The Republican National Debt Hoax

The Republican National Debt Hoax is a slogan that has been used by Republicans in the past to blame Democrats for causing the national debt. This is not true, and it’s an outright lie. The truth is that both parties are responsible for our national debt, which was $5 trillion when Barack Obama took office and $18 trillion when Donald Trump took office.

The Republican National Debt Hoax is one of the most effective slogans ever created, because it’s simple and very misleading. It was incredibly effective for Republicans in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.[1]

During Barack Obama’s tenure as President, the debt increased $8 trillion. During George W. Bush’s tenure as President it increased $5 trillion. Republicans have been president for 28 of the last 43 years, so blaming Democrats is a ridiculous claim.

The Republican National Debt Hoax has been used to blame Obama for the national debt more than any other President in history, but it’s just not true. There are two reasons that this slogan was created:

First, the Republicans needed a way to blame Obama for the national debt because it’s going up every day. The more years that pass, the worse it looks for them… Second, this is a very misleading statement because what most people don’t understand about our debt is that each year both parties cause the debt to increase. Republicans and Democrats both spend money that we don’t have, but no one wants to admit it.[2]

Last year was a very difficult year for the Republican National Debt Hoax because President Trump increased the national debt by $1 trillion, which means he is partially responsible for our current national debt of over $19 trillion. In fact, the only Presidents that have decreased or kept the national debt under control since World War Two are Bill Clinton and Obama.

In order to use the Republican National Debt Hoax successfully to win elections, Republicans have been careful not to nominate anyone who has a history of increasing the national debt during their tenure as President. George W. Bush and Donald Trump were both considered to be very unlikely choices for their respective parties because of their track records of increasing the national debt.

Each time that Republicans have used this slogan, they have cited similar numbers. For example, during his 2010 campaign for U.S Senate in Florida Marco Rubio claimed that the Democrats have added $4 trillion to the national debt in the last five years and that the national debt has increased $3.5 million every minute under President Obama. The Republican National Committee ran an ad during the 2012 election cycle which said, Under Barack Obama…The Debt Has Increased $5 Trillion. During his 2016 campaign for president Donald Trump claimed that the national debt has increased $10 trillion under Obama and that Obama doubled our debt.

One of the most bizarre uses of this slogan was in 2008 when President Bush’s administration attacked Obama for using a “fuzzy math trick to mislead Americans about his plan to reduce health care premiums.”[4] What was their evidence? Bush’s administration claimed that Obama had failed to mention that he wanted to double the national debt.

First, it will work with voters who don’t know Obama increased the national debt by $8 trillion. Second, it’s very difficult for Democrats to fight back against this slogan because the only response is to increase the level of rhetoric. Third, some voters who know that Republicans increased the national debt during their eight years in office will still vote for Republican candidates because they want lower taxes, regardless of how it affects our nation’s debt.

It may be very difficult for Democrats to win back Congress or win a presidential election when the national debt is increasing every day, but this slogan is just not true. Obama increased the national debt by $8 trillion, Congress has increased the national debt since World War Two, and Democrats are partially responsible for our current national debt of over $19 trillion.

Each time that Republicans have used this slogan they cited similar numbers, but the numbers are not true. For example, during his 2010 campaign for U.S Senate in Florida Marco Rubio claimed that the Democrats have added $4 trillion to the national debt in the last five years and that the national debt has increased $3.5 million every minute under President Obama.The Republican National Committee ran an ad during the 2012 election cycle which said, Under Barack Obama…The Debt Has Increased $5 Trillion. During his 2016 campaign for president Donald Trump claimed that the national debt has increased $10 trillion under Obama” and that “Obama doubled our debt.

One of the most bizarre uses of this slogan was in 2008 when President Bush’s administration attacked Obama for using a fuzzy math trick to mislead Americans about his plan to reduce health care premiums.[4] What was their evidence? Bush’s administration claimed that Obama had failed to mention that he wanted to double the national debt.