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Monthly Archives: April 2011


National Debt

I finally got myself out of debt not too long ago so I have some appreciation for how it can build up pretty quickly and weigh you down. After seeing the chart posted here: http://www.lafn.org/gvdc/Natl_Debt_Chart.html on a friend’s facebook wall I thought may be I should adjust the numbers for inflation to give a more apples-to-apples comparison.

I used the calculator at inflationdata.com and took the dates as being from October of the year of the debt to October of 2010.
So here is the inflation adjusted chart:

I thought may be it was a little disingenuous to blame all of the debt woes on the President and so I also color-coded it by ruling Congressional party (where mixed means the Senate and House had different ruling parties). I found the majority parties at about.com:

But then I thought that Congress and the President work together to come up with a budget to meet the needs of Government so I thought of the President and Congress as equally powered and created yet another color coding where if at least one half of Congress and the President are of the same party the year is colored by that party. If all of Congress is ruled by a party and the President is of a different party I colored that as “mixed”:

Now the real question is, who’s really in charge of this? I think of it as a shared responsibility, but I always see it blamed on the President. Perhaps it’s because the President drafts the initial budget? Perhaps it’s easier to point the finger at a single person? What do you think?

The saddest part of all this is that NEVER is the National Debt increase a negative number. In the last 35 years we’ve never paid off more debt than we’ve taken on. I guess that’s one way to keep us from being attacked by China. I think the consequences if other countries stopped lending to us would have much more of an impact then if they went to war with us.

And finally if you want to see how I crunched the numbers you can do so in my “National Debt” excel file (it’s in xlsx format).