Debt Crisis Timeline:
1969: Under Republican president Richard Nixon, the Federal government goes into debt. This is not the first time we have run a deficit, but it is the first one to last for more than just a few years. A limit, a debt ceiling, is put on it.
1980: Ronald Reagan runs for president, promising a balanced budget
1981 - 1989: With support from congressional Republicans, Reagan runs enormous deficits. Adding $2 trillion to the debt, increasing its size by 186%, the largest percentage increase in any 8-year period. During this time, the debt ceiling is raised 17 times, without hassles or haggling, without special deals, without promises to cut anything. Many social programs are cut, accompanied by the largest tax increase in history, but this is not tied to raising the debt ceiling.
1993: Bill Clinton passes economic plan that lowers deficit, gets zero votes from congressional Republicans.
1993 - 1998: The debt ceiling is raised 4 times, without hassles or haggling, without special deals, without promises to cut anything.
1998: U.S. deficit disappears for the first time in three decades. Debt clock is unplugged.
2000: George W. Bush runs for president, promising to maintain a balanced budget.
2001: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows the United States is on track to pay off the entirety of its national debt within a decade.
2001 - 2009: With support from congressional Republicans, Bush runs enormous deficits, adds nearly $5 trillion to the debt. This increase of 72% is a distant second to Reagan's record-setting increase. Along with this, the debt ceiling is raised 7 times, without hassles or haggling, without special deals, without promises to cut anything.
2002: Dick Cheney declares, “Deficits don’t matter.” Congressional Republicans agree, approving tax cuts, two wars, and Medicare expansion without even trying to pay for them.
2009: Barack Obama inherits $1.3 trillion deficit from Bush; Republicans immediately condemn Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility.
2009 - 2010: Congressional Democrats unveil several domestic policy initiatives — including health care reform, cap and trade, DREAM Act — which would lower the deficit. GOP opposes all of them, while continuing to push for deficit reduction.
September 2010: In Obama’s first fiscal year, the deficit shrinks by $122 billion. Republicans again condemn Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility.
October 2010: S&P endorses the nation’s AAA rating with a stable outlook, saying the United States looks to be in solid fiscal shape for the foreseeable future.
November 2010: Republicans win a U.S. House majority, citing the need for fiscal responsibility.
December 2010: Congressional Republicans demand extension of Bush tax cuts, relying entirely on deficit financing. GOP continues to accuse Obama of fiscal irresponsibility.
March 2011: Congressional Republicans declare intention to hold full faith and credit of the United States hostage — a move without precedent in American history — until massive debt-reduction plan is approved.
July 2011: Obama offers Republicans a $4 trillion debt-reduction deal. GOP refuses, pushes debt-ceiling standoff until the last possible day, rattling international markets.
August 2011: S&P downgrades U.S. debt, citing GOP refusal to consider new revenues. Republicans rejoice and blame Obama for fiscal irresponsibility
Debt Crisis Timeline
Debt Crisis Timeline: