Bush vs Obama: Who Caused America’s Debt?


Picture by Nikil Sunku

   Learning how high America’s debt is boggles the mind and makes one wonder what level caliber of spending is needed to even come close to this number; more importantly, who could have caused this number to arise?

   Although Ronald Reagan seemed to be the kickstarter to the debt, due to his 168% increase, many Republicans consider Obama the reason for the crisis, while Democrats blame Bush for the debt. In reality, it was the American people’s  fault.

   Let us look at the facts. When Bush got inaugurated into office, America had an excess budget, which led to the reduction of taxes. Due to this, the economy and GDP of America were declining, and America spent $400 billion dollars over the break even. Although the economy was starting to get back on its feet (bringing the deficit down to $200 billion), the financial crisis of 2007-2008 occurred, bringing the deficit back up to $400 billion. This leads us to Obama.

   The great recession was a major issue cast upon Obama when sworn into the presidency. To repel unemployment and another great depression, members of Congress signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This act had the purpose of lowering/limiting unemployment rates to under 8%, and it was made to combat the stock market crash of 2008. An $830 billion increase in spending was the result of this act, bringing the deficit down to $1.4 trillion. Taxes rose a year after the bill got signed, lowering the deficit back down to $1.3 trillion.

   Now that the facts have been laid out, some may be wondering: What do these facts have to do with the American people causing the debt? Let me ask you, who wanted to lower taxes? Who wanted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to go on with the same lowered taxes? Who supported putting these candidates into office? Who was being greedy with their own money from the start, thinking we could support an even break in our debt with extra spending, without having to pay raised taxes? Who did not think of the practicality of the candidates who said, “I will cut taxes,” while already spending more money than we were receiving? Although it does seem that Obama did cause our debt, ultimately, the decision of the American people created the debt. They made the decision to elect people into office due to their seductive policies to benefit us as individuals, rather than to benefit America in its entirety.