Responsibility for the national debt part deux: control of the purse strings of Congress is the real determinant

While presidents bear some responsibility for the debt and deficit spending, the major responsibility lies with Congress.

As the following graph shows (courtesy of Wikipedia), it isn’t the control of the White House so much as it is control of the House and Senate:

Notice that when purple (split control) the graph generally increases or flattens, when blue (Democrat controlled) it generally increases, sometimes sharply, and when red (Republican controlled) the curve tends to flatten or decrease.   This trend persists, even today, as the latest purple region is starting to flatten, although the jury is still out on the effect that the TEA party influence will have after 2012.  I suspect that their influence will make the purple curve look more like the trends for the full Republican (red) control, but Øbama’s possible reelection might offset that.

Some things never change…


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29 Responses to "Responsibility for the national debt part deux: control of the purse strings of Congress is the real determinant"

  1. Lynn says:

    This is so clear! The only problem is we can’t seem to make the voters understand that it is BAD to have such a high debt percentage of GDP. I don’t know if we could get Sesame Street to do a show on this as required viewing, but it might help.

  2. Fascinating.  Thanks, Dims.
    Congress is to blame…who would have figured!
    Now that we have finally figured out who really is to blame, hopefully we can move on and try to fix it.

  3. sammy22 says:

    Surprise, surprise. As to the influence of the Tea Party 2012 I would not hold my breath. Their votes last Fri were “bought” very cheaply: propose a balanced budget amendment. The process of getting it going, never mind adopting it is so looooong that I personally give a zero chance of happening. The last attempt at an amendment was for the ERA 40 years ago and went down in flames after more than 10 years of trying to get it adopted.

    • ricbee says:

      Good point. And it would take years to pass even if the states were in favor of it.

      • Dimsdale says:

        Much like the “ten years to get an oil well producing” argument, the clock starts ticking when the process actually starts, not the kvetching about it.

    • Dimsdale says:

      Then vote Republican.  Conservative Republican.

      • crystal4 says:

        Yes! Because after their “jobs, jobs, jobs” campaign in 2010, they have been bringing up 1 “jobs” bill after another in the House!

      • Dimsdale says:

        The gov’t doesn’t make jobs: it either impedes or aids the creation of jobs through tax policy.  Dems were in complete control since 2007, and you can see where that led.  Where is the big Dem recovery, the fiscal control?

  4. ricbee says:

    The BBA is a congressional scam. The only sure way is to NOT raise the debt limit.

  5. Lynn says:

    For God’s sake you don’t need JOBS bills. Cut the budget to smithereens and work on paying off the debt. The jobs will come with Govt. off our backs. That is the problem Liberals do not understand business.  Take a basic business course.

    • crystal4 says:

      Well, geez, I suppose you ranted and raved at the Tea Party crowd when they were campaigning on “getting the country back to work”…did you call, write ..to tell them to take a basic business course?

      • Dimsdale says:

        The gov’t get the country back to work by getting out of the way.  This is anathema to Democrats.

  6. TomL says:

    Crystal the Republican House jobs plan is below, but the but the Senate has won’t take it up. Anyone surprised that Reid and obama won’t act? 


  7. sammy22 says:

    The Repubs want the gov’t out of the way until they need it for whatever suits them. Meanwhile the Tea Party is promoting the ultimate “kick the can down the road”, a balanced budget amendment.

    • Dimsdale says:

      Democrats want the gov’t in the way and in complete control all the time, because it suits them.
      How is balancing a budget “kicking the can down the road”?  It attacks the crux of the problem: too much spending, which every bonding agency and representative of same has told us is the actual problem???

  8. Tim-in-Alabama says:

    The years of control don’t seem right on that graph, but then again, it’s from Wiki. The GOP won both houses in the 1994 election, and held them from 1995 until Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords joined Lil’ Tommy Daschle’s cabal in 2001. Democrats seem to have forgotten that they controlled the Senate when military force was authorized for Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act were approved. Republicans then retook the Senate in 2003 after the 2002 midterms, but lost both houses in the 2006 election, putting the spend-happy Dems in charge of both houses. Their response to Republican overspending was to overspend more, but blame the GOP, in general, and President Bush, in particular, for the deficits.

  9. Marilyn says:

    The Great Divide,  The Internet, The daily onslaught of  (talking points), Political  blame.   Finally, we will have ,as a Nation the debate that matters.  Are we a Republic that stands with the vision set forth on our birth?  Has that served us well?.   How can we improve upon it without losing it ?   Can we come together as a Nation based on our founding principles of equality, not equal, tollerance, yet protective?

    I welcome the debate, the challange of ideas. 

  10. sammy22 says:

    Marilyn, surely you jest. Or you have not been following the acrimonious “debate” that has been going on here or in Washington.

    • GdavidH says:

      Like the debate over the Obamacare pile of paper nobody read. That was so civil. 

      • Dimsdale says:

        Hard to debate when you are sequestered “in the back of the bus” as Øbama and the Democrats drive it over a cliff (can we call it the “Øbama Bus Plunge”?).
        I think “car in a ditch” anology applied to the Republicans by Øbama is a much more palatable choice…

  11. NH-Jim says:

    Take the colors (Dem vs Rep) out of the graph, what is the problem that it depicts?  A steady rise in the national debt percentage to what we output as a collective whole.  In other words, too much spending by our government, not Republicans or Democrats, but our government.  In order for our nation to survive, this graph must trend with a steady downward slope.  Never mind the debt ceiling, set it to infinity; it is meaningless.  When the US bond rating is downgraded, the damage begins.  Spending must be cut.

  12. sammy22 says:

    I agree: spending must be cut. Let’s start with two wars we are fighting. Can we cut down at least to one?

    • Tim-in-Alabama says:

      Yes, we should immediately end Obama’s illegal, undeclared war in Libya. We also still have troops in the Balkans from Bill Clinton’s illegal, undeclared Operation Prevent Impeachment. He promised they’d be home by Christmas … he just didn’t say what year. President Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to bring our troops home at the end of 2011, but Obama now wants to keep them there longer and is now losing the hard won peace as violence escalates. Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan with no plan or exit strategy. He seems intent on terrorizing women and children in the dead of night and air raiding villages. He also has been using the CIA to assassinate with missiles people all over the world with no trial, let alone formal criminal charges. Whenever he summarily executes someone, he can’t wait to rush in front of the cameras and boast about it. It’s no wonder more Muslims all over the world hate us more now than ever before in the history of polling Muslim hate. Stop Obama’s bloodlust, and you’ll save money and people will like us more.

  13. sammy22 says:

    What war in Libya? What Obama bloodlust. What are you on, man?

  14. sammy22 says:

    NATO means NATO. This has been hashed out already some weeks ago.

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