In 2012 Republicans tried to convince voters the sky was falling because the national debt was at $16 trillion and blamed the liberal, big government, tax and spend president Obama. 62,611,250 American voters in November 2012 rejected the Republican propaganda and voted to return President Obama to the White House for another 4 years.
Facts about the national debt:
$11.3 trillion—the national debt when the last Republican president left the White House in 2009
18—the number of times Republican president Ronald Reagan requested and the national debt ceiling was raised—more times than any president in history.
9—the number of times Republican presidents Nixon and G.H.W Bush requested and the national debt ceiling was raised—for the second most number of times in history.
300%---the percentage Republican president Ronald Reagan increased the national debt—the largest percentage increase of any president in history. (Had President Obama raised the national debt 300% it would be at $33.9 trillion not $16 trillion.)
100%---the percentage Republican president G. W. Bush increased the national debt—the second largest percentage of any president in history. (Had President Obama raised the national debt 100% it would be at $22.6 trillion not $16 trillion.)
34---the number of times the national debt ceiling was raised in the 20 years Republicans occupied the White House from 1981-2009. (Reagan 18 times, G.H.W Bush 9 times and G.W Bush 7 times.)
$4 trillion to $6 trillion the amount G.W Bush added to the national debt—cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Republican president G.W Bush added millions of dollars to the national debt when he gave the largest tax cut in history to the wealthiest 1% of Americans
The last Republican president who balanced the budget—Dwight Eisenhower 1953-1961.
The last Democrat president who balanced the budget—Bill Clinton 1993-2001
When President Obama was sworn as president in 2009 the debt ceiling had been raised 86 times since Eisenhower was president usually without debate and without threat of government shutdown.
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The national debt has grown at a SLOWER RATE since Obama became president than under any president since Eisenhower, and in January 2013 there was a budget SURPLUS of $2.88 billion
President Obama submitted a 2014 comprehensive budget plan to congress offering to simplify the tax code, reduce spending and cut the national debt in a balanced way.
When congress returns from its summer recess it must vote on whether or not to raise the national debt ceiling. If the national debt ceiling is not raised government will shut down.
In 1995 the government was shut down for 28 days after President Clinton vetoed the spending bill of the Republican controlled Congress. A 2010 Congressional Research Service report states the government shutdown adversely impacted all sectors of the U.S. economy.
Three Republican freshmen U.S. Senators, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio who have been in Washington an average of 1.9 years promise to vote against raising the national debt ceiling unless President Obama cancels Obamacare. The “shutdown trio” are frequently in the news doing the thing Republican presidential candidates do, visiting Iowa and other states with early presidential primaries. The “shutdown trio” apparently believe the way to obtain the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 is to vote against raising the national debt ceiling and shut down government.
Other Republicans have stated their objections to “shutting down government” in this way:
“I think it is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina
“Shutting down the government is not in the best interest of the American people and makes you look politically irresponsible.” Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma
“How many weeks would you go without paying Social Security and how many weeks would you go without paying the troops?” Congressman Aaron Shock of Illinois
“It is a good way for Republicans to lose the House and could destroy the party.” Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
“We’ve been down that road. We shut down the government and we got our butts kicked over shutting down the government.” Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
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“Republicans advocating a government shutdown are a suicide caucus.” Peter Wehner White House aide to the last three Republican presidents.
Hopefully Congress will act in the best interest of the American people when this important matter comes up for a vote in the next few weeks.
(Paul Rawlings of Heber Springs contributes monthly to the editorial pages of The Sun-Times)