Bush Left Obama a $1.2 Trillion Deficit

DeficitsWhen we hear the partisan whining and complaining that President Obama has exploded the Federal budget deficit, it’s important to understand the budget train wreck he inherited from the previous administration. At the beginning of Jan. 2009, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2009 to 2019.

In it, the CBO projected that the deficit for fiscal 2009 would total $1.2 trillion, or 8.3 percent of GDP. Note that Federal fiscal year 2009 was Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009.

The CBO also cautioned that its projection did not include the effects of future legislation such as the stimulus package. In fact, the CBO was prescient as the actual 2009 deficit turned out to be $1.4 trillion.

In brief, the projected deficit for 2009 was $1.2 trillion before Barack Obama set foot in office, and he in turn contributed an additional 14 percent ($200 billion) attributed by the CBO to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, i.e., the stimulus program.


The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2009 to 2019

The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2010 to 2020

Table of Revenues, Outlays, Deficits, Surpluses, and Debt Held by the Public, 1970 to 2009 (PDF)

h/t to Factcheck.org, “A Texas-Size Whopper”


Bush Grew Gross Federal Debt by 85.5 Percent

3 thoughts on “Bush Left Obama a $1.2 Trillion Deficit”

  1. So, Obama’s promise to cut the deficit in half his first four years didn’t happen.Don’t forget, Bush had a Democratic Senate and House to work with his final two years in office. Then you fail to discuss the Federal Debt…under Obama it has soared to 16.16 Trillion dollars!! He had a Democratic House and Senate to work with his first two years and accomplished raising the debt by 54%.

  2. You make a good point. Obama failed to halve the deficit in four years, as govt income sank to its lowest level as a percentage of GDP since 1951 (15.1%, 15.1%, and 15.8% in 2009, 2010, and 2010 respectively). This was caused by the recession that began in Dec. 2007, the worst economic disruption since the Great Depression, and was compounded by unprecedented tax cuts during a time of war. Obama should have known better. He should have understood that the previous admin had left this massive structural deficit in place. (When Obama took office on 1/20/09, the annual Federal deficit was already projected at $1.2T, the nat’l debt had increased by 85.5% over the previous eight years, and the U.S. economy had lost 3.1 million jobs.) Obama’s stimulus program (The American Recovery Act) added 14% in cost, which accounted for the $1.4T in actual deficit in Obama’s first year. Now the annual deficit is hovering at $1T annually (despite the growth of Federal spending slowing to its lowest rate in modern history (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/23/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-s/).

    4/6/2016 UPDATE: Looking back at the data, the 2013 budget under President Obama represented a 58 percent reduction to $679.5 billion or 4.1 percent of GDP, i.e., the deficit was reduced by MORE THAN HALF in four years.

    Also, to bring the record up-to-date, the CBO data shows the deficit has now been reduced 75 percent from its 2009 peak. For budget year 2009, the deficit was $1.4T or 9.9 percent of GDP. For budget year 2015, the deficit was $438B or 2.5 percent of GDP, a 75 percent reduction.

    See: CBO Historical Budget Data March 2016 at https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/51134-2016-03-HistoricalBudgetData.xlsx

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