When Mr. Bush took office, he inherited a federal budget that had been balanced for three consecutive years and a surplus of $236 billion, the largest surplus in American history. Even sweeter, we were running an on-budget surplus no longer diverting surplus from the Social Security Trust Fund to fund other government programs.
This conservative largess, of course, came from the previous Democratic administration. The national debt was $5.727 trillion when Bush took office. By September 2008, the national debt had soared to more than $9.849 trillion, an almost 72 percent increase during Mr. Bush’s two terms.
And those are the debt figures before the basically unregulated, free-for-all banking and financial system received Mr. Bush's $700 billion Wall Street bailout money leaving the biggest increase in the national debt under any president in U.S history as a going away present to the American people.
Mr. Bush must have erased the collective memory of his record national debt from the minds of the Grand Old Party. And the troublesome new gang of hometown heroes elected to office who are trying to operate like some kind of hostage-taking Tea Party Taliban have tried to shut down the government by refusing to approve extension of the Federal Debt Ceiling limit.
Most all of these Republicans who rant about "out of control national debt" having no real idea what a debt ceiling is and certainly no idea of how most of those trillions of bucks in debt got racked up . . . on the GOP watch.
So for our seasoned Republican pols like Speaker Boehner, and especially for the Koch Brothers' shiny new members of Congress, here's a quick review:
Shortly after taking office, President Bush spoke to the the Republican Congressional Retreat in Williamsburg and blithely declared that his budget would “pay down the national debt."
President Bush raised the national debt limit eight times during his administration with no notable opposition. Certainly no attempts to take the country hostage on any of the eight occasions when the debt ceiling was raised as a routine act national fiscal procedure.
1. On July 30, 2008 President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, which contained a quiet little provision raising the debt ceiling to $10.615 trillion.
2. One week before leaving office, Bush asked Congress for the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion Wall Street Troubled Assets Relief Program or TARP bailout package.
3. That same last week, Bush signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 raising the national debt ceiling for the eighth time to $12.104 trillion to accommodate the $11.3 trillion all time record debt he left the incoming administration.
4. George W. Bush's $11.3 trillion record debt has cost more than $37,000 each for every man, woman and child in the United States. The cost of cleaning up up after the huge GOP approved debt and near deep depression thus caused has been dealt with by the reasoned leadership of President Obama ... in spite of being stonewalled at every turn by Sen. Mitch McConnell and the entire Republican party.
5, And we aren't even factoring in cost of the Bush/ Cheney unfunded, off the books, decade long wars.
I have found it both bewildering and angering when Republican conservatives, now salted with Tea Party Jabberwockies all lambaste President Obama for the present state of indebtedness as if it was all his fault.
Republicans are ordered to pass these Cliff's Notes around especially to the petulant Tea Party clog.
There will be an exam ... early next year.
( the referenced figures in this piece are all public record, mostly from the Congressional Budget Office ... Graphic above with apologies to Cliffs Notes - Larry )