“Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.
But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s…..
Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%.”
The column makes many of the points made on this blog in the past. For example, it points out that when Obama took office in 2009, the fiscal 2009 budget year was already four months underway, driven by spending and revenue programs put into place under President Bush.
If we rank spending increases for presidential budgets since 1980, it looks like this:
Reagan, 1982-85: Annual increase of 8.7 percent
Reagan, 1986-89: Annual increase of 4.9 percent
Bush I, 1990-93: Annual increase of 5.4 percent
Clinton, 1994-1997: Annual increase of 3.2 percent
Clinton, 1998-2001: Annual increase of 3.9 percent
Bush II, 2002-2005: Annual increase of 7.3 percent
Bush II, 2006-2009: Annual increase of 8.1 percent
Obama, 2010-2013: Annual increase of 1.4 percent
(It should be noted that in the interest of fairness and accuracy, the above numbers attribute increased 2009 spending from the Obama stimulus to Obama, who initiated it and signed it into law, rather than to Bush. That’s why the annual increase in the chart — 1.4 percent — is higher than the 0.4 percent mentioned in the column excerpt.)
I understand that this data strike directly at the heart of the GOP caricature of Obama. They contradict the foundation of the conservative rant against this president, not to mention the idolatry directed at Ronald Reagan. And since the data cannot be rebutted — the plain numbers are there for all to see — they will simply be ignored lest millions of heads explode simultaneously.
In that light, I thought I would close with this last little bit of data from the Wall Street Journal article:
“After adjusting for inflation, spending under Obama is falling at a 1.4% annual pace — the first decline in real spending since the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon was retreating from the quagmire in Vietnam.
In per-capita terms, real spending will drop by nearly 5% from $11,450 per person in 2009 to $10,900 in 2013 (measured in 2009 dollars).”
– Jay Bookman