Politifact Virginia: Federal debt during Allen's Senate term

In last week's Politifact Virginia report we looked at a claim by former Governor George Allen in the first U.S. Senate debate. Today we look at claim from his opponent former Governor Tim Kaine.

"You want to compare my record with the Senators, who turned the biggest surplus in the history of the United States into the biggest deficit, increasing the federal debt by $16,000 every second of the six years he served, sleeping, eating, working; that's what the debt was doing when George Allen was a United States senator," said Kaine.

Did the federal debt go up that quickly while George Allen was a senator? The reporters of Politifact Virginia say yes it is "true".

George Allen served in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2007. He voted on many budgets and when calculating how much the debt went up under his tenure the math is pretty simple.

If you calculate Allen's term in seconds it works out to more than 189 million seconds in office. The debt rose $2.95 trillion during that time.

If you divide the time by the amount and Kaine is right...15,555.38 dollars per second, rounded up the $16,000 figure is on the mark.

But while that record doesn't sound very good, Politifact Reporter Warren Fiske points out that it has been much worse during President Obama's time in office.

"The deficit has gone up by $48,994.13 a second since President Obama came into office. It's reasonably a much bigger rate than the time George Allen was in the Senate," he said.

You can see all the information behind this week's Politifact Virginia report on their web site, www.politifactvirginia.com.

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