Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit blog has long been using a graphic showing the deficits (and a few surpluses) of the last five administrations. Since the graphic only had the projected budget deficit for Pres. Obama’s first year, I decided to update it with more recent numbers. Taking the numbers from the Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget itself, I have updated the graphic with the announced 2009 and 2010 deficits, as well as the deficit the OMB is projecting for 2011.

Here are six variations graphing the current numbers, as of October 2010 February 2011 July 2012 [Now with updated 2013 numbers! -- CM]. Feel free to copy them and use them on your own blogs.

Obama's Deficit

I decided to call out Pres. Obama’s deficits in shades of red. You can also get this in in a much larger size (2250 x 1690 pixels).

Question: where to you get the numbers for the graph? I go to the Office of Management and Budget site and download Table 1.1. I then look at the column D (Surplus or Deficit) to get the numbers for the graph.

Question: how do you convert the surplus/deficit numbers from the table into bars on the graph? Table 1.1 comes down as an Excel file, so I continue to use Excel to convert the surplus/deficit numbers into a count of pixels for each bar. I go to a blank column, like M, and enter the following formula “=D119/8310″. That takes the contents of cell D119 (surplus or deficit for that year) and divides it by 8310, since each pixel represents $8,310,000. Since I can’t have a fraction of a pixel, I format the entire column as a Number with 0 decimal places. Excel does all the rounding up from me. I then take the number of pixels, positive or negative, and draw a bar that many pixels up or down. Once that information has been updated in my master file in Paint Shop Pro, I save out a small and large versions of the image and post them.

UPDATE (2/15/2011 12:26:09 PM): With a new revision of the OMB numbers for 2011 raising the estimated deficit to $1.645 trillion, I have updated the graphics to show the new OMB projection. I have also made two other changes based on feedback. The Bush years text now uses bars rather than arrows (h/t Irene), and I have given Pres. Bush eight years of budgets instead of nine and adjusted all the rest by one (h/t bridgeman).

If you have been using these images, please download and use the current versions. If you want to access the old ones, you may download them all as a single zip file.

UPDATE (7/26/2011 6:00:00 PM): I have updated the images with the finalized 2011 numbers (down 345 billion) and added the projected 2012 budget deficit. I changed from using .jpg to .png for smaller file size and less fuzziness. Based on feedback, I created a large version of one of the images at 2250×1690 pixels that prints better. I also added a credit to this website.

UPDATE (3/2/2013 1:00:00 PM): Since it was requested, I have updated the graphic with the current numbers from Table 1.1 from the Office of Management and Budget site. 2012 is still listed there as an estimate, so I have left it in the graph as pink. I also added the estimate for 2013 to the image. The deficit is projected to go down in 2013, not from lack of spending but from an estimated increase in taxes. We’ll see how that goes.

The image is available in regular (450px x 338px) or large (2250px x 1690px). I have removed the other versions since there has been no demand for them.

UPDATE (5/9/2013 11:07 AM): I just checked the Table 1.1 spreadsheet at the OMB site, and they have published the official 2012 numbers. I’ve updated the graphic with the new numbers and changed it from estimate pink to official red. I also added two questions with answers about where I get the data and how I make the image.

And now for the fifth of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Chuck Asay.

Saddled with debt

Our government running up debt is a reality, and has been since before our country was founded. Article VI of the Constitution mentions that the new United States would still be responsible for all the debts incurred by the previous Confederation government. And pretty much every administration since then has run up the nation’s debt. But under President Obama deficit spending has ramped up to a whole new level. Here’s a telling graphic that is often posted at Gateway Pundit’s site:

Obama debt

Chillingly, the deficit run up by this administration in 2010 alone is close to $1.5 trillion. That’s in addition to what you see in the graph, which contains only figures up to 2009.

And what have we actually received for the $3 trillion deficit run up by President Obama’s administration? And how many generations ahead will be paying for this useless extravagance?

Here is a very interesting graph published in the Washington Post about the past 9 years and the upcoming decade of debt.


The graph is a comparison of the Congressional Budget Office and the White House Office of Management and Budget numbers. You can see that the 2008 deficit is over $400 billion, almost certainly due to the last minute government “fix” that has worked so well. When asked about his drunken-sailor spending in a recent press conference, President Obama put the blame on President Bush:

Chip Reid: Thank you, Mr. President.

At both of your town hall meetings in California last week, you said, quote, “I didn’t run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation.”

But under your budget, the debt will increase $7 trillion over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says $9.3 trillion. And today on Capitol Hill, some Republicans called your budget, with all the spending on health care, education and environment, the most irresponsible budget in American history.

Isn’t that kind of debt exactly what you were talking about when you said passing on our problems to the next generation?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because as I recall, I’m inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them. [emphasis added - CM]

You are inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit?!? Big fat bull patooties, President! The Democrats in power are spending money with all the self-restraint of an alcoholic in a brewery. But it’s not his fault. Oh, no. It’s all the fault of those eeeeevil Republicans. I have this mental image of a father chewing out his kid for spilling his sippy-cup on the floor when right next to it is the father’s spilled 96-ounce Uber-Gulp.

I have to admit that I can’t think of any new program or spending put forth by this administration that I can support, but I’m sure there must be some that both make sense and are actually constitutionally specified.

But there is a new government spending program I could support 100%. Recently Senator Jim DeMint spoke on the floor of the Senate about the Serve America Act1, and he made the following comment:

Unfortunately, our history shows us when Government gets involved, it tends to take something that is working and make it not work nearly as well. Civil society works because it is everything Government is not. It is small, it is personal, it is responsive, it is accountable. Civil society must be protected from any effort to make it more like Government.

I could fully support the government placing these words in a large frame in every government office across this land to remind every elected office-holder, every appointed official, and every faceless flunky in the bureaucracy that government meddling in civil affairs only makes things worse.

If these words succeeded in reining in the expansion of government into every sector of our lives, it would be money well worth spending.


1 “It’s a cookbook!”

I don’t know who Edmund Andrews is, other than that he works at The New York Times and wrote an article titled “Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit.”

An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief.

On Tuesday, White House officials are expected to announce that the tax receipts will be about $250 billion above last year’s levels and that the deficit will be about $100 billion less than what they projected six months ago. The rising tide in tax payments has been building for months, but the increased scale is surprising even seasoned budget analysts and making it easier for both the administration and Congress to finesse the big run-up in spending over the past year.

It’s “unexpected” that more tax revenues are coming in from corporations and the wealthy, Andrews writes. I don’t know why this would come as such a surprise to him. Every time tax rates have been lowered, the government has pulled in more money. I have to guess that Andrews is a Democrat, because as a party Democrats have always been astonished when tax rate cuts have increased government revenues. They have never learned this lesson from history.

Next time you hear a liberal say that President Bush’s tax rate cuts were just for the wealthy, you will know that you are in the presence of someone who puts more store in his or her political theories than in historical reality.