Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chart Fu: Fisking Rachel Maddow

So there's a chart floating around the Leftosphere, that looks like it originated on Queen Maddow's blog - originally submitted by one of her loyal subjects, naturally - that is meant to set forth the idea that mean, evil Republicans are the ones responsible for our debt woes, rather than Democrats.  First thing's first, to hell with all of them.  Nobody has stopped spending or growing this government in my lifetime.  They've all just been spending on different things.

However, I do have to point out that the chart is horribly misleading (from a Liberal, no less...I know, unbelievable right?), as is the assertion by the chart-maker (Dick Seaman!) that "If voters don't understand this, the media has failed them."  Well, here is the chart...

First of all, this is an obvious shot at getting Obama off the hook for the enormous growth in spending under his watch by comparing it to past spending that took place under Republican presidents.  There is a glaring omission about this chart  that has Dick Seaman spraying his results blindly all over Queen Maddow's inbox.


By putting the presidents and their debt in a meaningful order, we can see that things are far different than Maddow's Seaman Chart would have people think.

First, we see that over the course of 8 years, Reagan increased the debt by about $1.75 trillion, or 288%, an average rate of 36% per year.

Bush I increased the debt by about $1.5 trillion, or 155%, in four years, an average rate of 39% per year.

Clinton slowed things down slightly, increasing the debt about $1.6 trillion over 8 years, an average rate of 17.3% per year.

Things ramped up again under Bush II, nearly doubling in 8 years by $4.89 trillion, but still a slower overall rate of increase than Reagan or Bush I, averaging just over 23% per year.

The chart also shows that the debt under Obama has increased by nearly 134% since taking office, about 2.25 years into his first term as President, for an average rate of 59.44% per year.  While it would seem to me to be unlikely that this rate will continue through to the end of his first term, if it did, we would expect the debt to top $25 trillion.

The resulting percentages in Maddow's Seaman Chart would burst forth with much different excitement.  We would see that the debt occurring under Reagan and the Bushes, totaling $8.14 trillion, would amount to 32% of the total debt, and that all by itself, the debt under Obama would total $14.67 trillion, or 57.8% of the total debt.

If voters don't understand this, the media has failed them.

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