Federal debt as percent of GDP reaches post-WWII record high
New data released Monday by the Federal Reserve shows that U.S. federal debt has reached a post-WWII record high, now at 104.3% of GDP in Q4 of 2015.
The previous record was set in Q1 of 2014 at 103.6% of GDP.
In Q4 of 2008, the last full quarter before President Barack Obama came to office, federal debt was 73.5% of GDP – 31% of GDP below its current value.
Obama has, by far, overseen the largest increase in federal debt as a share of the American economy among all presidents during the past half-century. George W. Bush is in second place with a 19.4% increase in federal debt as a percent of GDP during his two terms, followed closely by Ronald Reagan at 18.5%. In just one term, George H.W. Bush oversaw a 12.8% increase in federal debt as a percent of GDP.
During the presidencies of Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford/Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, federal debt declined.