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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Obama’s Debt-Reduction Promises Continue to Expire



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This morning, the Congressional Budget Office offers one more indicator of how far Obama has missed his bold promises on reducing the debt, projecting “a $1.1 trillion federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2012 if current laws remain unchanged. Measured as a share of the nation’s output (gross domestic product, or GDP), that shortfall of 7.0 percent is nearly 2 percentage points below the deficit recorded in 2011, but still higher than any deficit between 1947 and 2008.”

You’ll recall Obama promising to “cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.” (Note that many Americans probably heard that and thought he meant to cut the overall, outstanding, now $15.2 trillion debt, not the annual, a bit-more-than $1 trillion per year deficit.)

But, as you undoubtedly know, Obama hasn’t even come close to cutting the deficit in any significant way in any year of his presidency:

Fiscal 2009 budget deficit (technically the last year under Bush): $1.41 trillion.

2010 budget deficit: $1.3 trillion.

2011 budget deficit: $1.3 trillion.

2012 budget deficit projection: $1.1 trillion.

In the video above, Obama says, “In 2008 alone, we paid $258 billion in interest on debt, one in every ten taxpayer dollars. That is more than three times what we spent on education.”

I’m not quite sure where Obama is getting the $258 billion figure, since Treasury lists significantly larger figures for interest on the debt for each year. But for what it’s worth, the recent payments for each year:

Fiscal 2007: $429 billion.

Fiscal 2008: $451 billion.

Fiscal 2009: $383 billion.

Fiscal 2010: $413 billion.

Fiscal 2011: $454 billion.

We’re up to $148 billion in the first three months of this fiscal year.

Oh, and:

CBO expects that the economy will continue to recover slowly, with real GDP growing by 2.0 percent this year and 1.1 percent next year (as measured by the change from the fourth quarter of the previous calendar year). CBO expects economic activity to quicken after 2013 but to remain below the economy’s potential until 2018.


Tags: Barack Obama , Debt


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