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The National Debt Made Simple (Presidential Edition)

Saturday September 21st, 2013   •   Posted by Mary Theroux at 12:15pm PDT   •  

With the national debt soon to reach $17 trillion, it’s not surprising that even the President can’t quite grasp the concepts of the debt ceiling and our national debt (see: “Raising the Debt Ceiling … Does Not Increase Our Debt“)—numbers this size are notoriously difficult for any of us to accurately conceive.

That’s why we created our Government Cost Calculator here at—to personalize for anyone his or her individualized share of runaway federal spending and debt.

As a public service to President Obama, I’ve taken the liberty of generating his debt picture:

Plugging in the President’s level of education, age, and income for 2012:

Obama stats

He can see his portion of federal spending for the year::

Obama this year

Since his estimated federal taxes are only $102,208, and the amount the federal government is spending this year on his behalf is $138,873, he’s unfortunately not pulling his “fair share.”


The picture is even starker over the course of his lifetime:

Obama lifetime

Expected to pay a little over $3 mm in taxes over the remainder of his life, President Obama’s “share” of federal government spending will nevertheless be more than $5 mm. (Of course, if his predecessors’ post-presidential incomes are any guide, this does not take into account the expected huge increase in his earnings after he leaves the White House and starts racking up million-dollar speaking fees).

The difference between what President Obama pays in taxes and what the government spends is “deficit spending,” which adds to the U.S. debt–necessitating a rise of the national debt ceiling as such spending moves inexorably higher.

Hopefully someone can share the above with the President, and we hope that his seeing the numbers on a more personalized level will provide enlightenment.

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September 2013