On Tuesday, I showed a chart of National Debt by President. Several readers said a more informative chart would include control of Congress.

Enter Doug Short — he directed me towards that exact chart — including party control of Congress.

My only disagreement with Doug is he blames “spending.” I think that is half right — anything that is unfunded — spending, tax cuts, wars, entitlements — should be blamed for the Debt. You can allocate government revenues however you like — but allocating for any usage beyond revenues is how you create debt.

Regardless, the chart is quite fascinating:

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Category: Credit, Politics, Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

89 Responses to “Federal Debt as a % of GDP”

  1. Patrick Neid says:

    The chicken and egg continues.

  2. ubnutsagain says:

    A much more informative and balanced presentation … thank you.

  3. DL says:

    Debt in the 1940′s was a very different animal than debt now.

  4. Byno says:

    More informative? So, when Dems raised taxes in and lost the ’94 elections Republicans should get credit for the 90;’s? Or when sissy Dems let Reagan run rough-shod over them in the 80′s it was actually congress driving those incredible deficits?

    Added noise.

  5. Democrats sure know how to goose spending don’t they? It seems all the sharpest spikes belong to them or a mixed house. It looks like the GOP lost its way after 2000 when the limorepublicans took charge of the checkbook. That may all change this year. As a matter of fact I’m positive it will

  6. call me ahab says:

    wow-

    it’s like deju all over again-

    man- this chart do look familiar

  7. call me ahab says:

    that is . . . deja vu all over again

  8. TheAntipodean says:

    So, both Democrats and Republicans are wasteful, spendthrift, lying, cheating, stealing fools? Power corrupts…

  9. Mannwich says:

    @The Antipodean: This is what happens when the public accepts (actually, demands) being lied to on order to make them feel good. That’s what this is all about. Who do Dems and Republicans supposedly represent? They pretend to tell the truth and we pretend to believe them because it takes us off (and makes us feel better) for our own responsibility for holding them and ourselves accountable for this mess. It’s always someone else’s fault. Everyone likes and feels justified for THEIR free lunch but not the other guy getting one.

  10. mgkurilla says:

    Most interesting is pre-FED, during the Panic of 1901 (that was stock market crash) as well as the Panic of 1907 (which was a financial crisis, not unlike 2008), neither event resulted in much of increase in debt/GDP.

  11. inessence says:

    Goddamn-this is one tired topic.

  12. Mannwich says:

    @inessence: LOL. Kind of like the Fannie/Freddie/CRA “debate”. Exhausted. ;-)

  13. davossherman@gmail.com says:

    Come on Barry: They didn’t have off balance sheet unfunded liabilities in the 1930′s. Please update it so we aren’t looking at apples to oranges. Many thanks!!!

  14. call me ahab says:

    I am wondering though-

    why don’t we jack that debt up parabolic and see what happens-

    send checks to every adult- let’s assume 150 million folks- $20,000 per-

    so let’s see- that’s three trillion? but- the stimulative effect- c’mon-

    that’s uber Keynesianism- ( and as BR says- we’re all Keynesians now)- beating down deflationary forces-

    let’s unleash hell on this recession and show it who’s boss :D

  15. cswake says:

    Both parties are to blame – the Congress has the power of the purse.

  16. The Curmudgeon says:

    Watch how that line climbs in the next few years as the economy stagnates or declines, while federal debt becomes the only thing we are resolutely capable of growing.

  17. thumbcharts says:

    One perspective is that democrats tend to get voted into office after an overly laissez-faire economic/market binge requires expensive social programs to stem unemployment and bail out failed banks. i.e. the 20s – 30s, the 80s to 90s and the 00s to the present. The economy is a pretty big boat and takes a long time to change course. If one administration passes programs (be they social programs or tax cuts) that reduce revenue and increase debt load, it can take a decade for the bulk of the new programs to kick in.

    In the case of the new health care bill, if a republican president wins the next election, this chart would show his administration being responsible for the bulk of the additional spending since the entire health care plan doesn’t fully kick in until 2014.

    On the topic of debt, you folks might appreciate this series of six charts looking at total U.S. debt from several different angles:

    http://www.thumbcharts.com/series/debt-statistics

  18. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    The truth is we are all to blame. Who among us did not like having to worry less about recessions the past thirty years? We need to find a system that lets markets find prices, but yet still makes sure no one goes hungry or without shelter. Those who seek riches can, and those that seek philosophy, art, etc., would have the time to persue their wishes. Seems pretty easy to do, doesn’t it? Why haven’t we gotten there yet? Those who would choose sloth, need to ask for much, much less from the system.

  19. JamesR says:

    “You know, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” – Richard Bruce Cheney

  20. scharfy says:

    Man Republicans are evil. I mean I hate Democrats. I mean If only Bush wouldn’t have cheated in 2004 we would be ok. Thank God for Obama. Sarah Palin has low SAT scores. Obama’s not a citizen. 9/11 was an inside job.

    Pfffffffttttttt….

  21. seana0325 says:

    Any chance you guys could give some volume %’s down here. At work, and no chance to go home for lunch today.

  22. Mannwich says:

    Exactly my point, Justin. Collectively as a nation and culture, we all feasted on the free lunch(es) together.

  23. Mannwich says:

    @JamesR: You mean they don’t matter to Cheney and HIS ilk. They, after all, will be fine no matter what happens.

  24. Thor says:

    sena – the market is down 2.74% at the moment

  25. James says:

    Watch how that line climbs in the next few years as the economy stagnates or declines, while federal debt becomes the only thing we are resolutely capable of growing.

    —-

    Very interesting point. If we have a double dip or the economy doesn’t improve from here – not a high risk bet in view of developments in Europe and the jobs data here – those growth assumptions in the CBO and OMB projections could be optimistic, meaning the deficit (debt)/GDP ratios are low. In addition, if the economy falters between now and November there’s going to a call for additional stimulus funding, creating an election brouhaha over the additional debt.

  26. Thor says:

    that would be the dow Sena – S&P is off 3.17 and the nasdaq 3.5

  27. HEHEHE says:

    “You know, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” – Richard Bruce Cheney

    Yet another dangerous idea from another dangerously stupid man.

    End of day, you see from the chart there is no difference between Republicans/Democrats. The gameplan is to increase spending and cut taxes to creating a false economy all the while shipping jobs overseas in the name of “globalization”. The consequences are the ongoing destruction of the US middle-class and rampant inflation down the road. It’s no sweat for the vested interests served by the Republican/Democrats as inflation doesn’t hurt the wealthy nearly as much as deflation. In ten-twenty years you’ll be looking at a country you won’t even recognize.

  28. call me ahab says:

    “The truth is we are all to blame.”

    speak for youself- I’m innocent

  29. inessence says:

    @ahab…I am faultless as well.
    I voted for Ross “Giant Sucking Sound” Perot

  30. basquebob says:

    Someday someone is going to be right.

  31. franklin411 says:

    Hmm…I wonder what happened in 1917 and 1941 that caused the Democrats to spend like drunken sailors?

    Hmm…Surely it was some massive welfare program.

  32. The Curmudgeon says:

    franklin411

    you know, you seem to be a fairly bright young man, but how in the world you’ve come to believe that Democrats=Good; Republicans=Evil is beyond me.

    What a waste of an intellect, to be a shill for a bunch of liars and thieves. And I would say the same about you if you shilled for the Republicans.

    Grow the fuck up. The demarcation line between good and evil in the world is not so conveniently drawn.

  33. Mannwich says:

    Here, here, Curm. Had the very same thought but not the energy to post it.

  34. R. Cain says:

    these charts are simplistic, and grossly misleading

    • the total US fed gov debt – in actual greenbacks – has been steadily INCREASING for decades
    (with the exception of the odd budget surplus, e.g. end of Clinton)

    • this is the result of persistent annual budget DEFICITS, which really took off in the 1980s

    • there is a definite time lag between deficit spending, and its effect on GDP

    • a comparison of annual budget DEFICITS, and their (lagged) effect on GDP, would be much better

    • a PROPER analysis suggesting the performance of various Presidents/Congress would be a hec of a lot more complicated than this silliness

    annual US budget deficit in $ (1980 – present)
    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1980_2015&view=1&expand=&units=b&fy=fy11&chart=G0-fed&bar=1&stack=1&size=l&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

    total US fed gov debt in $ (1968 – present)
    http://www.forecast-chart.com/graph-national-debt.html

  35. Hit the Reset button says:

    Facinating indeed, the only other thing I would like to see overlaid on that chart is actual GDP

  36. nemo says:

    Ever since I was a kid — a very long time ago — I’ve been hearing Republicans claiming that FDR’s New Deal didn’t end the Great Depression, WWII ended it. They’re right, but it doesn’t prove what they like to think it proves.

    Even back in the 1960s I’d hear Republicans say that in a stupidly triumphant tone, as if it somehow proves that massive Keynesian stimulus spending by the government during a depression doesn’t work. All it really proves is that FDR didn’t spend nearly enough on stimulus until WWII gave him the political cover he needed.

    Look at this chart at the end of the Hoover administration (a big upswing in debt, probably mostly because of falling revenues) and then during the Roosevelt administration during the New Deal before Pearl Harbor (debt level is mostly flat, probably in part because the GDP improved slowly during the New Deal era).

  37. inessence says:

    Damn it Curm don’t be so hard on frankie. If you think about it we are all shills for this this steamroller called consumerism…that is unless you live in a cave, drag your knuckles, and eat without a napkin.

  38. call me ahab says:

    inessence-

    Ross Perot- wow- that was a while ago-

    I voted for him too- even though he seemed a bit kooky at times- cost Bush (I) the election I think- but Clinton didn’t turn out too bad-

    I think that giant sucking sound happened as predicted however

  39. Kort says:

    All this chart tells me is that since ~1930, we’ve had mostly a Democrat-controlled Congress and since 1968, it’s been mostly Republican Presidents. With luck, in the next 100 years, we’ll have less of both.

  40. inessence says:

    @ahab…still happenin’ brother…

  41. Mannwich says:

    My Dad voted for Perot too. I ridiculed him for it at the time. Maybe dear old Dad was right but something tells me old Ross would have been a disaster in other ways in that job. In hindsight, Clinton looks pretty damn good to me, although he was the clear beneficiary of the fake dot.com bubble.

  42. inessence says:

    @manny…Clinton also the beneficiary of monica…

  43. grcvegas says:

    To furthur complicate–I’ve seen a few studies (sorry, can’t find links now) that show the debt, in peacetime, declines most when the congress and presidency is split between the two parties.

    And there’s a big difference between unfunded wars, and unfunded entitlements. The wars are temporary, the entitlements just seem to balloon onwards and upwards forever….

  44. nemo says:

    Another thing I find fascinating in this chart is how debt as a percentage of GDP continued to fall during the Johnson administration, even though LBJ (with the help of Congress, of course) was spending like a drunken sailor on both guns and butter. Probably because GDP was growing even faster than Federal spending.

    Keep in mind that the swing see you see in this chart are not caused not just by changes in the numerator (Federal debt), but also in the denominator (GDP).

    Man, it took a long time for Federal debt as percentage of GDP to recover from WWII. Over 30 years from 1945 into the Ford administration. Of course, if your standard for comparison is the minimalistic pre-Wilson Federal government, it never recovered.

  45. call me ahab says:

    “Clinton also the beneficiary of monica . . .”

    talk about giant sucking sound-

    LOL

  46. inessence says:

    @ ahab…indeed!

  47. Denis says:

    Imo, a more interesting graph would show Fed debt/GDP, total debt/GDP, and GDP growth on the same graph; a separate graph could be made with the same adjusted for inflation. Trying to give credit or blame on this or that part of the political spectrum is ludicrous.

  48. riverrat says:

    HEHEHE: “… The gameplan is to increase spending and cut taxes to creating a false economy all the while shipping jobs overseas in the name of “globalization”. The consequences are the ongoing destruction of the US middle-class and rampant inflation down the road. ”

    The Democrats have been complicit in these trends, to be sure. But the Republicans bear much more responsibility.

    I’m a Democrat (obviously) and believe that taxation to collectively address shared needs of all citizens (e.g. education, healthcare, social security) is more efficient and equitable than hoping for “free” market solutions. But I agree that the role of public vs private approaches is a debate worth having- this is the core difference between the parties. Through history, debating it in the context of the matters at hand used to keep both parties somewhat more “honest”.

    But the Republicans more recently have been loathe to let their proposals play out- they and their compliant media mouthpieces have the populace whipped into a frenzy about taxes, but we haven’t really tested whether the general public is actually willing to accept cuts in services necessary to bring spending for them in line with reduced tax revenues.

    The most recent example is tea-partying seniors railing against “socialization” and “government takeover” of medical care while at the same time resisting any cuts to Medicare. Under Bush, Republicans controlled all three branches of gov’t for 6 years and the presidency for 8- a golden opportunity to stiff-arm the Democrats and test whether the general public really wanted reduced social spending in exchange for all the tax cuts. But they were too disingenuous (or chicken) to actually walk this talk. Easier to just cut taxes, blow up the deficit and kick the can down the road. It was essentially a replay of the Reagan years, only to a much greater degree and without the excuse of a Democrat-controlled Congress. Clinton was able to help dig us out of the Reagan hole, it remains to be seen if Obama can pull this off again. The challenges are much greater this time around.

    Like most Democrats I understand this markets have their place (it is the best economic system going, by far) and most Republicans admit there is a role for government programs and oversight. The honest debate is the proper public-private balance and how to keep government income in line with “out-go”. For all their faults- and there are many- the Democrats have been more willing than Republicans to have an honest discussion with their constituents about these realities, and what tax cuts or increases actually entail for our country, now and in the future.

  49. The Curmudgeon says:

    For all you pessimists/Republicans out there that need data to back up your denigration of America–all you people that actually wish to see America fail now that Democrats rule it all, well here’s a little news that will warm your cold, reptilian hearts:

    May 20 (Bloomberg) — The index of U.S. leading economic indicators unexpectedly declined in April, a sign the economic expansion may cool in the second half of the year.

    The 0.1 percent decrease in the New York-based Conference Board’s measure of the outlook for three to six months marked the first drop in a year and followed a revised 1.3 percent gain in March. Other reports showed more Americans filed for jobless benefits and manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aWZ_6BUyJqPU&pos=2

    ~I can almost hear the crocodile tears dripping down your scaley faces.

  50. DeDude says:

    As long as there is a national debt there is no justification for tax-cuts. Unfortunately in this idiocracy it is very difficult to get politicians to vote against them. People love to ignore the fact that whatever you indulge yourself with (individually or collectively) has to be paid for.

    A separate chart with (actual) spending as a % of GDP would also be nice to see. Last time I saw one of those it appeared to drive a stake through the stupid assumption of Dems as the big spenders.

    Mannwich, Curmodgeon, let me just point out that Franklin is simply stating the obvious that increases in budget deficits has to be evaluated in the context of why. There are certain situations where they are justified (such as needing to save the nations) and other where they are not (such as needing to pay back campaign contributors with some big fat tax-cuts for the rich). Sometimes it almost seems like you guys have been stupid enough to buy in to the old tired right wing BS of “Dems and Reps are equally bad so why don’t you vote for the party that will cut your taxes”. The reason we have as high a debt as we have is that enough idiots bought into that BS and gave the neocons the power to rob the treasure and our future. None of the parties are perfect, but the record is clear as to who is consistently serving the rich at the expense of everybody else and the future of the country. Just look at who is currently blocking financial reform under some lame excuses that couldn’t get past a fifth grader.

  51. @ahab

    send checks to every adult- let’s assume 150 million folks- $20,000 per-

    so let’s see- that’s three trillion? but- the stimulative effect- c’mon-

    They would but they are afraid that enough people would save and invest it wisely. A few million people like that and they take over the country economically. How can clown investing compete with sound investing ;)

    @Justin

    Don’t blame me and people like me. I just spent the last 13 years preaching on the net the danger of the government’s profligate ways to anyone that would listen and learn. I was part of the vanguard turning scores of people’s mindsets around. I’ve also sacrificed and suffered financially by swearing off debt forever (hopefully) unless abject emergency strikes.

    Don’t point the finger at me bud

    @inessence Says: May 20th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I eat with a napkin!

    but something tells me old Ross would have been a disaster in other ways in that job.

    They would have gotten to him too

  52. inessence says:

    Forget the party labeling, once they all get into the good ol’ boys/girls club med known as Washington politicos they become infected with the absolution of power, and that power is derived from spending other peoples money. Dems/Repubs argument is trivial.

  53. rktbrkr says:

    Time for more stimuli, maybe another census, all door-to-door personal interviews? That should keep a couple million busy for a while

    May 20 (Bloomberg) — The index of U.S. leading economic indicators unexpectedly declined in April, a sign the economic expansion may cool in the second half of the year.

  54. The Curmudgeon says:

    Oh, Dedude, please. I can choose to observe that your guys are just as big a fraud as the Republicans are w/out buying into any bullshit about tax cuts for the rich.

    Politicians are liars and thieves. Whatever flavor you buy them in. It is the reason that we the people need to learn to live without them so far as is possible.

  55. Dogfish says:

    Politicians, and bankers.

  56. call me ahab says:

    dedude-

    you keep singing and dancing the same old tune . . .as if anyone doesn’t know the exact drivel you’re going to say before you say it-

    droning on and on and on and on. . . .

    put me to sleep already

  57. EAR says:

    Like many statistics, this proves whatever it does to whomever needs to prove something.

    Especially now. When/if there are severe consequences wherever this chart leads, I hope most of us drop trying to prove who is worse for America. Unless you profit from it, it is the opposite of productive.

  58. davecjohnson says:

    “Control?”

    While Democrats “controlled” Congress in the early 80s it was Republicans along with a few Dems (some of whom then changed party like Phil Gramm) who passed Reagan’s tax cuts.

    So did Dems “control” that?

  59. davecjohnson says:

    nemo: “LBJ (with the help of Congress, of course) was spending like a drunken sailor on both guns and butter”

    LBJ and Congress balanced the budget. Try again.

  60. kstills says:

    De dude,

    I don’t have a lot of money, but I learned long ago that most Democrats are lying, two faced bastards. For proof, see Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans etc etc.

    I’ve learned recently that most Republicans are lying, two faced bastards. For proof, see Iraq, 2001-2008, etc etc…

    Please spare us the ‘one party is for the little guy, one party is out for the rich’ bullshit. Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Harry Reid…all folks up from the masses, right?

    The sooner you pull your partisan head out of your partisan butt and help us to change the status quo (which is each party getting it’s ‘base’ to attack the other ‘base’ while the party elites laugh at them) the sooner this crap will end.

  61. call me ahab says:

    davecjohnson-

    selective memory obviously-

    LBJ being the one who “privatized” Fannie Mae to get it off the government’s books- I am sure that helped make the books look a bit better-

    but in the end- who gives a shit- it’s old news-

    big mean Reagan and his big mean tax cuts- yaawwwnnnn- I’m sleepy now

  62. gordo365 says:

    Alternative view is generational. Baby boomers can’t balance a budget??

  63. DeDude says:

    “Politicians are liars and thieves. Whatever flavor you buy them in”

    That is the simplistic BS that Fox and company is feeding the peeps. Yes they all say what will get them elected (cause if they don’t they are no longer elected). But what really counts is what they do – what specific legislation and amendments do they vote for or against. When you look at that then there is a lot of difference between the parties and within the parties (I am no fan of blue dog democrats). But that would take some actual thinking and effort – oh I forgot, this is America, lets just repeat some smart sounding talking point that the guy on Fox news spewed at us.

    “you keep singing and dancing the same old tune”

    Now that was a brand new and original tune from you ;-) that we never heard before. I guess if the other guy says something that is so correct and irrefutably supported by facts and common sense – then just call it “the same old tune” to try making it not true (hey it works for Fox, why would it not “work” for ahab).

  64. DeDude says:

    Kstills;

    Read the actual legislation and the amendments offered by each party to each piece of legislation and look at who votes for and against what. That will tell you exactly who is being served by what politician and what party is mostly fighting for or against the little guys. Yes there are no politician with a perfect record and all of them have had to accept the fact that nothing gets done without compromise. But any dum-ass can figure out that there are differences between individual politicians and between parties with respect to what they are doing and who’s interest they are fighting for- it just takes a little effort.

    Oh- sh!t I sayid the bad word again EFFORT. This is America lets just have the corporate media stick our dumb heads up our dumb asses and repeat some stupid little media jingle about them all being “lying, two faced bastards, bah bah buh-ha”. At least that gets you an applause from the other brainless clowns (and then you have a good excuse for not getting involved in politics and having to actually work for making this a better society).

  65. willid3 says:

    i wonder how the chart looks if you add things like recessions, depression and wars?

  66. R. Cain says:

    this Debt/GDP thing is only ONE indicator of a country’s economic health

    but it suits the lazy Myopic Moron Media

    to the extent that GDP includes gov spending – including DEFICIT spending – economic ratios based on GDP – in isolation – have dubious value

    assuming tax compliance, and reasonable fiscal management, i still maintain the best singular measure of a country’s economic health is the REAL unemployment rate

  67. Casual Onlooker says:

    Note to self: Enjoy the blog, need to stop reading the comments. (off to check my blood pressure)

  68. rj says:

    So the country’s finances are ran best historically when the President’s a Democrat and the Republicans run Congress.

  69. Lariat1 says:

    EFFORT…. exactly. start at the local level. How many people show up for their town board meetings, faithfully, not just when they are pissed about something. who chooses to run for their local town board? We Americans, as a whole are lazy. The government this, the government that we bitch, but we are the government. Get involved. Even go to your local library board meeting. Start somewhere and do something.

  70. Livermore Shimervore says:

    I would love to see a chart that tracks debt to tax ratios.
    The debacle of the Bush Cheney era had the lowest tax rates…and the highest debt levels.
    Reagan slashed taxes on the wealthy (later on the poor bastards in 86 thanks to Bill Bradley) and the national debt tripled.
    Seems like simple math. Both Republicans and Democrats spend, spend, spend. Whe Republicans spend and tax no one, nobody really cares how much the govt is spending. Fark it…no skin of mey…I’m not the one paying for it.

    “If HISTORY teaches us anything, its that HISTORY doesn’t teach us anything”.

  71. riverrat says:

    Right on, DeDude.

    The assertion that both parties are the “same” and equally culpable in the economic mess we are in is ludicrous. And its depressing that rather than try to offer some evidence to the contrary, those who believe otherwise just dismiss the argument out of hand.

  72. DeDude says:

    The financial reform bill is a classic example. The drafted bill from the committee was a mixture of things advocated by republicans and by democrats. The GOP criticized it for not being “tough enough” so the Dems said why don’t you offer amendments to make it better- ups (didn’t see that one coming). Reluctantly the GOP puts forth some “tough” amendments, and they actually pass – GOP really stepped in it there but had no way out :-( So now they have to declare that the whole thing is totally flawed and that we need to “start all over again” (remember that one from health care). So all but two of them try to prevent the bill from getting to a vote. You got to be more than regularly retarded if you cannot see through what happened there, and understand who was trying to prevent Wall Street from running amok on the country again.

  73. call me ahab says:

    “if the other guy says something that is so correct and irrefutably supported by facts and common sense – then just call it “the same old tune”‘

    wow- problem is dedude- you’re the only one who thinks that your ideas are “so correct and irrefutably supported”-

    I don’t watch Fox- in fact I don’t watch news at all- but you must watch Fox- because you just said that Fox says “All politicians are liars and thieves” -so tell me who said it and when-

    also- why would Fox say ALL politicians are liars and theives- don’t they favor one party over another?

    and also- I think you misunderstand me- I just think you’re repetitive- which is boring- as if everything needs political spin by dedude.

  74. call me ahab says:

    riverrat-

    rooting for dedude- now that’s funny-

    you go dedude- you tell everyone what’a up- spin it man-

    maybe you two can tag team people and see how fast you can lull them to sleep-

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  75. DeDude says:

    ahab; well if the ideas were not “correct and irrefutable”, why go after the guy not the idea? How hard can it be to refute statements that are not irrefutable. It would actually get a lot more respect with an intelligent audience than the smarmy crap comments. After all the big picture audience is not your average Fox audience.

    “why would Fox say ALL politicians are liars and theives- don’t they favor one party over another?”

    Its part of their “fair and balanced” stick. After half an hour of bashing whatever is democratic policy, they have to come up with some smarmy little remark about how bad “Washington” and “politics” and “politicians” are.

  76. Thomaspin says:

    Chart is missing the biggest stinker of the lot – Herbert Hoover (1929-33)

  77. call me ahab says:

    c’mon dedude-

    admit it- your full of shit (the truth shall set you free)- and I know you must put people to sleep at parties- probably your specialty- anyway-

    dedude says-

    “let me just point out that Franklin is simply stating the obvious that increases in budget deficits has to be evaluated in the context of why”

    hahahahahahaha- dude is this kindergarten? Are you an elementary school teacher- I mean WTF? what kind of condenscending bullshit is that?

    then this-

    “There are certain situations where they are justified (such as needing to save the nations)”

    wow- thanks man- I am learning things (of course what is needed to save a nation is probably not up for debate with you) and I like the way you way you talk down to people so we can better understand

    so let’s evaluate- you’ve said two- but really said nothingat all- right?

    let’s continue-

    “Sometimes it almost seems like you guys have been stupid enough to buy in to the old tired right wing BS of “Dems and Reps are equally bad”

    wow- of course we should just listen to a genius like you- but I don’t know- is that really a right wing talking point- “we’re all equally bad- so vote for us”- just to keep you honest- find it for me- clip, poster, whatever-

    and this-

    “I am no fan of blue dog democrats”

    boy- there is just no way to keep ol’ dedude happy is there- blue dog democrats- what the hell are they good for- might as well be taken out back and shot

    so . . . “irrefutable common sense”- I call shallow nonsense

  78. wisegrowth says:

    The two times that there were a Republican president and republican congress for a number of years together was before the Great Depression and the Great Recession… that is interesting

  79. Pericles says:

    Where is Hoover? Of course Wilson FDR and the Bushes had war. What was Reagan’s excuse?

  80. NormanB says:

    Since the House of Representives by the Constiution is the body that the budget must begin with then this graph would be better if it was segmented by which party is the HoR majority. For instance, anyone who thinks that Bill Clinton had anything to do with the surpluses is nuts. The GOP took over the House in 1994 and the dot-com boom provided extra revenues from stock profits and optiions being exercised.

  81. subscriptionblocker says:

    I get it (adapting to the times) ! Once we get ourselves into trouble by assuming too many obligations – we whine and cry while expecting “others” to pay the tab?

    Show me where this hasn’t worked.

  82. Debt/GDP is a useless ratio, signifying nothing. See: http://rodgermmitchell.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/federal-debtgdp-a-useless-ratio/

    By the way, the lowest ratio since the Depression came during the Carter administration. The Depression ratio was lower. Need I say more?

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

  83. DeDude says:

    ahab; sorry if I am out of your league, I will try to dumb down next time ;-)

  84. socaljoe says:

    Most of the debt is off balance sheet… GSE, Social Security, Medicare. The chart would look much different if all debt were shown.

  85. socaljoe says:

    In a debt based monetary system, total debt (private+corporate+public) must grow exponentially (net of defaults). When the private and/or corporate sector is not borrowing, the public sector must increase borrowing to prevent debt collapse. If debt (ie: money) does not grow exponentially, there would not be enough money in the system to service existing debt and pay off maturing debt. It is not a problem of democrats vs. republicans… it is inherent in our debt based monetary system. Please stop arguing over which political party is to blame… the parties are a construct of the political/banking establishment to keep the citizens fighting among themselves so their anger is distracted from the true source of our problems and to fool the public into thinking they actually have a choice in their destiny.

  86. And, if we stopped federal borrowing, and merely created money, there would be no federal debt to service.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

  87. socaljoe says:

    If we stopped federal borrowing, the banks would not collect interest on money created out thin air and incumbent politicians would not receive donations from the banking industry… therefore, it will never happen.

  88. sparrowsfall says:

    I tried to sort out that president versus house versus senate bit for spending, revenues, and debt. Some of the results are unsurprising, others are otherwise…

    http://www.asymptosis.com/congress-presidents-spending-taxes-debt-gdp.html

  89. [...] Source: Barry Riholtz and Dshort.com [...]