You’ve heard of lies, damned lies, and statistics? Well, here’s Exhibit A: a column at MarketWatch by Rex Nutting.
Nutting’s column, titled “Obama spending binge never happened,” has caused a lot of excitement among people who would like to believe it’s true. And the bottom-line numbers — which are as far as Nutting goes in his column — do show that total spending has risen more slowly between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2013 than you might have otherwise believed. Annual federal spending growth during President Obama’s first term, Nutting’s numbers show, has been 1.4 percent. That would be slower than in any of the seven previous terms, dating to the beginning of the Reagan years. Going out of his way to be even-handed, Nutting even graciously attributes Obama’s “stimulus” spending in FY09 to Obama rather than to George W. Bush, under whom that fiscal year began.
What a guy!
But what Nutting’s surface-level “analysis” fails to acknowledge — aside from the fact that he’s giving