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It All Depends on Your Definition of “Largely”

June 24, 2011

“Who is to blame for our debt crisis? ‘The U.S. government cannot default on its debt, largely accrued by President George W. Bush,’
Pelosi said.”
During the Obama Administration, the debt held by the public has risen more (by $3.4 trillion in 2+ years, compared with $2.9 trillion in the prior 8 years) and nearly four times faster than during the Bush Administration.  Contrary to Rep. Pelosi’s rhetoric, this makes today’s debt “largely” attributable to the Obama Administration.



Change in Debt Held by the Public

Bush Administration
(8 Years)

January 20, 2001-
January 20, 2009

$3.4 trillion
                    $6.3 trillion                    
                   +$2.9 trillion                  
= average of $360 billion per year 


Obama Administration
(2.4 Years)

January 20, 2009-
June 22, 2011

$6.3 trillion
                      $9.7 trillion                      
                   +$3.4 trillion                
= average of $1.4 trillion per year

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury. The data for the start of the Bush Administration is from September 29, 2000, the closest available data to January 20, 2001; the next closest data is for September 28, 2001, when the figure was $3.3 trillion.