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"Reagan took the deficit from $70 billion to $175 billion. Shrub 41 take it it to $300 billion. Clinton got it come zero. Shrub 43 took it native zero to $1.2 trillion. Obama halved it come $600 billion. Trump’s got it earlier to a trillion."


This short article was to update Aug. 2 to incorporate a graph with the annual federal deficit in constant dollars.

A viral short article portrays Democrats, no Republicans, together the party of fiscal responsibility, through numbers about the deficit under current presidents to make the case.

Alex Cole, a political news editor at the website Newsitics, released the tweet July 23. In ~ a few hours, number of Facebook individuals posted screenshots of the tweet, which cases that Republican presidents have actually been an ext responsible because that contributing come the deficit over the past four decades. 

Those posts racked up number of hundred likes and shares. We additionally found a screenshot top top Reddit, whereby it has actually been upvoted an ext than 53,000 times.

"Morons: ‘Democrats reason deficits,’" the original tweet reads.

Reagan take it the deficit indigenous 70 exchange rate to 175 billion. Bush 41 took it to 300 billion. Clinton acquired it come zero. Bush 43 took it native 0 come 1.2 trillion.Obama halved it to 600 billion. Trump’s acquired it earlier to a trillion.Morons: “Democrats cause deficits.”

— Alex Cole (
acnewsitics) July 23, 2019

Screenshots of the tweet on facebook were flagged as component of the company’s efforts to combat false news and also misinformation on its News Feed. (Read an ext about ours partnership with Facebook.)

At znjke.com, we’ve reported generally on how Republicans and also Democrats often try to pen the federal deficit on each other — muddying the facts in the process. For this reason we want to watch if this Facebook post is true.

We reached out come Newsitics, the media outlet that Cole founded and also works for, to see what evidence he supplied to create the tweet and didn’t hear back. Our review reflects the number basically check out, but they don’t tell the full story.

What also is the deficit?

Some civilization confuse the commonwealth deficit v the debt — but they’re two separate concepts.

The room of the Treasury explains it like this: The deficit is the difference between the money the the federal government makes and also the money the spends. If the government spends more than it collection in revenues, climate it’s running a deficit.

The commonwealth debt is the running full of the accumulated deficits.

Following the money

Now let’s take it a closer watch at each president’s impact on the commonwealth deficit.

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To examine the number in Cole’s tweet, we went to the federal Reserve financial institution of St. Louis, which has actually an interaction database for these kinds of figures. Here’s what we found for each claim:

"(President Ronald) Reagan took the deficit from 70 exchange rate to 175 billion." This is more or less accurate. The federal deficit go from about $78.9 exchange rate at the start of Reagan’s presidency come $152.6 billion at the finish of it. In ~ points in between 1983 and also 1986, the deficit to be actually much more than $175 billion.

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