A new short paper from Citizens for Tax Justice examines the debt accumulated under President Bush in light of the Senate Finance Committee's vote to raise the national debt ceiling again. President Bush has added $3 trillion to the national debt so far, despite inheriting a balanced budget when he took office in 2001. Since then, Congress has been forced to raise the statutory limit on the total amount the federal government is allowed to borrow four times - in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006.
On Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to raise the debt limit a fifth time, to an unprecedented $9.815 trillion, to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debts and being unable to borrow any more. In contrast, when Bush took office, the debt limit was $5.950 trillion - $3.9 trillion less than the new amount.
What has caused the budget deficits over the past six years? The largest cause is the cuts in federal income taxes enacted by President Bush and Congress. The total cost of the Bush tax cuts, including interest on the money borrowed to finance them, has been just over $1.4 trillion so far - about half of the total increase in the national debt under Bush so far.