One of the most significant legacies a president can leave is the debt – how much did the country owe when the president left office.
Perhaps the biggest challenge came after World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt surpassed a debt that was equal to our country’s Gross Domestic Product – almost 100 percent.
But over the course of several administration, we’ve managed to reduce that deficit by around 25 percent.
It has hovered around 25 to 35 percent until it rose under President Regan and George H.W. Bush to roughly under 50 percent.
Clinton and George W. Bush saw America’s debt drop as a share of GDP to under 40 percent.
But none of that compares to the explosion of debt that Barack Obama was about to inflict on this country.
In his eight years in office, President Obama managed to double the debt left by the Bush Administration – from just under 40 percent to almost 80 percent of GDP.
That’s a steep hole to climb out of.
Of course – as The Washington Examiner points out – presidents do not have total control over the federal budget, so they’re not completely responsible for debt levels. Wars, recessions and other factors come into play.
Still – with the veto pen, it’s naive to assume that the commander in chief doesn’t wield a major tool in the budget debates and if a single person deserves credit or blame for the national debt, it’s the president of the United States.