Thanks, Obama! The Deficit Just Fell Below 50-Year Average

Source: Congressional Budget Office

Last night, Republicans whined about debate moderators being mean to them and played Quien es the biggest baddest machoest budget cutter.

In the mean time in adult-land, there's a president who's delivering on fiscal responsibility. Earlier this month, the Treasury department reported a shrinking federal deficit of $439 billion for Fiscal 2015 - not only lowest since 2007 in raw numbers but also lower than what was projected earlier this year.

But the marvel isn't just in the lowest dollar-amount deficit since before the Republican Great Recession's economic disaster, the US federal deficit is now lower than the average since 1965 when measured as a portion of the size of the economy. This year's deficit ended up being 2.5% of GDP, with the historical 50-year average standing at 2.7%.

So? It is after all just below average. And the average is the average because some of the deficits are bigger, some smaller. What's the big deal?

The big deal is that Barack Obama was handed a $1.3 trillion deficit (FY 2009, Bush's last budget), at the time nearly 10% of GDP. He's cut that in a quarter in 6 years. He did that while rescuing the economy from the brink of absolute catastrophe, enacting new health care legislation, and paying for wars his predecessor started. As a matter of fact, in the last month of the last fiscal year, the federal government even ran a surplus.

What's more, President Obama's 7-point turnaround is already better than Bill Clinton's, who was handed a deficit of roughly 4% of GDP and turned into a surplus of 2% of GDP (6-point turnaround), and Ronald Reagan, who entered and left office with a deficit roughly the same portion of GDP (2.5-2.7%).

Here's a couple more fun facts. In 2012, Mitt Romney promised to cut the unemployment rate down to 6% in four years; President Obama did it in 2. Newt Gingrich ran on $2.50/gallon gas. Thanks to President Obama, I bought gas in California this morning for $2.41, and the national average today stands at $2.18.

If Republicans truly believed in the gospel of fiscal discipline they pretend to love, they'd be praying for the next president to be as close to being Barack Obama's third term as humanly possible.



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