The Instigator
DeFool
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
TheUnderdog
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points

President Obama has doubled the deficit

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
DeFool
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,234 times Debate No: 26346
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)

 

DeFool

Con


In the first Presidential Debate, Former Governor Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of “doubling” the deficit. I disagree that this is an accurate statement of fact, and wish to debate the subject. I maintain that the President has done no such thing.


I will take the side of “Pro,” and I ask that Con please demonstrate that President Obama has “doubled” the deficit, as Mr. Romney claims. I should point out that the doubling of the deficit would need to have come about as a result of President Obama’s policies – and not simply during his term.


I am willing to be quite relaxed regarding any particular rules – these can be discussed in the comments section, and I will - of course - honor any agreements made there. I do ask that the final round be reserved for summaries of our strongest arguments – as a convenience for those who wish to read and vote on our performance.


TheUnderdog

Pro

First I would like to thank my opponent and I would like to wish him luck in this debate. Now I am arguing that President Obama has raised the debt with his policies. There is no doubt about it that Obama's economic policies have hurt the nation. For this debate I will be using:
www.cbo.gov/
and
www.bls.gov/

Resolution: President Obama has "doubled" the deficit due to his policies.

President Obama has doubled the deficit by adding unnecassary programs to the budget. Such programs such as: Stimulus Bill, ObamaCare, and clean energy have added to the deficit. According to the CBO (Congressiona Budget Office) President Obama's budget would add more to the national debt and deficit; increasing the national debt to nearly $18.8 trillion dollars by 2017 and adding $675 billion dollars to the national deficit. According to the president's budget he would have $695 billion dollars of unnecassary spending that he could cut, but he doesn't. In this instance I believe that President Obama's policies have doubled the deficit because in 2008 the national deficit was $438 billion dollars. With Obama's policies we have increased the national deficit to nearly $1.1 trillion dollars. Something is wrong here. My opponent wants to say Romney was inaccurate, but with a record like this I would say that Romney hit the nail on the head.
Debate Round No. 1
DeFool

Con

I thank my partner for his presentation. I will address the arguments that have been presented in time, but first, I would like to present my argument in defense of the premise.

That premise is, simply, that President Obama has decidedly not doubled the deficit during this first term in office. Mr. Romney is simply mistaken, or hyperbolic.

As my premise is a statement of fact, it either is – or is not - true. However, in defending my premise, I am also necessarily challenging the assertion of Mr. Romney, that the president has doubled the deficit. I am an insufferable bloviator, and am more or less certain that I can manage both tasks.

I submit the following:

1. The National Budget is not calculated by calendar year, but by fiscal year. The fiscal year runs from October through September, which means that the first nine months of President Obama’s first year in office was drafted entirely before he was elected. In addition to this, there was an unavoidable legislative delay before his policies were enacted, and had time to take effect. This period of national deficit buildup cannot reasonably be attributed to his policies, because he played no part in this process. [1]

2. The national deficit (not the national debt – there is a difference*) has been reduced under this president by about 8%. Since an 8% reduction is something other than a 100% increase, this is fairly conclusive.

Justification: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) placed the nation’s annual deficit at $1.19 Trillion in FY 2009, budgeted during the final year of President Bush’s tenure. The CBO reports that the 2012 budget shortfall for FY 2012 – the 2012 fiscal year which ended this September – was $1.09 trillion. There is about an 8% difference between these two figures – benefiting the President, and my argument. [2]

3. In order for the national deficit to have increased by 100% during the term of this president, it would have had to have reached a staggering $2.38 trillion in any given calendar year. Obviously, this has never happened.

4. New federal spending under Obama is lower than that of any president in a lifetime. The policies of this president, the policies that he is responsible for, are less expensive than any president since Eisenhower. [3]

A major reason for confusion – and, I think a forgivable one – is the terminology. The national deficit is not the national debt. As my partner’s argument proves, even intelligent persons can make a mistake when discussing this subject. This is not a semantic trap; it is American citizenship 101 – a necessary thing for our generation to understand and to become educated on.

So what is the difference between the debt and the deficit? Think of the debt as our long term obligations – like a car loan. And think of the deficit as a short-term shortfall in revenue - like a small paycheck that does not quite cover the monthly car note. You can have an auto loan – and hold a “debt” of, say, $25,000… but still bring in enough money each month to easily cover the car payment. In a scenario like this, you might have a debt of $25,000, but still be running a monthly budget surplus. A monthly deficit would occur if you were unable to make the monthly car note. This was the case during the Clinton years, for example. Our nation was carrying massive Reagan-era debt, but was also earning a healthy budget surplus with which to pay it off. The situation today is different; our overall debt is amazing, but the deficit situation, under Obama, is improving steadily, just as it did under Clinton. (At an 8% rate at present, slower than Clinton, I should add.)

However, it seems unlikely that this was an honest mistake on the part of Mr. Romney, who has been running for president for nearly a decade, and would be expected to have educated himself on such matters by now.

Therefore, my argument, as of this round, is:

President Obama could not have doubled the national deficit, because it is lower today than it was when he was first able to impact it. Moreover, the explosion in spending that occurred in the first year of his presidency was drafted by his predecessor, in FY 2009.

[1] Fiscal Year Explainedhttp://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] CBO Figures (2009 to 2012)http://cbo.gov...

[3] Politifact Article – New Federal Spending Under Obamahttp://www.politifact.com...

While on Politifact, I noticed this last gem. I do hope readers will look it over: http://www.politifact.com...

TheUnderdog

Pro

Thank you for your argument. I will be adressing my opponent on the topics he covered in exact order.

1. The national budget is not calculated by calendar year, but by fiscal year. First I never implied that the budget is covered from January- December. I was just tating the facts through the fiscal year stated by the CBO.

2. The National Deficit (not the national debt- there is a different*) has been reduced under this president by about 8%.
my opponent claimed that President Obama had an 8% reduction in the national deficit; my argument was that from 2010-2011 FY the national deficit doubled. As of 2011 the national deficit was 1.1 trillion dollars. [1] In the presiedent's campaign he said he would cut the national deficit in half. From what we've seen that an 8% cut has been made there is still a small sign of deficit recovery but not one to be noted. He did not cut the deficit in half during his first term. [2]

3. In order for the national deficit to have increased by 100% during the term of this president, it would have had to have reached a staggering $2.38 trillion in any given calendar year. I will be the first to admit it the deficit has not been run up that high, but the deficit once more has been running for the last 4 years in the trillion dollar range. I will reiderate my point that Obama said he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. [2]

4. New federal spending under Obama is lower than that of any president in a lifetime. The fact that my opponent believes this is completely upsurd. I would like to go into Obama's economic record for a moment a show his spending:
1. The stimulus bill which added $787 billion, which added to the deficit. [3]
2. The cost of Obamacare has increaded from $940 to $1.76 trillion. [4]
3. The cost of Libya was $896 billion. [5]
4. The surge in food stamp use, which logically would add to the deficit and would have to make the president put more into his welfare budget. [6]

Those are just some of the policies he has put in place that have increased or stabilized a trillion dollar deficit. To say that Obama has pent less than every president since Eisenhower is false.

My argument is still the same as before:

President Obama has stabilized the national deficit by adding more people to welfare and putting 2 wars on the credit card. I would also like to affirm what Obama said where he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. As of right now my opponent says 8%; I believe that is still very far away from 50%.

[1] http://www.cbo.gov...
[2]
[3] http://www.factcheck.org...
[4] http://news.yahoo.com...
[5] http://abcnews.go.com...
[6] http://www.weeklystandard.com...
Debate Round No. 2
DeFool

Con

It is refreshing to wake up and find that the contest has already been rejoined. I thank my partner for such a timely response.

I will now begin rebuttals, and defending my premise. I am not taking these in any deliberate order, but will be working down from R1, and covering as much ground as I am able. To save character space, I will neglect to rebut some of the sillier arguments.

1. According to the CBO (Congressiona Budget Office) President Obama' s budget would add more to the national debt and deficit; increasing the national debt to nearly $18.8 trillion dollars by 2017

We must focus: it has not been 2017, so these events are not relevant to our discussion. We are here to determine whether or not our national deficit (not the debt) has reached $2.3 trillion dollars over Obama' s tenure so far in office, and as a result of his policies. Sadly, any discussion from my partner that does not provide evidence that this benchmark has been crossed will not successfully challenge my premise that it has not. (Please keep this in mind.)

2. President Obama' s policies have doubled the deficit because in 2008 the national deficit was $438 billion dollars.

Please source this. At any rate, President Obama was not involved in the budget process in FY 2008, or FY 2009. FY 2009 was signed into law by President Bush, who is responsible for it. [1]

3. The President said that he would cut the deficit in half during his first term. He did not do this, therefore he doubled the deficit.

Nonsense.

4. I will be the first to admit it the deficit has not been run up (to $2.3 trillion).

I certainly do not want to rebut this. This concession supports my premise that President Obama has not run up the national deficit by $2.3 trillion. I am glad that we have found agreement, but I am reluctant to simply close the debate at this point.

5. To say that Obama has spent less than every president since Eisenhower is false.

And yet, new federal spending under Obama is, in fact, less than what is normal for the office. I am aware that this goes against the conventional wisdom, which paints the President as a prolifigate spender. And yet, it is very much true. Upon taking office, President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed the "Pay as You Go Act," which mandated that new spending has to be offset with cuts to existing spending, or with new revenues. [2] He also froze all new federal spending [4]

6. President Obama has stabilized the national deficit by adding more people to welfare and putting 2 wars on the credit card.

President Obama was not president when the FY 2008 and FY 2009 budgets were signed into law. He was also not president when we invaded Iraq and became became mired in Afghanistan. This president withdrew troops from Iraq, and is preparing to draw down troops from Afghanistan. This will remove the two wars from the credit card - not add them.

My argument, as of this round, is:

My partner agreed with me that the national deficit has not reached $2.3 trillion as a result of President Obama' s policies. As this is a necessary and sufficient component for my being named the winner of this debate, I ask that this be made a factor as the judges reading along are scoring my performance here.

In order to challenge my premise, my partner will need to demonstrate that I am mistaken, and that President Obama' s policies have been responsible for doubling the deficit in his first term. This is clearly impossible - because the deficit has not doubled, but has been reduced by 8%. A very readable article that explains this can be found here, courtesy of Politifact: http://www.politifact.com...

[1] President Bush was responsible for FY 2009: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] President Obama signs "Pay-Go" into law: http://www.cbsnews.com...
[4] Discretionary Spending Freeze: http://thehill.com...


TheUnderdog

Pro

I would like to thank my colleague for the compliment he gave. It is nice to know we can have a civil debate without having any type of attack on the opponent as a person. it is difficult to find that now-a-days.

I will be responding to my opponent's rebuttals in the order he responded. I would also like to remind the voting audience about the president saying he would cut the deficit in half, because now that has become the premise of my argument. I am going to be hammering this point as now because in the president's budget it would raise the deficit. [1]
1. According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) President Obama's budget would add more to the national debt and deficit; increasing the national debt to nearly $18.8 trillion by 2017.

I would like to point out that the CBO acknowledged that the deficit will in fact effect the debt, but as my opponent said we must focus. As the report shows on his budget in 2012 that the deficit "would equal $1.3 trillion" or "$82 billion more than the 2012 deficit projected in CBO's baseline." [1] My opponent continues to say that the deficit has dropped 8%, but with the deficit at $1.1 trillion [2] and looking at what the CBO said it would be by the end of 2012 it would have in fact raised the deficit by 8.4%.

2. President Obama's policies have doubled the deficit because in 2008 the national deficit was $438 billion.

My opponent claims that I claimed that Obama raised the deficit from $438 billion. Well actually he did. As you know the deficit on this day in 2008 was $399 billion. [3] According to the debt clock the deficit is $1.1 trillion. Alright I would like to challenge my opponent on the policies that were signed into law by President Bush that are used to defend Obama. Here are the following items that Obama added to our credit card:
1. Deposit insurance: Increase the deficit by 2 billion dollars.
2. Supplemental spending: Increased the deficit by 31 billion dollars
3. Cash for Clunkers: Increased the deficit by 2 billion dollars
4. GM and Chrysler bailouts: Increased the deficit by 20 billion dollars.
5. Bailout spending UNDER OBAMA: Increased the deficit by $475 dollars.

You total this up it would equal an increase of $530 billion in deficit spending under Obama. [4] Therefore this debunks my opponent's claims that all of the deficit as of FY 2009-2010 is at the fault of Bush's policies.

3. The President said that he would cut the deficit in half during his first term. He did not do this, therefore he doubled the deficit.

I agree with my opponent that statement is nonsense. I never said that statement. I changed my argument to state that the deficit was $601 billion when Obama took office and now it has increased to $1.1 trillion (46% increase). In the president's speech he said he would "cut the deficit in half." My argument has stated that the deficit increased 8.4% and that he has not cut the deficit in half. [5] I encourage the voters to do the math and see for themselves.

4. I will be the first to admit the deficit has not been run up (to $2.3 trillion).

Alright. Unlike most politicians and other debaters I will not take back what I have stated. I will say this though: The president has run up the deficit by 8.4% as he outlined in his budget [1] and I would like you all to keep that into account, but yes the deficit is NOT $2.3 trillion.

5. To say that Obama has spent less than every president since Eisenhower is false.

I will stick by my argument as it is stated. President Obama has not spent less than any president since Eisenhower. [4] My opponent accepted this and helped my argument. Please consider this. Also when you check my citations look at the graphs shown as they help my argument.

6. President Obama has stabilized the national deficit by adding more people to welfare and putting 2 wars (Libya and Afghanistan) on the credit card.

Alright... my mom is in the military. She is a logistics specialist. Basically she sends supplies and troops to the war effort.[6] She just sent 25,000 troops to Iraq, so this debunks my opponents claim. Also she sent over 100,000 troops to Afghanistan as well as more troops to Libya. So the wars in the Middle East were just cut (a little) not entirely gone.

My argument:

My colleague agreed that the president has spent more than any president previous to him (as evidence by [4]) and that president Obama did not keep to his word to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, but instead added to it (as evidenced by [2][3][1][5]).

[1] http://www.cbo.gov...
[2] http://www.usdebtclock.org...
[3] http://www.usdebtclock.org...
[4] http://www.factcheck.org...
[5] www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaQUU2ZL6D8
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
DeFool

Con

Congratulations to my partner for presenting his arguments, I look forward to his closing summary. I will begin my own at once, just as soon as I've a chance to quickly address a few minor, last moment rebuttals.

First, I never said that Obama has spent less than Eisenhower, as was claimed. I simply pointed out that new federal spending is growing at a historically slow rate. In other words, President Obama has slowed the growth of the rate of new federal spending to historic lows. So slow is the rate of new federal spending under Obama, that one must evaluate presidents as far back as Eisenhower to find his tightwadding equal. In order for him to have spent less (in total spending), I am afraid that he would have needed a different predecessor.

Also, although the United States did provide military aid to the people of Libya in the closing days of the Qaddafi regime, this was not a "war." If this type of action can qualify as a form of warfighting, then we have been at war with Palestine for nearly half a century.

Also, and I had thought that this was a typo, and so neglected to draw much attention to it, "stabilize" does not mean what I think my partner thinks that it means. His statements that include this word actually mean that Obama has prevented the damage to our fiscal crisis from becoming worse. If this was intentional, then I appreciate my partners assistance (and chivalry) in arguing on my behalf. If it was not, I would like to remind our judges to please score for grammar.

In the end, it does not matter how many spending items are presented as proof that President Obama has doubled the deficit. With the "PayGo" legislation that he and the Democratic congress passed, all future spending must be offset by cuts in other programs or with new revenues. Besides, and importantly, if these new spending initiatives do not cross the magical threshold of $2.3 trillion in any one year, then my argument that Obama has not crossed that threshold - and doubled the deficit stands. It does not matter if his ears are rather large, or even if he eats kittens. If he has not doubled the annual deficit by being the person responsible for spending more than $2.3 trillion, then my premise has not been dispelled.

And so, here is the final presentation of my argument:

I feel that my argument, that "President Obama has not doubled the national deficit" is justified, and represents an accurate statement of fact. I support this claim with some help from the Congressional Budget Office, the non partisan agency that tracks such records. According to this reputable source, the annual deficit when President Obama took over the budgetary responsibilities of his office, was $1.19 trillion. Today, that deficit has dropped to $1.09 trillion. A necessary condition of "doubling" the deficit is that it must have increased somewhat.

Therefore, I think that my best argument in support of the statement that "President Obama has not doubled the deficit" is to point out that the deficit is lower than when he took office. Also that it never doubled. Also that my partner has fully conceded this fact. Observe: "I will be the first to admit the deficit has not been run up to $2.3 trillion." - The Underdog.

According to the most commonly held rules of debate, such a concession is always seen as fairly conclusive.

I'll separate my premises.

P1. The deficit is lower than when the president took office
P2. In order to have doubled in size, the deficit would have had to have increased by 100%, not shrunk
Conclusion: The deficit has not doubled

Additionally:
According to the US Constitution, all spending must originate in the legislative branch. President Obama cannot legally raise, or spend, any taxpayer money without congressional approval. Therefore, President Obama, as a member of the Executive Branch, could not have doubled the deficit - even if the deficit had doubled. [1] Although the president has a considerable degree of influence throughout this process, he must answer to the congress ultimately. I would have embarassed myself if I had neglected to mention this, at least in passing.

Read my references, look over the fact-checking groups such as Politifact and FactCheck.org, and see. This president has not doubled the deficit. This is an accurate statement of fact.

I would like to thank my debate partner for joining me in this discussion, and I want to encourage any who might have read over this debate to please reward our efforts by voting. Our performances here will be best recognized, by your voting on who is most correct in the question of whether or not the nations annual deficit has doubled over the last three years. I say that it has not, and the CBO and a myriad of fact-checkers agree. Please vote "Con."

[1] Wiki on the US Constitution: http://en.wikipedia.org...
TheUnderdog

Pro

First I would like to thank my colleague for engaging with me in this critical debate. I will just use this last round to give my closing argument/statement.

To my opponent: I would like to thank you. Your arguments and the beginnings to each round tell a lot about you. I respect your opinions and would like this to not be our last debate. In goodsportsmanship, if you win or lose, good debate and hope to do this again soon. Thank you.

To the voters: First, I would like to thank you all for following our debate and would encourage you to vote; for if it is either my opponent or I it would be greatly appreciated by both of us. We are in tough times. If it be by your wallet or by your job, this election matters. It matters because would we want a a man who loves deeply, can create jobs, faith in the military, grow the economy quicker, and more, or do we want a repeat of the next 4 years. Now I know this had nothing to do with my debate, but as I have shown through my arguments the president failed to cut the deficit in half and that matters. It matters because all of you have to deal with it, whether it be by your job or wallet. It matters. When you vote, consider this. Consider your job, family, wallet, faith when you vote in this election. Now in this debate vote who clearly won. Also remember what I said and remember that video. So please vote "pro."

Thank you all and please vote. Have a great day or evening.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Thank you for the offer. I will try and form more generalized debate wording on the stimulus today.
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
@DeFool:

I you would like to debate this topic more than the Stimulus, I will debate it with you if you change the wording.
Posted by TheUnderdog 4 years ago
TheUnderdog
Thank you all for following this debate. It means so much to me to get out there and debate with other like-minded people. I would like to give thanks again to my opponent and to you the voters. This debate has shined a light on one of the many other issues that go on during this presidency and this election. So I would like to thank those you joined in and to my opponent.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
I am grateful that our contest has attracted any attention at all. It is often the case that my debates go almost entirely unnoted.

If I've anyone's attention, I would like to highlight my closing argument, just submitted. In the closing paragraphs I pointed out that all spending must originate with the Congress, and that the annual deficit has been reduced. I also pointed out that Underdog agreed with these arguments.

In other words, the deficit is lower, not "doubled" as Mr. Romney has repeatedly claimed. Combine this fact with the US Constitution, and an interesting rebuttal comes to mind:

"If there has been an explosion of new federal spending under Obama - then it was the Republican Congress who must have written those laws."

The retort that "yeah, but ObamaCare..." should not be heeded. ObamaCare has not been fully implemented yet.
Posted by Rayze 4 years ago
Rayze
Great arguments, can't wait to see how the tide'll change in the debate.
Posted by ConformistDave 4 years ago
ConformistDave
eager to see how this turns out.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
One of the benefits of trolldom, is that we may sing "Eye of the Tiger" at our debate opponents, rather than defending an insupportable argument.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Good lord, I almost sod myself.

It is almost impossible to win a pro-Obama debate on this site, the task would be made even more so were I to have tumbled out of the gate - by mixing my Pro's and Con's.

I once filled my final argument with the lyrics of the theme song to the television series, "Laverne and Shirley." Offhand, I do not remember if I won that debate or not. But I was just about to defend Mitt Romney's case with the lyrics to "Eye of the Tiger" by the 80's one hit wonder group, Survivor.
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
wait nevermind, I was being stupid.
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
so are you actually the pro or are you the con?
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
DeFoolTheUnderdogTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: I have learned the difference between debt and deficit. This debate has been worthwhile. The definition does put the debate firmly in con's tent, although the debate as a whole puts Obama's economic policy in a bad place either way.
Vote Placed by DenyEverything 4 years ago
DenyEverything
DeFoolTheUnderdogTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: " My partner agreed with me that the national deficit has not reached $2.3 trillion as a result of President Obama' s policies. As this is a necessary and sufficient component for my being named the winner of this debate, I ask that this be made a factor as the judges reading along are scoring my performance here." Clear and simple win.
Vote Placed by Rayze 4 years ago
Rayze
DeFoolTheUnderdogTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: After much deliberation, Con made the more convincing arguments
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
DeFoolTheUnderdogTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro seemed to get off topic. The resolution was whether or not Obama has doubled the deficit, not whether or not Obama has halved the deficit.
Vote Placed by emospongebob527 4 years ago
emospongebob527
DeFoolTheUnderdogTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Oh, look what I found................ A concession.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 4 years ago
Ore_Ele
DeFoolTheUnderdogTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro got off topic on the debate. The debate was about if the president had doubled the deficit or not. Pro conceded this and instead argued that Obama failed to keep his promise to cut the deficit in half (as he had promised). Whether this is true or not has no meaning in this debate.