Listening to the Thune/Williams debate replay on South Dakota Public Radio, I hear Senator Thune echo his Presidential nominee’s gripe that President Obama has doubled the national debt.
Let’s be particular: the debt when President Obama took office was $10.63 trillion. The U.S. Debt Clock says that today it’s $19.65 trillion. That’s 1.85 times President Obama’s starting debt.
To put Senator Thune’s slight exaggeration in context, President George W. Bush started his Presidency with $5.73 trillion in debt. Over his two terms, the national debt increased by a factor of 1.86. President Obama will exceed that figure.
To compare apples to apples, let’s match Bush to Obama over their first seven budgets. From the end of FY2001 to the end of FY2008, the national debt increased 72.6%. From the end of FY2009 to the end of FY2016, the national debt increased 62.9%.
So, depending on where you start counting, the debt growth for which Senator Thune is criticizing President Obama is pretty much the same fiscal performance that his friend President Bush produced.