest on July 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

There’s a new currency out to solve everyone’s debt problems…it’s called the “Barackazillion.”

It’s as “Good as gold” and “The only currency you will ever need.”

Watch the video of how it works at http://barackazillion.com

Fed Up on July 27, 2011 at 2:15 PM

My first impulse was to laugh, and then I remembered that these people’s votes count just as heavily as mine.

samuelrylander on July 27, 2011 at 2:40 PM

I think we need a good old fashioned Mars Attacks frying of congress and start over.

mizflame98 on July 27, 2011 at 2:41 PM

The Democrats like to point out that the ceiling was raised 18 times during the Reagan administration.

They obviously have no concept of cumulative effect.

If you are carrying a backpack containing 50 stones, 5 lbs each, and I want to throw in another 50 lb stone, it doesn’t much matter who threw in the 5 lb stones.

That would be like a person accelerating a train from 100mph to 150mph through a heavily populated neighborhood and trying to justify it because somebody else accelerated the train from 25-30, and then from 30-35, and from 35-40.

CarlKopp on July 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

When Boehner told Limbaugh that HE would be the “adult” and not let the US default it signalled WEAKNESS to the Dems.

It was over at that point. Sounds like the Dems just stall and at the last minute O wcan demand $2 trillion from JB and he’ll get it!

PappyD61 on July 27, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Did anyone see what Al Franken put on the floor?
The “Welcome Terrorists” sign???

I cannot believe people find that funny. People should be outraged.

bridgetown on July 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

So basically, based upon the second and third charts, current revenues of 2.15 T just about covers the “mandatory spending” of 2.1 T, right? Therefore, everything in the discretionary side has to be cut if entitlements are not reformed. Congress HAS to get entitlement spending under control and OFF of autopilot because discretionary spending, which can be cut, will never go to zero. Whoever runs for congress and chief executive in 2012 BETTER have a detailed plan to deal with this.

djtnt on July 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

*Repeating the simplicity from one of my astute fellow Texas bloggers*

Simple GOP solution … Double the terms of the CCB and send it back to the Senate. Every time it fails double it again.

The “no planners” will only wish for the original back. Don’t let that happen. The backup baseline room for negotiations is 25% of the last one sent.

Katfish on July 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Thank you, Ed! These are exactly the types of charts I have been looking for to help my liberal friends understand this debt mess!

Now I would like to see a breakdown of exactly what is included in the mandatory spending. That spending may be mandatory now. But if we understand what is driving those “mandatory” costs, we should be able to reduce those costs too.

For example:

– Could medical malpractice reform help to reduce Medicare costs?

– Do we need to change our legal immigration policies to give higher priority to younger workers who will have more time to contribute to the Social Security system before they begin collecting benefits?

wren on July 27, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Seems like we have a basic Obama ideology problem, why communism doesn’t work. In a few charts at that.

tarpon on July 27, 2011 at 3:29 PM

bayam to will claim that all economists in the world claim this chart is “fake” in 3….2….1……

Del Dolemonte on July 27, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Fixed it for you. bayam doesn’t think for herself.

blink on July 27, 2011 at 2:16 PM

If you look at her postings it’s mostly mindless leftist talking points.
And if you challenge her on them she’ll distract or name call – all the while decrying ad hominem attacks.

Chip on July 27, 2011 at 3:34 PM

The problem was created by the political class, and the political class ain’t gonna solve it. The debt is their oxygen.

Labamigo on July 27, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Time to go back to the 2007 budget… and freeze it!

Khun Joe on July 27, 2011 at 4:24 PM

That first chart, the debt and deficit chart is an exponential graph. In exponential growth, the rate of change increases over time – the rate of the growth becomes faster as time passes. The only fate in nature for exponential growth is collapse.

Viator on July 27, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Ed, don’t waste your time with the charts. The RINO’s know full well all about them, they just choose to ignore them and tell conservatives that they have to compromise and make the best of it. If it isn’t time for a third party now, I don’t know when it will be.

flytier on July 27, 2011 at 4:44 PM

If you look at that first chart the spending got out of control in the 90′s…. Of course since the Dems took over Congress, they seem to have given up on getting spending back in control.

jeffn21 on July 27, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Did anyone see what Al Franken put on the floor?
The “Welcome Terrorists” sign???

I cannot believe people find that funny. People should be outraged.

bridgetown on July 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Leftist Humor.

People should be outraged that enough people voted for this sack of * to put him in a position to steal his election.

Del Dolemonte on July 27, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Ed,

Help me out here.

Some of my friends have responded to your post by claiming that the reason that the spending rate appears to skyrocket after the democrats take over in 2007 is that Bush essentially kept the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan off the budget by using emergency spending measures, and that the democrats ended that practice, and exposed the true cost of the wars by including them on the budget. With that claim, they attribute spike post 2007 to the proper counting of the cost of the wars, and therefore to Bush, not Obama and the democrats.

I was able to find an announcement from Obama in 2009 that he was ending “War Spending Tricks“. And 2009 is too late to account for the spike starting in 2007. But that’s all I got.

They claim that if we ended the 2 wars + the bush tax cuts we would be fine.

Can you address this pre-2007 hidden cost of war claim?

Thanks!

J. Max Wilson on July 27, 2011 at 6:24 PM

J Max from that post:

Myth #2: Bush’s heavy spending on the Iraq war caused the budget deficits.

While the cost of the Iraq war to date has been enormous when considered by itself, it is far less so when compared to other governmental spending. According to the CBO, the Iraq war cost approximately $709 billion from 2003 to 2010. The stimulus program, passed in the first year of the Obama Administration, has already cost $572 billion, and the CBO estimates that its final cost will be approximately $814 billion, exceeding the costs of the war by more than $100 billion dollars.

Additionally, the cost of the Iraq war represents less than 20% of the accumulated budget deficits for the last 7 years. Hoven points out that the budget deficits, from 2003, through the 2010 estimated deficit, total approximately $4.73 trillion. Thus, even if the government had not funded the war during the past 7 years, the accumulated budget deficit to date would have still been more than $4 trillion.

CW on July 27, 2011 at 7:33 PM

@J. Max

Federal outlays include all expenditures, not just on-budget expenditures. Likewise, deficit and debt figures reflect the impact of those expenditures.

Considering we haven’t actually /had/ a budget in two years, Democrats are in no position to brag about bringing things on-budget. :)

wdomburg on July 27, 2011 at 9:24 PM

It’s sad that everyone is totally ignoring the fact that the out of control spending started in 1971. What happened then??

That’s when the dollar was converted to a full fiat currency and the Federal Reserve was given total control of our economy. Both parties fully support the dollar being unpegged from precious metals because it allows them to spend freely – because the debt can just be “printed” away. As long as Congress thinks they can just print their way out of their spending problem then they will not stop spending. Period.

popularpeoplesfront on July 28, 2011 at 10:57 AM

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/25/executive-order-blocking-property-transnational-criminal-organizations

capejasmine on July 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

The Appendix has four organizations. In order: Russian, Italian, Japanese , Mexican. Maybe it’s me but teh Won is announcing that international gangsters now have competition from US D’rat party. Marking territory.

Caststeel on July 28, 2011 at 3:52 PM