How We Wound Up With a $1.2T Deficit
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2009 9:24 AM CDT
President Barack Obama walks past a portrait of President George H. W. Bush as he arrives to speak about General Motors and the auto industry, June 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – President Obama’s agenda plays a very small role in the massive deficits facing the country, but it won't do anything to correct them, wither the New York Times reports. After reviewing a decade’s worth of Congressional Budget Office reports, the paper explains how the government turned a $800 billion surplus into a $1.2 trillion deficit:

  • The recessions of 2001 and today are responsible for 37% of the swing, thanks to decreased tax revenue and increased safety-net spending.
  • George W. Bush’s policies, including his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, account for 33%.
  • By extending some of those policies, like the Iraq war and selected tax cuts, Obama has contributed another 20%.
  • Roughly 7% comes from Obama’s stimulus, and just 3% from his overall agenda on health care, education, and energy.