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President Obama and his allies on the Left want you to believe that government spending is under control. They want you to believe that this economic downturn will only go away with government help. They want you to believe that the President is not a big spender.
There’s just one problem. It’s not true.
White House spokesman Jay Carney went so far as to castigate the press recently for “not doing their homework” on this issue. He lectured the White House press corps, saying:
The rate of spending — federal spending — increase is lower under President Obama than all of his predecessors since Dwight Eisenhower, including all of his Republican predecessors.
But as a recent Washington Post piece by Glenn Kessler explains, this statement is incorrect: it’s the result of selective interpretation of the data. In fact, the Post gave Carney’s claim a veracity rating of “three Pinocchios” (translation: it’s a whopper).
The truth is federal spending has gone up dramatically under President Obama. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers.
An easy way to analyze federal spending is to compare the size of spending to the overall US economy. Pulling from official White House documents, Kessler shares this handy figure:
2008: 20.8 percent
2009: 25.2 percent
2010: 24.1 percent
2011: 24.1 percent
2012: 24.3 percent
2013: 23.3 percent
Note the massive surge in spending in 2009, President Obama’s first year in office. Remember the stimulus package? It seems to have been the beginning to the President’s dangerous spending binge.
While it’s true that it’s Congress, not the President, who passes a budget, we see some worrisome trends when we look at how much spending President Obama has requested. Using CBO estimates for the President’s yearly budget proposals, Kessler observes that Obama consistently wanted more money than Congress was willing to give him. In 2010, his budget would have spent $3.67 trillion, but Congress only enacted $3.46 trillion. In 2011, he wanted to spend $3.80 trillion; Congress passed $3.60 trillion.
Just how much has spending increased under this President? The article Carney cited in his press conference made the ridiculous claim that Mr. Obama’s spending annual growth rate was a mere 1.4%. Kessler calculates in his article that the actual annual growth rate is closer to 3.3%.
Can America afford a 3.3% increase in federal spending every year? Of course not. America is already at a critical point economically, and many economists believe we’re likely to experience a Greece-style debt crisis in the next few years, unless we get our fiscal affairs in order and make reforms that shrink the size of government and slow the growth of the national debt.
It’s time the Obama administration owned up to the dangerous economic road they’re leading us down. And it would also be nice if they’d bother to fact-check their own record before lecturing the rest of us.
For another example of the Left trying to rewrite economic history, see our article on Who REALLY Increased the Debt?