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January 26, 2015

The Spending Spree that Never Happened

Of all the falsehoods told about President Obama, Rex Nutting notes “the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.”

“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.”

  • pageiv

    So spending is rising but but Obama hasn’t increased spending.  Makes sense.  

    • Delphi

       What?  No, the point is spending is rising yes, but at less than the historical rate of increase.  The rhetoric that spending has grown in an abnormal manner is not an accurate description.

    • Marc83

      Yes, spending always increases. It does so as a function of inflation
      and population growth. If you don’t make those increases it’s the
      equivalent of cutting spending.

    • ProfitOverLife

       Easily confused?  About the math or the english?

  • hawkny1

    Spell it out Rex!  Put the numbers out there for all to see.

    • R aukodraug

      If you click through to the article, you will see a pretty little chart that shows the annualized growth rate under each president since Reagan first term.

      Next time try reading the article.

    • bobzaguy

      • In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion.

      • 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%.

  • Sobe

    he did….in the link.   Click on his name

  • Pingback: Federal spending under Obama at historic lows - Politics - The Detroit News()


    As usual, the reality is much more complex than what is shown here.  Mr. Bush submitted a budget of $3.1 trillion against an anticipated GDP of nearly $15 trillion.  During 2008, when the Democrats controlled the House and barely had control of the Senate, they indicated that they expected to spend nearly $25 billion more in discretionary spending than Mr. Bush’s budget.  The President indicated he would veto such legislation.  During the spring and summer of 2008 some appropriations passed, some were managed under continuing resolutions, and as the election approached the remainder were left until the election.

    Following the election, Mr. Bush deferred to Mr. Obama on some matters, and the Congress refused to move any other expenditures until the Democrats had control of the government in the new year.  The final budget for FY 2009 was just short of $3.55 trillion and was signed by Mr. Obama on 12 March 2009.  Clearly Mr. Bush can be tagged with $3.1 trillion, but the responsibility for the remaining $.45 trillion is shared by Presidents Bush and Obama and Congress, especially the congressional Democrats.

    From FY 2006 (which ended just before the Democrats took the house and gained in the Senate through FY 2009 the Federal expenditures increased from $2.655 trillion to $3.55 trillion (33%) in three years. 

    What is really worrisome, however, is the projections from the Obama administration.  From 2000 through 2008 Federal government spending as a percentage of GDP had varied from 18.2% of GDP to 20.8%; FY 2009 reached 25.2%; FY 2010, 24.1; and FY 2011, 24.1.  For FY 2012 it is projected to reach 24.3%; FY 2013, 23.3; FY 2014, 22.6% and, with ups and downs, retreating tp 22.5% in 2017.  In other words, Mr. Obama never expects to return expenditures to their forty year average of approximately 20.5% of GDP.  Even more worrisome is that in order to eliminate the budget deficit, Mr. Obama expects to be able to increase the tax receipts from the country from approximately 15% of GDP to 19.2% leaving a current gap of nearly 3.5% of GDP after recovery.  This is not realistic. 

    • ProfitOverLife

      So in order for Obama to escape blame, he should have vetoed the 2009 budget, possibly shutting down the government.  At the beginning of the Supreme Bush Depression.

      Two questions:

      Is that what John “the fundamentals of the 2008 economy are sound, so I’m going to give your social security to the richest” McCain would have done?


      How much do you think all those soup lines would have cost? (For the next 8 years or so, just like after Hoover said in 1929 the same thing McCain did in 2008.)

      • ASRKC

        Your are myopic.  The blame rests on the Democrats in Congress who accelerated spending dramatically after their election victory in 2006.  They won and so they get to govern.  Now Mr. Obama can be blamed in part because he was a Senator during that time and did vote for some of this accelerated spending.  The simple argument of Mr. Nutting is incomplete and misleading.  Besides, we are electing for the future, and Mr. Obama’s design, at least as it stands now, needs revision.

        There is a new book out (which I haven’t yet read) by a retired venture capitalist which argues that the US economy was very strong.  Unintended Consequences.  Might be worth a perusal. 

        Hoover’s election was in 1928, the stock market crash was in 1929.  Most economists now agree that the extreme degree of the depression felt in the early 1930s was the result of a shrinkage in the higher definitions of the money supply (M2, M3.)  We are lucky, that hasn’t happened.  Mr. Bernanke  is one of the leading experts on the depression, and his handling of the money supply has been outstanding.  By the way, Mr. Bush recommended his elevation to the chairman’s chair, a brilliant action.

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  • bpai99

    Fortunately, for the GOP today facts don’t matter or have a liberal bias. Any statistics or science that disagrees with conservative principles are garbage. Conservatives know what is right and don’t need facts to cloud their thinking.

    • ProfitOverLife

       That’s because conservatives are so EASILY confused.  For example, about Obama’s nationality and religion, about who burned the economy to the ground and when, about who has slowed the recovery, about who raised or lowered taxes, about who got Bin Laden, about how lowering federal revenue supposedly LOL raises it, about who wants to steal their social security and who the money will be given to, and about just about everything else.

      I wonder if they will be this confused at the polls, trying to decide who to vote for, considering Obama is to the right of Reagan and Romney’s past “principles” were to the left of Obama.

  • Yossi

    Here is why his headline and actual story is misleading at best:1) While in regular times a budget gets approved months earlier, the FY2009 budget was pieced tighter in many separate votes and bills, one of them signed on… March 12 2009 by… President Obama! AP wrote back then the “bill includes significant increases” on a host of things. But of course it’s Bush Fault. Right?2) Obama was a member of the Senate Majority who… approved the FY2008 and FY2009 budgets. It’s of his making either way. He didn’t arrive to Washington in January 2009 as a Governor. Senator Obama in the majority party since 2007 created the mess together with Pelosi and Reid.3) Much of the 2009 spending (from TARP, to Stimulus, to Auto Bailout, to Loan Modifications), were officially one time things. However, four years later and we are still spending well above the 2008 levels. A Spending Binge indeed!4) Much of the 2009 spending were officially “loans” and “investments” that Obama claims were “paid back” by the Auto Industry and others. As such, it’s inaccurate to claim that all the money that left Treasury in 2009 was “spending.”5) Even if you want to ignore all of the above notes; a headline reading “Obama Didn’t Increase Spending Much Since 2009″ would have been more accurate. But to suggest that we are not on a Spending Binge just because Government outlays didn’t increase much since the year that we spent officially on one-time things and loans is spin of the highest order.

    Read more:

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  • John Bentley

    Why do the media and the Democrats let the Republicans get away with such falsehoods.  Federal spending has actually increased at far faster rates under Republican Presidents like George W. Bush than under Obama.  It’s just a fact – David Gregory et al – call it like it is for once!

    • ASRKC

      It is a question of the spending in relation to the GDP.  As the economy grows the Federal government should spend more in dollar terms (if we were spending what we were during President Reagan’s term in dollars, we would have a huge budget surplus, but we would only be funding defense.)  What is relevant is the size of the budget relative to the economy. 

      During Bush’s term the economy grew from $10 to $14.3 Trillion, in round numbers, so that the government’s spending could grow.  Note, during his term in office the relative share of the GDP spent by the government was between 18.2% and 20.8% of the GDP.  For 40 years this has averaged around 20% (and revenue around 18.5%)  The standoff between the Republican led Congress and President Clinton – they wanting to cut taxes, he raise spending – combined with what seemed a stable, non-threatening world situation, led to a decrease of the government’s spending vs the economy, while at the same time an increase in tax revenues caused by the acceleration of tech spending caused by the Y2K issue, and capital gains from stock sales during the tech bubble, led to the huge budget surplus in the late 1990s.  In an inverse of what we see now, govt. spending dropped and revenue rose to 20% of GDP (hitting 22% for one quarter.)  There was worry that there would not be enough publicly held debt to manage the money supply and the economy.  Very different today.

      Democrats believe in public programs and spending, Republicans usually don’t.  Mr. Nutting’s information, as discussed above, is slight off.

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