President Barack Obama added an additional $7.917 trillion to America’s national debt, which amounts to a 68 percent increase from the $11.657 trillion debt level President George W. Bush accrued by the end of his presidency.
While there are several ways to determine a president’s contribution to the U.S. debt, the most accurate figure is achieved by combining the budget deficits from each fiscal year and adding the total amount to whatever the debt level was at when the last president left office.
For example, when President George W. Bush took office the national debt level was at $5.8 trillion. Bush added $5.849 trillion to the national debt. So when President Obama was sworn in, the national debt level was at $11.657 trillion.
It’s worth noting that the fiscal budget year in Washington D.C. starts on October 1 and ends on September 30. So Bush’s final budget for fiscal year 2009 added a record-setting $1.632 trillion to the national debt.
A breakdown of Obama’s budgets for each fiscal year and the amount they added to the debt comes from an analysis produced by thebalance.com:
FY 2016 – $1.423 trillion.
FY 2015 – $327 billion.
FY 2014 – $1.086 trillion.
FY 2013 – $672 billion.
FY 2012 – $1.276 trillion.
FY 2011 – $1.229 trillion.
FY 2010 – $1.652 trillion.
FY 2009 – $253 billion. (Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act, which spent $253 billion in FY 2009. This rare occurrence should be added to President Obama’s contribution to the debt.)
While he was running for president, Obama criticized President Bush’s deficit spending, calling it “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” Obama said at a presidential campaign event on July 3, 2008:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome. So we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
Obama, with what will be nearly $8 trillion tacked on to the national debt, has added by far more to the U.S. debt than any president in history.