The Big Numbers That Count the Most: Deficits and Surpluses and Who Was in Charge


There are numbers in politics that should count for something. I know that their are people that will forever be supporters of the Democratic party and others that likewise will forever be supporters of the Republican party. These days I am studying the history of Deficits and Surplus in the United States and who was in charge. My sincere thanks to Dave Manuel for his amazing work in putting these numbers together.

Since 1940 to 2012 we have had seventy-three Fiscal Years on record. On 37 of those 73 Fiscal Years we have had a Democratic President. On the other side, a Republican President controlled 36 of those 73 Fiscal Years. Now, I know that there are many people, some that I know myself that are indeed diehards for one party or the other.  However, I encourage you guys to think again; in the last 72 fiscal years we have had only 12 Surpluses; that leave us with 60 Deficit Fiscal Years. I don’t know about you, but this is a great example of why the Government needs to go back to his constitutional function. The Government is great for protection, but a terrible administrator.

So, who were in charge during these little 12 surpluses?

1. Harry Truman: (Democrat) From 1946 to 1952 he enjoyed four Fiscal Years of Surplus. When Harry Truman stepped into the office as President  in 1946 he received a $610.26 Billion Dollars in Deficit. Both, the House and the Senate were Democrat. In 1947 Mr. Truman lost the Senate and the House; during the next two years he enjoyed two surpluses. In 1947 it was a $41.24 Billion Surplus and in 1948 an amazing $112.38 Billion Surplus. By 1949 Truman regained Senate and the House as they turned Democrat. In 1949 the Surplus diminished to $5.77 Billion Surplus. In 1951 the US went back to $29.52 Billion Deficit. Truman had another deficit in 1950, but in 1951he returned the nation to a $53.98 Surplus. Mr. Truman gave the country to Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower with a $12.93 Billion Deficit.

2. Dwight D. Eisenhower: (Republican) From 1953 to 1960 this Republican President enjoyed three Surpluses Fiscal Years.

From 1961 to 1968 we had Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson as Presidents; they never saw a Surplus.

3. Richard Nixon: (Republican) Nixon enjoyed a $20 Billion Surplus in 1969.  This lost in history surplus would be our last our country saw in 27 years.

In those 27 years we elected the following Presidents: Gerald Ford (Republican), Jimmy Carter (Democrat), Ronald Reagan (Republican), George H. W. Bush (Republican) and William J. Clinton (Democrat).

4. William J. Clinton: (Democrat) Clinton was elected President in 1992 after defeating George H. W. Bush. With Clinton we enjoyed Surpluses years from 1998 to 2000 under a Republican House and Senate. In the year 2000 we had the greatest Surplus perhaps in our nations history: $314.78 Billion Surplus. It seems to me that our nation works best when politicians work together. Clinton was indeed a great President, but we can’t discount the importance of the great Republican victory of the House and Senate and the historic Contract with America.

5. George W. Bush: (Republican) Bush enjoyed a Surplus on his first year as President (2001) At the end of that first fiscal year we suffered the greatest attack this nation have ever suffer in our history. By 2002 our deficit escalated to $201.02 Billion. By the time President Bush left office the Deficit was a historic 488.82; the largest deficit in over sixty years.

Only five Presidents in the last 72 years have seen surpluses during their administration. Out of these five presidents three were Republicans and two Democrats. However, one thing is for sure, big government did not bring these surpluses. No doubt that conservatism is an effective way to govern. Also, we can’t ignore extraordinary events; the following events left a mark in our economical history:

  1. The Great Depression (1929-1938)

  2. WWII (1939-1945)

  3. Korean War (1950-1953)

  4. Vietnam War  (1955-1975) Us engaged in the war in 1965)

  5. Oil Embargo (1973)

  6. Soviet Union Collapses (1991)

  7. Gulf War (1900-1991)

  8. September 11, 1991 Attacks

  9. Iraq War (2003-2011)

  10. Global Finance Meltdown (2007- Present)

In 2009 our deficit grew to unimaginable numbers as we reached $1509.62 Billion in the red. In 2010 our Fiscal Year ended with a deficit of $1360.67 Billion. 2011 ended with a $1324.16 Billion Deficit and this fiscal year that just ended gave us a $1100 in the red. Can anybody balance our budget? Can I see a balance budget before I die? Can you?

The Ten Greatest Deficits Since The 1940 Fiscal Year

Year

President

Nominal Dollars

Deficit in Bilions

Party

Senate

House

2012

Barack H. Obama

$1100 Billion Deficit

$1,100 Billion Deficit

D

D

R

2011

Barack H. Obama

$1299 Billion Deficit

$1,324.16 Billion Deficit

D

D

R

2010

Barack H. Obama

$1294 Billion Deficit

$1,360.67 Billion Deficit

D

D

D

2009

Barack H. Obama

$1413 Billion Deficit

$1,509.62 Billion Deficit

D

D

D

1965

Lyndon Johnson

$1.4 Billion Deficit

$10.22 Billion Deficit

D

D

D

1954

Dwight D. Eisenhower

$1.2 Billion Deficit

$10.26 Billion Deficit

R

R

D

1959

Dwight D. Eisenhower

$12.8 Billion Deficit

$100.79 Billion Deficit

R

D

D

1952

Harry Truman

$1.5 Billion Deficit

$12.93 Billion Deficit

D

D

D

1979

Jimmy Carter

$40.7 Billion Deficit

$128.39 Billion Deficit

D

D

D

1972

Richard Nixon

$23.4 Billion Deficit

$128.57 Billion Deficit

R

D

D

The 12 Surpluses Since 1940

Year

President

Nominal Dollars

Surplus in Billions

Party

Senate

House

2000

William J. Clinton

$236.4 Billion Surplus

$314.78

D

R

R

1999

William J. Clinton

$125.6 Billion Surplus

$172.76

D

R

R

2001

George W. Bush

$127.3 Billion Surplus

$164.90

R

D

R

1948

Harry Truman

$11.8 Billion Surplus

$112.38

D

R

R

1998

William J. Clinton

$69.2 Billion Surplus

$97.33

D

R

R

1951

Harry Truman

$6.1 Billion Surplus

$53.98

D

D

D

1947

Harry Truman

$4 Billion Surplus

$41.24

D

R

R

1956

Dwight D. Eisenhower

$3.9 Billion Surplus

$32.77

R

D

D

1957

Dwight D. Eisenhower

$3.4 Billion Surplus

$27.64

R

D

D

1969

Richard Nixon

$3.2 Billion Surplus

$20

R

D

D

1949

Harry Truman

$0.6 Billion Surplus

$5.77

D

D

D

1960

Dwight D. Eisenhower

$0.3 Billion Surplus

$2.33

R

D

D

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