Yes, Obama Did Increase The Deficit More Than All Previous Presidents Combined

Propaganda: GOP is lying about Obama’s spending. He did not increase the deficit more than other presidents. He spent less than Bush and Reagan. He’s a fiscal hawk!


  • The White House publishes Receipts (money received from taxes and other sources), Outlays (money spent), and Deficit/Surplus (the difference between the two) for every year since 1789.
  • Those numbers can be downloaded in Excel here:
  • From 1789 through 2008 total net deficit/surplus, for every president prior to Barack Obama, was  -$5,326,088,000
  • From 2009 through 2012, for Obama, total net deficit/surplus was -$5,332,720,000
  • The total net deficit/surplus under Obama is -$6,632,000 more than all previous presidents combined.

So, where does this amusing piece of propaganda come from? There are many tortured statistical falsehoods used but my favorites are:

  • You can’t count Obama’s Stimulus spending because Bush made him do it!
  • You can’t count any military expenditures because Bush made him do it!
  • You can’t count government welfare spending and unemployment spending because Bush made him do it!

How about Bush and Reagan?

  • Deficit under Reagan: $1,491,196,000
  • Deficit under Bush: $2,005,615,000
  • Deficit under Obama: $5,332,720,000

How about spending as a % of receipts (what’s going out vs what’s coming in)?

  • Spending under Reagan: 122%
  • Spending under Bush: 112%
  • Spending under Obama: 159%

It’s worth noting that Reagan was spending during a time GDP was rapidly expanding. Obama is spending during a significant GDP retraction. At this time in Reagan’s presidency, GDP growth was 7.2%. At this time in Obama’s presidency, GDP growth for the second quarter 2012 was 1.3% and 3.1% for the third quarter 2012.

Of all the progressive propaganda this is probably the most egregious.


  1. LA-Crystal · · Reply

    Surprise. A conservative website that doesn’t agree with Obama. As if he can stop a war on a dime. As if nothing should have been done about losing 700,000 jobs in a month when he took office… the banks and economy tanking. A more intellectually honest assessment would have at least addressed those facts. But,no – that would be asking too much. Correlation is not causation, a lesson GOP followers don’t seem to be able to grasp. This benefits those who will take advantage of the weakness.


    1. Every other president had to deal with the effects of previous administrations; so does Obama. And the stimulus was passed by Democrats, engineered by the Obama Administration. Like it or not, Obama owns the deficit.


  2. Anonymous · · Reply

    Last I checked, Obama wasn’t President in 2008


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