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Issue Position: Understanding and Reducing National Debt

Issue Position

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It is only common sense and proper accounting that money spent and unaccounted for by the Bush administration is attributable to the party that spent it. David Stockman, Reagan's own budget director, said in a NY Times commentary, "This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party's embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts."

There has been a huge surge in National Debt in the last 11 years to the current $15.4 trillion. Republicans reckon that President Obama has been the main source of the increase while Democrats lay the blame on President G. W. Bush. Here are some facts:

The Bush Administration did not count the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars in their bookkeeping. These expenditures were kept "off record".
The Obama administration properly put these two wars "on the books". Politically this opened the door for unjust criticism.
The 2001 and 2003 Bush Tax Cuts were unfunded and unaccounted for, adding $1 trillion to the national debt.
The deficit for fiscal year 2009- which began more than 3 months before President Obama's inauguration- was $1.4 trillion and, at 10% of GDP, was the largest deficit relative to the economy since the end of World War II.
The unfunded Medicare Part D Rx drug program was signed into law by President Bush costing over $50 billion/year, and the law allows no price negotiation.
The Great Recession Obama inherited upon assuming office necessitated emergency stimuli by his administration to keep the country from falling into a depression.
The Great Recession job losses resulted in a significant decrease in tax revenue to the Treasury since January of 2009 when the President took office.
The Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for almost half of the $20 trillion in debt that , under current policies, the nation will owe by 2019.
The stimulus and rescues will account for less than 10 percent of the debt at that time.
The use of the Social Security surplus as a way to hide deficit spending started under president Reagan, but national debt still tripled. George W. Bush promised to never again raid social security surpluses, but Bush spent every dime of Social Security surplus revenue that came in during his presidency to finance 2 wars plus tax cuts for the rich. This totaled $1.37 trillion during his 8 years. Bush understated the federal deficit by keeping the SS "borrowing" off record, but this "off budget" item is now included in the annual budget.

George W. Bush's debt spending surpassed all of his predecessors 5.8 trillion debt and added another 6.1 trillion to the national debt Another 3.5 trillion has been added during Obama's term due to stimulus spending, tax cuts, interest on the enlarged debt, lost revenue due to the recession, and automatic spending like unemployment compensation.

Who holds the National Debt?
Over 6,340 billion is held by governmental trust funds - (SS/Medicare Trust funds hold about 2,700 billion, the FED holds 1,650 billion, Federal employee retirement, life/disability funds hold 1,014 billion, Federal Deposit Insurance Fund holds 35 billion, Airport and Highway Trust funds hold 34 billion, and other funds hold the rest.
The Chinese holds 1,132 billion, Japan holds 1,038 billion, the UK holds 430 billion, Brazil 206 billion, Taiwan 150 billion, and Switzerland 114 billion.
Individuals holding savings bonds and other investors hold 1,107 billion.
Pension funds hold 842 billion.
Mutual funds hold 654 billion.
State and Local Governments hold 485 billion.
Banks and Credit Unions hold 285 billion.
Insurance Companies hold 250 billion.
Oil Exporters hold 232 billion.
Caribbean Banks hold 185 billion.
In Summary
As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) our national debt was over 120% in the wake of the Great Depression and WWII. It fell to less than 33% prior to President Reagan. Under Reagan and the first President Bush government debt doubled to more than 66% of GDP. With modest tax increases, it declined to 56% during Democrat Bill Clinton's term. During the 2nd Bush presidency- with a GOP Congress, more tax cuts, unfunded expansion of Medicare, wars that weren't funded and a unregulated financial collapse- national debt climbed to well over 80% of GDP. It is now at 100% of GDP.

What is the best way to tackle the National Debt?
The focus needs to be on a comprehensive plan for economic recovery which tackles both expenditure and revenue ends:

Promote job growth to increase income tax revenues by investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and repeal or renegotiate the "free trade agreements"
Cut defense spending by reducing our role as the world's policeman
Remove agricultural, fossil fuel, and other corporate subsidies and loopholes
Rein in health care costs by expanding Medicare to age 55, empower Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, and focus on prevention and healthier lifestyles
Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts. Lower SS/Medicare taxes to 12% from 15.3% but uncap the 111k upper limit. Enact a Financial Transaction Tax of .5%.
Reform the tax code to reduce or eliminate the more than $1 trillion in subsidies

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