Republican Myth Busted: Reagan Raised the Debt Ceiling 3 Times More than Obama

Reagan debt ceiling record

President Reagan raised the debt ceiling more times than any other President since 1960. He raised it 18 times, for a 67% increase.

Watch Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols breaks down the numbers that make up the debt ceiling and looks at how many times it has been raised through the years. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers”:

President Obama “doesn’t even compare” to Reagan’s record, he has raised the debt ceiling 6 times, for a 31% increase.

obama debt ceiling record

According to Bloomberg’s numbers, Republicans have raised the debt ceiling 49 times since 1960, while Democrats have only raised it 30 times. The debt ceiling has been raised 79 times since 1960.

Ronald Reagan “proved deficits don’t matter”, according to former Republican V.P. Dick Cheney. How did he do that? By driving up the deficit. Under Reagan, the deficit skyrocketed. Reagan was in office from January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989.

The following graph from Business Insider “shows the history of Federal Government Deficits. You can see that starting in in 1981, they really boomed like nothing comparable in history.”

deficit chart reagan

Republicans like to blame Obama’s $787 billion stimulus for our debt (never mind that Bush also stimulated the economy), but we will have spent $3.7 trillion on Bush’s wars by the time they’re over, according to a recent report by Brown University. When Republicans done with the stimulus, they blame ObamaCare. But in reality, ObamaCare reduces the deficit according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

When Bush took office, we had a surplus $86 billion. He left us with a $642 billion deficit. The Bush tax cuts have cost nearly $1.3 trillion over 10 years. If Republicans really cared about the deficit, wouldn’t they cut defense spending? Defense spending cost $718 billion last year, which is 20% percent of federal spending.

Republican Saint Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling the most times of any president since 1960. So, do Republicans think that Ronald Reagan left us the horrible burden of debt?

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