President Reagan was sworn into office on Jan. 20, 1981 and left office eight years later on Jan. 20, 1989. At the end of fiscal 1980, four months before Reagan was inaugurated, the federal debt held by the public was $711.9 billion, according to CBO. At the end of fiscal 1989, eight months after Reagan left office, the federal debt held by the public was $2.1907 trillion. That means that in the nine-fiscal-year period of 1980-89–which included all of Reagan’s eight years in office–the federal debt held by the public increased $1.4788 trillion. That is in excess of a trillion dollars less than the $2.5260 increase in the debt held by the public during Obama’s first 19 months.
When President Barack Obama took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009, the total federal debt held by the public stood at 6.3073 trillion, according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department. As of Aug. 20, 2010, after the first nineteen months of President Obama’s 48-month term, the total federal debt held by the public had grown to a total of $8.8333 trillion, an increase of $2.5260 trillion.
In just the last four months (May through August), according to the CBO, the Obama administration has run cumulative deficits of $464 billion, more than the $458 billion deficit the Bush administration ran through the entirety of fiscal 2008.
What more can I possibly add to this? I mean, the numbers speak for themselves.
I don’t know — maybe today, once I come out of that Metro station near the Capitol building this afternoon, I’ll suddenly have some sort of twisted epiphany and be able to wrap my head around numbers like this. Otherwise, I don’t understand it. At this point, when we’re dealing with a total federal debt held by the public of $8.8333 trillion (that’s 8.8333 million million dollars, for those counting at home), it just isn’t real anymore.
Just to make you physically ill, take a look at this little demonstrative item sent over to me by new AR contributor Adam Baldwin: What Does One TRILLION Dollars Look Like? Adam actually suggested that, instead of continuing to write “one trillion dollars,” we begin writing out the number as “one thousand billion dollars.” I think we should take it a little further, and use “one million million dollars.”
Any way you look at it, though, and when you consider that the amount of debt incurred by this federal government is in the multiple trillions of dollars, it’s enough to make you wish that you, too, had air sickness bags in the seatback in front of you as I have now.