Earlier today, the ever melodramatic president suggested that it is unprecedented for an opposing party in Congress to deny a request for a clean debt ceiling increase. He asserted that “nobody in the past has ever seriously threatened to breach the debt ceiling until the last two years. and this is the credit worthiness of the united states we're talking about.”
Actually, as Sean Davis noted, there have been a number of epic budget battles over the debt ceiling dating back to President Eisenhower. Many of them resulted in some serious concessions by the sitting president. But what is more important is Obama’s amnesia from his own days in the Senate.
The President had few accomplishments in his brief time in the Senate, but one of his most public moments was when he spoke out against President Bush’s request to raise the debt ceiling from $8.184 trillion to $8.965 trillion. He sounded like a tea partier. Here are some of the highlights:
“It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is ‘‘trillion’’ with a ‘‘T.’’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers.” […]
“Our debt also matters internationally. My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just five years.”[…]
“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
Ultimately, Obama not only “threatened to breach” the debt ceiling, he voted against the increase.
Let’s put this in perspective. Obama opposed a debt limit increase from $8.2 to roughly $9 trillion because President Bush increased the debt by $3.5 trillion in 5 years. Well, President Obama increased the debt from $10.6 trillion to $16.7 trillion in less than five years. If increasing the debt from $8.2 trillion “weakens us domestically and internationally,” increasing it from $16.7 trillion would be cataclysmic.
Obama further noted that Bush racked up more foreign-held debt in his first 5 years – over $1 trillion – than all other presidents combined. Well, Obama accumulated roughly $2.5 trillion in foreign-held debt over 5 years – from $3.071 trillion to $5.59 trillion. As for the gross debt, it took from the presidency of George Washington until 2002 to accumulate $6.1 trillion in debt. It’s important to note that roughly 92%, or $5.6 trillion, of that $6.1 trillion increase is comprised of the public debt, not the so-called intra-governmental debt from Social Security (the money we ‘owe ourselves’). It took from 1789 until September 2008 for us to accumulate $5.6 trillion in public debt.
President Obama should be ashamed of his hypocrisy.