National debt growth under every president, from Richard Nixon to Joe Biden
United States the national debt has exceeded 31 trillion dollars this week and will swell further as federal government spending continues to accelerate with interest paid on the balance.
American leaders have been on a spending spree for decades under Democratic and Republican administrations, and not since Republican President Calvin Coolidge, who left the White House in 1929, a US president reduced the national debt during his mandate, according to an analysis by sound dollar.
The executive and legislative branches have a say in spending: the president submits a draft budget each year to Congress, which ultimately holds the power of the purse.
With that in mind, Sound Dollar has adjusted the numbers to account for the fact that in a president’s first year in office, they operate on a budget inherited from their predecessor.
The national debt jumped significantly for the time under GOP Chairman Richard Nixon, who racked up $121.3 billion – nearly three times the debt of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson – before stepping down in his second term in 1974. A few years earlier in 1971, Nixon famously took over the United States off the gold standard.
Since then, the debt has continued to increase.
After Nixon, Republican Gerald Ford was able to add another $223.8 billion to the debt in just three years in office during a period of stagflation. Democrat Jimmy Carter added $299 million during his recession-ridden term alone.
Ronald Reagan was the first president to push debt accumulation into the trillions, contributing $1.86 trillion to what the United States owed during his tenure from 1981 to 1989. The Republican implemented reductions taxes as part of a plan to pull the economy out of recession and bolster the military. pass during his tenure.
Fellow Republican George H.W. Bush nearly matched the amount of debt accumulated under Reagan, but did so in a single term, adding another $1.4 trillion during his presidency, in part due to state involvement United in the first Gulf War.
National debt growth subsequently slowed during the two terms of Democratic President Bill Clinton, who worked with a GOP-controlled House of Representatives to balance the budget. But the debt rose another $1.4 trillion by the time Clinton left office in 2001.
However, spending rose again under GOP Chairman George W. Bush when another $6.1 trillion was added to the debt from 2001 to 2009. Bush was president during the terrorist attacks on the United States September 11, 2001, which led to the American war in Afghanistan which lasted 20 years. The United States also launched the Iraq War under Bush in 2008, and Congress passed a $700 billion bank bailout during his tenure in response to the 2008 financial crash.
After George W. Bush, Democratic President Barack Obama added an additional $8.34 trillion during his time in the White House from 2009 to 2017. Under the Obama administration, Congress implemented some tax breaks proposed by the President and also passed his insurance reform illness “Obamacare”, the Affordable Care Act.
Republican President Donald Trump added almost as much national debt in his four years in office as Obama in eight, posting an additional $8.2 trillion. Trump has dramatically increased the defense budget under his watch and cut taxes, but much of the debt incurred is due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when Congress passed trillions in relief spending to fight against the virus.
President Joe Biden also introduced a record military budget last year, and the Democratic-controlled Congress additionally passed his US Bailout Act aimed at providing additional pandemic relief. Less than two years after taking office, Biden has so far added $1.84 trillion to the national debt.