Upon taking control of the House in 2011, Republicans approved a budget with $1.3 trillion in deficit spending, pushing the national debt to $14.7 trillion (this is the officially recognized debt, not taking into account tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities).
Today, after four years of GOP control of the House, during the last ten months of which Republicans have also controlled the Senate, the debt stands at $18 trillion. In his last official act, Speaker John Boehner, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will accede to Obama’s demand to push the debt limit to an unimaginable $19.5 trillion in just the next two years – a transparent attempt to remove the threat posed by deficit spending as a 2016 election issus. That is nearly $5 trillion added to the national debt since the GOP’s 2010 pledge to end out-of-control borrowing and spending. Mind you, it took over 200 years for the United States to accumulate $5 trillion in debt after constitutional governance began in the late eighteenth century. With this latest deal, Republicans have colluded with Democrats to add about two-and-a-half times that amount – $13 trillion – since President George W. Bush was sworn in in January 2001.
In the 2016 campaign, Republicans will blame all of this on Obama and the Democrats. They will continue to hope you don’t realize the spending could not have happened without their acquiescence – often their insistence. They will hope you don’t check the paper trail and realize that they promised to stop it, then caved. They will vow: “If you’ll just turn out to vote for us, under our new management, we are not going to do business like this.”
If, come January 20, 2017, Hillary Clinton is taking the presidential oath of office, ready to hit the ground running with big Democratic gains in Congress, we will know why.