Rep. Bachmann Trots Out Chart Blaming Obama For Bush's Debt

January 07, 2011 11:11 am ET

On several television programs over the last few days, including NBC's Today Show and Fox News' Hannity and On the Record, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has brought out a chart purporting to show that the deficit has exploded as a result of President Obama's policies. While the deficit is indeed higher under the Obama administration than it was during the Bush administration, that's an effect of a global recession and of Bush-era policies like the Bush tax cuts and the war in Iraq.

Rep. Bachmann Blames Deficit On Obama

Rep. Michele Bachmann:

I brought one chart that I wanted to share with you. This is the debt that was accumulated under President Bush, all of these red lines. This is just two years under President Obama. That's what I'm nervous about, and that's why I'm very committed to doing whatever I can to make sure we don't have a second term for President Obama.

Bachmann's Chart

[Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 1/5/11]

The Exploding Debt And Deficit Are The Result Of Bush-Era Policies And The Recession

Before Obama Took Office, The FY 2009 Deficit Was Projected At $1.2 Trillion. As reported by the Washington Times: "The Congressional Budget Office announced a projected fiscal 2009 deficit of $1.2 trillion even if Congress doesn't enact any new programs. [...] About the only person who was silent on the deficit projection was Mr. Bush, who took office facing a surplus but who saw spending balloon and the country notch the highest deficits on record." [Washington Times1/8/09, emphasis added]

CBPP: Deficit Grew By $3 TRILLION Because Of Policies Passed From 2001 To 2007. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "Congressional Budget Office data show that the tax cuts have been the single largest contributor to the reemergence of substantial budget deficits in recent years. Legislation enacted since 2001 added about $3.0 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2007, with nearly half of this deterioration in the budget due to the tax cuts (about a third was due to increases in security spending, and about a sixth to increases in domestic spending)." [, accessed 1/31/10, parentheses original]

The Bush Tax Cuts Are The Primary Driver Of Federal Budget Deficits Over The Next Decade. Below is a chart from CBPP showing the deficit impacts of war spending, financial recovery spending, the recession itself, and the Bush tax cuts:


[, 6/28/10]

Public And Foreign-Held Debt Skyrocketed While Bush Was In Office. Below are two graphs prepared by the Speaker's office showing the increase of publicly and foreign-held debt during the years Bush was in office:


Description: bushforeigndebt

[U.S. Treasury via The Gavel, 6/11/10]

Cost Of Iraq War Through 2010 Is $709 Billion

CBO: Cost Of Operations For Iraq War Through 2010 Is $709 Billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of operations for the Iraq War through 2010 is $709 billion. [CBO, 8/10]

In October 2009, CBO Estimated That Continued Operations Would Add $156 Billion To The Deficit Between 2010 And 2014. According to the Congressional Budget Office: "CBO estimates that costs over the period from 2009 to 2014 would be $156 billion under the Administration's plan but $50 billion to $54 billion less if troops began to withdraw in October 2009, as they would under Option 1 or Option 2 (see Table 1)." [CBO, 10/7/09]

Krugman: Iraq War "Has Cost At Least $700 Billion." Writing on his New York Times blog, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman stated: "There were two big-ticket Bush policies. One was the tax cuts, which cost around $1.8 trillion in revenue; add in interest costs, and we're presumably talking about more than $2 trillion in debt. The other was the Iraq War, which has cost at least $700 billion, and will cost more before we finally extract ourselves." [New York Times, 8/27/09]