In 2008, Barack Obama ran for president as a candidate for change. Without much of a record to run on, he asked the American people to believe in his ability to turn our fiscal state around. Four years later, his message remains the same. In his 2012 reelection campaign, Obama is asking us to believe in him again—that change will come if we just give him more time. But this time, we need not act on faith alone. Obama now has a record as president, and it’s not a good one.

In 2008, many Americans were frustrated by President George W. Bush’s wasteful fiscal policies, and rightfully so. Bush added almost $5 trillion to the national debt in his eight years in office.

Then-candidate Obama labeled such action as “irresponsible” and even “unpatriotic.” Obama said at a 2008 campaign rally in Fargo, ND:

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents—number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back—$30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

Later in the 2008 campaign, in a domestic-policy debate with Senator John McCain, Obama again emphasized the need to change the nation’s fiscal course. He said,

When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus and the national debt was a little over $5 trillion. It has doubled over the last eight years. And we are now looking at a deficit of well over half a trillion dollars. So one of the things that I think we have to recognize is pursuing the same kinds of policies that we pursued over the last eight years is not going to bring down the deficit.

To bring down the deficit, Obama promised to implement “a net spending cut” to the federal budget. He claimed to be “a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go,” asserting that for “[e]very dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches.” In essence, Obama promised to cap federal spending throughout his presidency if elected.

Based in large part on promises like these, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. And soon after his election, Obama further pledged to reduce deficit spending—in February 2009, he convened a “fiscal responsibility summit” and announced, “[T]oday, I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office.” (The federal deficit was $1.41 trillion in fiscal year 2009.)

Barack Obama broke every single one of these “fiscal responsibility” promises.

For starters, Obama made no effort to fulfill his “net-spending cut” pledge. As the chart below indicates, federal spending increased each year during Obama’s time in office. And Obama cannot blame Congress for these increases because, each year, he actually proposed much MORE spending in his federal budgets than Congress authorized. Obama broke his “net-spending cut” promise every year in office.

Barack Obama's wasteful spending

Because Obama never even proposed a single cut to federal spending, he had almost no chance to fulfill his pledge to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term. And in fact, the federal government ran large deficits every year under Obama, adding $1.3 trillion in FY 2010, $1.3 trillion in FY 2011, and $1.1 trillion in FY 2012. Obama didn’t even come close to keeping his word on this promise.

As a consequence of Obama’s reckless and wasteful spending, the total national debt has risen since he took office from $10.6 trillion in 2009 to over $16.2 trillion today—he has added close to $6 trillion in less than 4 years “all by his lonesome.” By Obama’s own measure, he has proven to be grossly “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”

With such a horrible fiscal record and so many broken promises, it is astounding that Obama thinks he even deserves another term as president. But only in politics is it possible for such failure and dishonor to be rewarded with continued employment.

Just imagine how ridiculous this scenario would be in the business world. Imagine that you own a company that has been losing money. So, you decide to hire a new CEO who sounds great—he promises to cut expenses every year to get your company back on track toward profitability. But as time passes, you learn that he ended up breaking every single fiscal promise he made; that your company’s debt ballooned; that its debt-rating was downgraded; and that, all the while, the new CEO had been throwing excessively lavish parties like those at the White House today (see video below).


If this CEO approached you today, asking to extend his contract—if he again promised that he would turn your business around if you would just believe in him and give him another chance—would you even consider it?

This is the absurd request that Barack Obama is asking of us today. At campaign event last week in Las Vegas, Obama closed his remarks by asking the people to look past his abysmal record as president and instead focus on the empty idea of what he can do in the future for America. He begged, “I need you to keep believing in me.”

We’ve heard this all before, and we know better this time around. So on November 6, let’s finally end the unbelievable failure that is Barack Obama.

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BRIAN VANYO is a political columnist, a board member of the Constitution Leadership Initiative, and the author of “The American Ideology: Taking Back our Country with the Philosophy of our Founding Fathers.” A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Naval War College, and the University of Virginia School of Law, he served in the U.S. Navy and is a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Visit him at


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