Bush's two term increase in the national debt.

Now that the George W. Bush era has finally ended, we can do a tally of the national debt he has left to us, our children, and our grandchildren:

When Bush was sworn in on January 20, 2001, the national debt was $5,727,776,738,304.64.

When “W” left office on January 20, 2009, the national debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08.

The growth in the national debt during his eight years in office: $4,899,100,310,608.44.

The average yearly growth in the national debt during Bush’s presidency: $612,387,538,826.05.

During much of Bush’s tenure, he had a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate.

He claimed that tax cuts would pay for themselves – they did not. He claimed that tax cuts would result in growth – we are in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Let us hope that once the economy rights itself, we will find the political will to insist that we pay what it costs to run this country. We need to do it as a general principle of what is right for America, and not empty words conditioned upon every citizen agreeing with how every dollar in the government budget is being spent.

What George Bush did to this country profoundly weakened us. We worry about the effect of spending a trillion dollars to bring us back from an economic precipice because, during times of relative prosperity we were sold a bill of goods about how our budget would be balanced at some time in future, despite all evidence to the contrary.

There can be no more “magical thinking”. No more tricks of accountancy. No more ignoring the costs of our aging population. This time, when we restore our economy to some semblance of health we need to pay as we go, not borrow as we cross our fingers.


The dollar figures are from “Debt to the Penny”:


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  • Bush doubled the national debt…, but didn’t Reagon triple or quadruple the national debt during his tenure? I am not astute enough to figure out just who did the most damage…, but given the fact that Reagon’s numbers were in the billions while George E’s were in the trillions…, I have a feeling that Georgie bested Ronnie even considering an inflation correction. Would comparisons between percentage of GDP at the times give a clearer picture?

    I have always contended that the downfall of this country began when Reagon defeated Carter and the debt (death?) spiral began. Bush just put the pedal to the metal and accelerated us to the bottom.

  • There is no “daily” number (that I know of) for the national debt back in 1981, but if I am reading this right, for January 31, 1981, the total national debt was $934 Billion:


    On January 31, 1989, just days after Ronald Reagan left office, the total national debt was $2.697 Trillion.


    Reagan’s 8 year increase in the national debt was $1.763 Trillion. That was just under a tripling of the national debt – triple would have been $2.802 Trillion.

    Of course, the Reagan numbers are in 1980s dollars – adjusting for inflation would almost certainly make Ronald Reagan the spendthrift champion.

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