Republicans have worked hard to paint President Obama as profligate spender, and to some degree they’ve succeeded. In fact, if you want to see evidence of that success, stay tuned and watch the reaction as that depiction is refuted by cold, hard irrefutable facts.
Let’s begin at the beginning:
In a report to Congress released on Jan. 8, 2009 — almost two weeks before President Obama took office — the Congressional Budget Office projected that federal spending in fiscal 2009 would reach $3.54 trillion (the actual number turned out to be $3.52 trillion). In other words, that was the level of spending in effect before Obama took the oath of office (remember, fiscal 2009 had begun Oct. 1, 2008). (see Table 5, page 16 of Budget and Economic Outlook: 2009 to 2019)
Since then, federal spending has been flat. According to CBO numbers released Monday, total federal spending in fiscal 2010 was $3.46 trillion; in the recently ended fiscal 2011, it was $3.6 trillion.
Over the first two fiscal years of the Obama presidency, spending increased $80 billion, or 2.27 percent. For comparison’s sake, over the first two fiscal years of the Bush presidency, spending increased by $300 billion, or 16 percent. (None of these numbers is adjusted for inflation).
Yes, the election of a Republican House in 2010 had something to do with restrained spending. But it’s interesting to note that in fiscal 2010 — before the GOP takeover — spending fell from 2009 numbers. In fact, that was the first actual year-to-year decline in federal spending that I can find dating back to 1965.
– Jay Bookman