I’ll give you 44 guesses.

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For an official history of deficits (with an occasional surplus) in real dollars, see the OMB Historical Budget Tables.  (You can compare administrations.  I bet you are surprised by the Clinton  – Bush – Obama numbers.  Don’t forget Harding – Coolidge.)

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One proposed solution to the National Debt is to increase taxes (or allow current tax “breaks” to lapse). Would this work?  The folks at the Heritage Foundation argue that it would not:

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And if we give more tax dollars to the government, will they actually use it to pay off the debt, or will they just increase spending on new or current programs?  The history of deficit spending by recent Democratic and Republican administrations indicates the latter.

 

 

 

I found this nice chart by Ted Mohn of the Fayetteville Observer.  It shows the National Debt over time* with both president and congress (Republican-controlled, Democrat-controlled, split) shown for context.

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It demonstrates a basic reality of debt – if you don’t pay it off, it grows and grows.  In political talk, continued deficits add to debt.  Over the past decade, these deficits resulted from two extended wars and a large, mostly ineffective, economic stimulus program.  (The National Debt grew $4.8 Trillion under President Bush over 8 years.  The National Debt grew by over $5 Trillion under President Obama over 3 1/2 years.)

* Mohn created this chart in March of this year.  You can guess the direction the chart continues since then.  The Treasury Dept. estimates the debt will be over $16 Trillion by the end of the year.

A Saturday cartoon (from the 90s) to start off a short series on the national debt:

Cute. But according to the US Dept. of Treasury, the current amount of national debt (this past week) is $15,879,556,244,052.97

According to the CBO, the Affordable Care Act will levy over a trillion dollars in new taxes.   That’s a “penalty tax” of $1,000,000,000,000.

But it still doesn’t reduce the cost of healthcare or lower the deficit or let you keep your doctor.   And it leaves 30 million people still uninsured.