January 11, 2012. Republicans blame the "Democratic Congress" for their debt increases. The trouble is that Congress was only Democratic 8 out of the 20 years, and in those 8 years, on average, Congress passed smaller budgets than the Republican presidents requested. The specifics are all right here: It Was the Republicans.
So, let's add up the debt under Reagan and the Bushes. We can't blame Reagan for the debt's increase until his first budget took effect, October 1, 1981. Then, for 12 years until Sept. 30, 1993, the Republicans ballooned the debt. Later, George W. Bush took over.
Under Reagan and Bush:$3.4 Trillion increase in the debt.
Under George W. Bush:$6.1 Trillion.
Total:$9.5 Trillion.(without counting interest)
The debt went up during Clinton's years only because of $2.2 Trillion interest on the Reagan-Bush debt. Otherwise Clinton would have paid off most the remaining WWII debt. G.W.Bush got sand-bagged by Reagan.
Just like a mortgage, the debt incurs interest, so the Reagan-Bush-I debt grew during the Clinton years. The average debt interest rate in those years was about 6.5%, which would increase it over 50% without compounding, but with compound interest the total debt – including interest – increased by $2.2 trillion.
Total Republican debt from above:$9.5 trillion
Interest on Reagan-Bush debt under Clinton:$2.2 trillion
Interest on $11.7 trillion after G. W. Bush:$0.3 trillion
Grand Total Reagan-Bushes Debt:$12 trillion (as of Sept. 30, 2010).
If the Republicans had not run up this $12 trillion debt, we could easily have pulled out of the Great Recession.