Thursday, October 20, 2011

Free Spending Liberals and Tight-Fisted Conservatives

Here's the real lay of the land. From a blog post by Barry Ritholtz on his The Big Picture blog:
The actual budgets of the Presidents and their deficits — that’s what this is about, right? — are as follows:
George W. Bush is sworn in on January 20th, but his first budget does not take effect until October 1, 2001:

10/1/2001: Bush starting deficit – $5.8 trillion

9/30/2009: Bush ending deficit – $11.9 trillion

Bush debt contribution: $6.1 trillion

Barack H. Obama is sworn in on January 20th, but his first budget does not take effect until October 1, 2009:

10/1/2009: Obama starting deficit – $11.9 trillion

9/30/2011: Obama ending deficit – $14.8 trillion

Obama debt contribution: $2.9 trillion
Of the $14.8 trillion in total debt as of September 30, 2011, the Bush budgets generated $6.1 trillion in deficits versus the $2.9 trillion of Obama deficits. That’s 41.2% vs 19.6% by a reasonable methodology of measuring presidential debt.
For those who don't believe the above and have seen "other numbers". Here's the explanation:
The data was assembled in the original post is not by each President’s first day in office to his last, but rather, by the budgets each President submits to Congress that gets passed. (Congress may change the budget, but rarely appropriates more than what the President requests). I cannot imagine that any fair-minded person would look at this data any other way: The debt each President creates is a function of the budgets each President submits to congress. It is not based upon the literal time they spend in office. Therefore the only objective way to view the data is BY EACH PRESIDENTS BUDGET.

This is not an insignificant point. So, rather than indulge in irrelevant measures that mislead the reader, let’s go to the actual fiscal numbers of each President’s budgets to see what there is to see.

On January 20th, 2001, George W. Bush was sworn into office – but the budget for most of the rest of that year was Bill Clinton’s, passed by the prior Congress. Barack Obama was sworn in on January 20th, 2009 – but the budget for most of that year was that of George W. Bush. Why are these so? Because the Federal government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 (of the previous calendar year) to September 30. Hence, the FY 2001 is Clinton’s and FY 2002 is Bush’s. FY2009 is Bush’s, FY 2010 is Obama’s.
If you don't go by presidential budget, but use "day of inauguration", then you get this skewed representation of reality:

Click to Enlarge

The above shows a big debt under Obama, but this is the debt committed to by Bush under a Bush budget and a Republican Congress. This wasn't Obama's budget.

You have to be very careful of your "facts". It is all too easy to pick and choose "facts" and distort reality.

Here is the honest accounting of debt under presidents using each president's budget as passed by Congress:

Click to Enlarge

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