There’s a graphic making its way across the Internet purporting to show that Reagan’s deficits were bigger than Obamas.
Actually, I can’t tell what the graphic is trying to portray because the resolution is so lousy but it seems to imply that Reagan grew the deficit more than Obama.
Let’s use the White House OMB numbers to tell the truth here.
If you have Microsoft Excel you can follow along!
- 1) Search for OMB on Google.
- 2) Click on Historical Tables under the sub menus there
- 3) Go down to Table 1.3—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-) in Current Dollars, Constant (FY 2005) Dollars, and as Percentages of GDP: 1940–2016
- 4) Open the XLS file in Excel
- 5) Go to the bottom of the table and give yourself some space
- 6) Type in the following row labels: Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, Obama. Put these labels as columns: Deficits, Average/yr, It should look like this:
Deficit Average / yr Reagan Bush 41 Clinton Bush 43 Obama
- 7) Next type this code at the intersection of Reagan and Deficit: =SUM(G47:G54)
(this should account for the years 1981-1988 – the years Reagan was in office. Notice we’re using column “G” which converts all the numbers to 2005 dollars)
- 8 ) For Bush 41: =SUM(G55:G58)
- 9) For Clinton: =SUM(G59:G66)
- 10) For Bush 43: =SUM(G67:G74)
- 11) For Obama: =SUM(G75:G77)
(we’ll use 2009-2011 for our purposes here)
- 12) You table should look like this:
Deficit Average / yr Reagan $(2,338.90) Bush41 $(1,319.60) Clinton $(459.40) Bush43 $(1,985.10) Obama $(3,861.10)
- 13) You should be able to figure out the Average per year column. For example: for Reagan you would divide by 8. Final results:
Deficit Average / yr Reagan $(2,338.90) $(292.36) Bush41 $(1,319.60) $(329.90) Clinton $(459.40) $(57.43) Bush43 $(1,985.10) $(248.14) Obama $(3,861.10) $(1,287.03)
Enough said. Obama is by far the biggest debt giver here.
Here’s a chart showing Receipts, Outlays and Deficits from a previous article I wrote.