National Debt Doubles Since Obama

file000863634145President Obama likes to say that raising the nation’s borrowing limit “won’t add a dime” to the federal debt, but he neglects to mention that the government already has borrowed the equivalent of more than 60 trillion dimes since he took office.

When Mr. Obama became president in January 2009, the total federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion. This week, it hit $16.7 trillion — an increase of 57 percent. In the same time frame under President George W. Bush, total federal debt rose 38 percent. Under President Clinton, it rose 32 percent.

The administration says the government will run out of authority to pay its bills by Oct. 17 unless Congress raises the debt limit again to allow more borrowing. The president portrays the move as one of simple responsibility.

“It does not increase our debt,” Mr. Obama said. “It does not grow our deficits. All it does is allow the Treasury Department to pay for what Congress has already spent.”

The president rarely mentions that he, by law, approves congressional spending, and his argument glosses over the nation’s burgeoning total debt.

“It’s certainly not the whole story,” said Alex Brill, a budget specialist at the American Enterprise Institute. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the debt held by the public in the last four or five years, and it’s projected to only get worse.”

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