So how much debt has President Bush run up on his watch?
This page on the Bureau of Public Debt website gives some month by month and year by year benchmarks.
If I'm reading the data right (and math isn't my forte, so don't assume that's a throwaway line), at the end of September 2001, the total debt of the United States government stood at just over $5.8 trillion dollars.
At the end of last month it stood at just under $7.8 trillion.
($7,776,939,047,670, to be precise.)
So, a bit less than $2 trillion of debt piled up on President Bush's watch.
(Note: these numbers do also include interest on previous debt. But for the purposes of this discussion, I'll set that aside.)
Needless to say, that is much more than the entire Social Security Trust Fund, which President Bush says there is no way to make good on.
(According to the recently released Trustees' report, the Trust Fund currently has just under $1.7 trillion in it.)
Now, federal debt is divided into "public debt" and "intragovernmental holdings", which means debt held in various government Trust Funds. Social Security and Medicare are the big trust funds. But there are several smaller ones too.
Over that same period I mentioned above, the total of these 'Intragovernmental Holdings' went from just under $2.5 trillion to just over $3.2 trillion. Now, remember, that's not all the Social Security Trust Fund. It's all the trust funds combined. But if the Social Security Trust Fund is worthless then the other trust funds must be worthless too.
So that means that President Bush (his administration) has borrowed some $700 billion of your payroll taxes that he now says will never be paid back. In fact, just last year (2004), on the president's watch, $156 billion (and change) of your Social Security payroll tax dollars went for what he calls worthless pieces of paper.
Now, one more batch of numbers. As you remember, the federal debt is divided into public debt and trust fund debt. Or, to put it into the president's terms, debt that actually gets paid back and suckers' debt that just amounts to worthless paper.
So now let's look at the public debt, the stuff even President Bush admits will be paid back. Over the same time period noted above (September 2001 to last month), public debt went from about $3.3 trillion to just under $4.6 trillion (the exact numbers are $3,339,310,176,094 and $4,572,715,640,119.) So let's call that around $1.2 trillion.
I know I'm tossing around a lot of numbers here. But just bear with me. We're almost to the end.
The Social Security Trust Fund is now at about $1.7 trillion. And President Bush says there's no way that can or will be paid back. But just in his first term he's racked up about two-thirds that much money in new debt. And he'll easily exceed that number in his second term. And that'll amount to maybe a couple trillion dollars that even President Bush concedes will be paid back to all those bond purchasors here and abroad.
If we hadn't gone on President Bush's red ink binge, that would be more than enough cash to pay back all the money owed to the Social Security Administration.
Do you understand what Al Gore was talking about now with the 'lockbox'?
Instead we got President Bush who's run up a ton of debt that he just wants to walk away from. And he keeps borrowing more and more every day.
Isn't the bankruptcy bill supposed to deal with folks like him?