Why are the republicans against a debt ceiling increase?

Jul 27, 2011 | | 1 comments |

If you believe the current Republican rhetoric, Obama is the root of all evil and nothing he says or wants can be any good for the country. Speaking specifically about the debt, the way Fox News and the other Republican stalwarts are reporting it, you'd think this was the first time in history that the debt ceiling was a problem. They're also plenty happy to point out that the debt has gone up by 40% since Obama took office.

So we need to go back into history a little ways to see the trend here, to shed some light on this hypocrisy. Because that's what it is.

If we look at the Carter era onwards, which is the most relevant to most people now, it looks like this:

Carter - debt went up from $0.698Tr in 1977 to $0.997Tr in 1981. Up 42% in 4 years.

Reagan - debt went up from $0.997Tr in 1981 to $2.857Tr in 1989. Up 186% in 8 years. Debt ceiling increased 6 times: February 1981, June 1982, November 1983, October 1984, August 1986, July 1987.

Bush Snr - debt went up from $2.857Tr in 1989 to $4.411Tr in 1993. Up 54% in 4 years. Debt ceiling increased 3 times: August 1989, October 1990 (twice, once on the 2nd, once on the 25th).

Clinton - debt went up from $4.411Tr in 1993 to $5.807Tr in 2001. Up 32% in 8 years. Debt ceiling increased 2 times: April 1993, March 1996.

Bush Jnr - debt went up from $5.807Tr in 2001 to $11.909Tr in 2009. Up 105% in 8 years. Debt ceiling increased 7 times: June 2002, May 2003, November 2004, March 2006, September 2007, July 2008, October 2008.

Obama - debt is going up by about the same rate as Reagan and both Bush's, on target for between 80% and 100% in 8 years. Debt ceiling increase voted down 3 times so far in February 2009, December 2009, February 2010.

It's interesting to see that the Republicans unanimously voted in favour of all the debt ceiling increases from 1997 to 2008 (http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/2295-A-Brief-History-of-Debt-Limit-Votes-in-the-House). Actually, when you go looking, they've been pretty much in favour of it all the time, right up to 2008. Historically, the debt has risen at a greater rate when the GOP has been in power.

So why are they now so against it? Is it because the President is Black?

So next time a Republican starts spouting off about this topic, there's some facts for you. You can go and check them yourselves - they're all available on the various Fed websites and publications if you care to go looking. Of course most Republicans would rather just spout nonsense and screw the actual facts (Glenn Beck, are you listening?)