Posted by Brian O’Connor
Sunday, July 10, 2011
By the end of his first term, President Obama will have added as much debt as all the prior 43 presidents combined
He’s just getting warmed up.
PolitiFact – We’re able to calculate the debt figures for the earlier dates using the U.S. Department of Treasury’s “Debt to the Penny” calculator. The future debt amounts come from Office of Management and Budget projections. Because they are projections, they’re subject to change as economic circumstances change, but they are are widely cited among experts. (OMB doesn’t project future debt to specific dates, only to the end of future fiscal years, so that’s why our ending dates are only at the end of fiscal years.)
Here are the debt totals accumulated during the three periods we listed above:
* End of fiscal year 2008, when the accrued debt under the 43 presidents was $5.851 trillion, to the end of fiscal 2012, when the debt is projected to reach $11.881 trillion. Yes, more than the previous 43 presidents.
* Obama inauguration, when the accrued debt was $6.307 trillion, to the end of fiscal year 2013, when the debt is projected to reach $12.784 trillion.Yes, more than the previous 43 presidents.
* End of fiscal year 2009, when the accrued debt was $7.506 trillion, to end of fiscal year 2013, when the debt is projected to reach $12.784 trillion.No, not as much as the previous 43 presidents.
Over the first two scenarios above, the debt more than doubled from the starting point (which reflects the debt under the prior 43 presidents) to the ending point. So in these two scenarios, Romney is right — Obama accumulated more debt than the previous 43 presidents combined. But for the third scenario, the debt didn’t double, so Romney would be wrong. This exercise is a testament to the fact that small changes in assumptions can produce big differences in outcomes.