A look at the national debt by president

What is the national debt?

It is the difference between the money collected — generally fees and taxes — and the money spent. The last time we had no debt was in 1835. Most economist feel zero U.S. debt would cause a global financial meltdown.

In comparing the budget deficit to the total debt, the presidents with the highest percentage increase were Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1,050%) fighting the Great Depression and World War II; Woodrow Wilson (724%) fighting World War I; Ronald Reagan (18.6%); George W. Bush (101%); Barack Obama (74%) fighting the Great Recession; George H.W. Bush (54%); Gerald Ford (47%); Jimmy Carter (43%); Richard Nixon (34%); and Donald Trump (33%). I notice that four Democrats and six Republicans make the top 10. I also note that debt will substantially increase in times of world wars and extreme Depression or Recession, as happened in the terms of FDR, Obama and Wilson. It should also be noted that FDR served for 12 years, George H.W. Bush and Donald Trump only served for four years.

The last point is the Republican economic idea was trickle down — giving money through low taxes and lots of exemptions to wealth and hoping that grows the economy so the middle and working classes have more taxable money through income and sales taxes. A good example is the last Trump tax bill that gave most of the tax breaks to corporation, LLCs and people able to manipulate the code, adding $6.7 trillion in four years to the debt.


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