The elite conspiracy to destroy the American welfare state--fronted by the Catfood Commission--continues growing in the midst of an ongoing national crisis that elites themselves were the cause of. And because it keeps growing, with far too little attention paid, I thought it wise to revisit the basica, that is, the question of who caused the exploditing debt. I've dealt with this before in the form of tracing the rise of debt-to-GDP ratios to the takeover of the GOP by supply-side ideology and Reagan Republicanism. Among other things, I produced this chart:
But since that earlier analysis looked at the record in terms of presidential terms, I decided it might be helpful to undertake a more refined analuysis that would look at the record on a year-by-year basis, particularly since we now have a year in which Obama's stewardship has inevitably seen a dramatic increase in the debt, since he inherited by far the worst recession in post-WWII American history. This produced the following chart of the chronological year-to-year changes:
As can be seen, even though the debt has increased dramatically under Obama, the debt-to-GDP ratio has actually increased less than it did under Bush during his last year. This continues the same pattern seen when Kennedy took over for Eisenhower, when Carter took over for Nixon/Ford, and when Clinton took over from Reagan/Bush.
Re-arranging these annual records in rank order, from the largest reduction to the largest increase gives us the following chart:
This chart makes it crystal clear how anomalous this past year has been: It's almost the only year since WWII when a Democratic President has presided over an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. It has happened before, by only by very small amounts: In 1948 and 1994, the debt-to-GDP ratio increased by 0.85%. In 1993, the debt-to-GDP ratio increased by 0.06%, and in 1970, it increased by 0.3%. And that's it: just 4 previous years since WWII under Democratic rule have seen the debt-to-GDP ratio go up. In 23 previous years under Democratic presidents since WWII, the debt-to-GDP ratio has gone down.
Under pre-Reagan Republicans, the debt-to-GDP ratio went down 11 years, while going up 5 years. Not as good as the Democrats, but still, it went down more often than it went up. And from Reagan onward? The record is perfect--perfectly horrible, that is: 20 straight years that Republicans were president in which the debt-to-GDP ratio went up!
So yes, the Democrats under Barack Obama had a bad year by this metric. But if only the Republicans since Reagan had been as responsible as the Republicans before them (we're not asking them for miracles, we're not asking them to be as responsible as Democrats), then this one year--or even several such in a row--could easily be weathered without any alarm at all.