Economics, Taxes and Spending

Actually, the Obama spending binge really did happen

Until Barack Obama took office in 2009, the United States had never spent more than 23.5% of GDP, with the exception of the World War II years of 1942-1946. Here’s the Obama spending record:

– 25.2% of GDP in 2009

– 24.1% of GDP in 2010

– 24.1% of GDP in 2011

– 24.3% (estimates by the White House ) in 2012

What’s more, if Obama wins another term, spending—according to his own budget—would never drop below 22.3% of GDP. If that forecast is right, spending during Obama’s eight years in office would average 23.6% of GDP. That’s higher than any single previous non-war year.

Yet financial columnist Rex Nutting of  MarketWatch tries to portray the president as being downright stingy in a piece entitled, stunningly, “Obama spending binge never happened”:

Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree. As would-be president Mitt Romney tells it: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.” 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. Government spending under Obama, including his signature stimulus bill, is rising at a 1.4% annualized pace — slower than at any time in nearly 60 years.

And here’s the chart summarizing Nutting’s argument:

As the chart indicates, Nutting arrives at that 1.4% number by assigning 2009—when spending surged nearly 20%—to George W. Bush: “The 2009 fiscal year, which Republicans count as part of Obama’s legacy, began four months before Obama moved into the White House. The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress. Like a relief pitcher who comes into the game with the bases loaded, Obama came in with a budget in place that called for spending to increase by hundreds of billions of dollars in response to the worst economic and financial calamity in generations.”

Let me complete the metaphor for Nutting: “Then as those runners scored, Obama kept putting more on base.”

Obama chose not to reverse that elevated level of spending; thus he, along with congressional Democrats, are responsible for it. Only by establishing 2009 as the new baseline, something Republican budget hawks like Paul Ryan feared would happen, does Obama come off looking like a tightwad. Obama has turned a one-off surge in spending due to the Great Recession into his permanent New Normal through 2016 and beyond.

It’s as if one of my teenagers crashed our family minivan, and I had to buy a new one. And then, since I liked that new car smell so much, I decided to buy a new van every year for the rest of my life. I would indeed be a reckless spender.

Here is another way Nutting could have framed the spending issue:

The Obama spending record looks a little different now, yes?

248 thoughts on “Actually, the Obama spending binge really did happen

  1. One of the most vapid rebuttals I’ve read in some time. And I read a lot. But I suppose the “relief pitcher” scenario works best for people who are angry and have difficulty with facts and numbers. James, you should try the old, “Ten men go out to dinner” tax anecdote next, once someone points out that Obama is not even close to the tax and spend president that Reagan was. That one always makes the Tea Party faithful smile and nod.

    • And where is the substance in your rebuttal’s rebuttal, Bludogg? I don’t believe the argument was about Reagan. Nor is it intended to excuse the excessive spending of previous administrations. And the substance of JP’s data is correct–Obama took a crisis budget that used over-the-top spending for elusive stimulative purposes, and turned it into a rationale to expand government and create a “new normal” of higher spending and deficits ever since. He did that with the help of a Democrat Congress in power from ’06 and has had little choice but to flatline growth since the Dems were ousted from the House in ’10, where conservatives have been resisting his urges to spend even further ever since. Notable that conservatives have proposed legislation that would return us to near ’08 spending levels but have been shot down by the Pres and the Democrat-controlled Senate. As for Reagan, if you insist, the graph above shows that while Reagan pushed spending as a stimulus in the first couple years of his administration, he subsequently reined it back in–unlike Obama. AND, Reagan’s stimulus worked! He cut taxes and increased federal revenue while helping the private economy to expand creating millions of new jobs.

      • I found the article weak as well. It doesn’t support the headline: a spending binge needs to have a relative baseline. What baseline do we choose? Obama is certainly on a binge compared to Ike. But he isn’t, compared to the most recent benchmark, which is Bush, at least by the questionable metrics used.

        He is saying that Obama needed to REDUCE spending from 2009, in order to avoid being on a binge. That’s at best an awkward argument. But why doesn’t short term stimulus spending get the same pass as the bailouts, since, rightly or wrongly, they had the same rationale of addressing an unusual economic downturn? If Bush gets a short term credit card to fight the recession, doesn’t Obama?

        The real problem is that both sides presented here are missing the point. The relevant question is how much Obama has instituted in permanent spending increases, through things like Obamacare, isn’t it? I’d like to know that number. But this article says nothing about that – it is part of a meaningless debate over meaningless charts.

  2. The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress. Like a relief pitcher who comes into the game with the bases loaded, Obama came in with a budget in place that called for spending to increase by hundreds of billions of dollars in response to the worst economic and financial calamity in generations.”

    Let me complete the metaphor for Nutting: “Then as those runners scored, Obama kept putting more on base.”

    Obama chose not to reverse that elevated level of spending; thus he, along with congressional Democrats, are responsible for it.

    ORLY?

    here, let me add an analogy to your fk’d up metaphor:

    Bush started the war in Afghanistan nearly 11 years ago, and ensured that we would still be there at the end of his term by taking that detour through Baghdad.

    But Obama not only did not completely withdraw from Afghanistan upon taking office in Jan. 2009; he actually added more troops.

    Therefore the complete responsibility for Afghanistan is all his.

    Why would I expect anything other than fatuous partisan hackery from AEI?

  3. Under Obama’s watch, the national debt has increased 5 trillion in 3+years from 10.6 trillion to 15.6 trillion. That is about half again what all preceding presidents accumulated in debt in the preceding 200 + years. Articles have been written using specious mathematical formulae to distort the stratospheric rise in spending under Obama’s watch. Please don’t be fooled by such irresponsible mathematical sophistry. Our federal government’s spending is out of control and if not reined in soon, financial calamity will likely ensue.

  4. Pethokoukis’ main point is valid–that Obama boosted baseline spending as soon as he was sworn in ($552B in new spending just from the stimulus bill he signed in Feb 2009: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_of_2009) and that Nutter’s article does not accurately attribute spending to Bush 43 or Obama.
    True, once Obama jacked up the baseline he has not raised spending much beyond that but to say he has been frugal is highly dishonest.

  5. Typical WPOS conservative-who denies the facts. Nutting is right-the rate of increase is the slowest that it has been in a long time. John Cole is 100% right when he points out quite correctly what a hack you are: “You’d think that would be the end of it. But not when you have outrageous hacks like James Pethokoukis on the case. You all remember him, right? He’s the clown who, in AUGUST OF 2008, was denying that we were in a recession. He then, a few months later in October 2008, was forced to admit we were in recession (since the economy had crashed and the DOW had dropped 5,000 point), decided that the reason the economy tanked and the DOW dropped was because investors were afraid that Obama was leading in the polls, otherwise known as the Goldberg theorem. “

    • Bush denied we were in a recession in August. You people are trying to tell us the economy is awesome under Obama.

      Got news for you – if Obama is re-elected the economy will never recover.

      Luckily Americans, by and large, now know just how stupid you people are.

    • THe last republican congress in 2006 left a deficit of 168 billion. Unemployment was 4.6. Democrats took the purse strings in January of 2007 and have controlled all budgets and spending since. TARP was a democrat congress invention. This Nutter person says the 900 billion stimulus bill was under Bush; what a hilarious lie! Of course totalitarian facists in the democrat party have no ability to tell the truth from outright lies; they can only repeat the bumpersticker they were assigned by their union boss.

      • “TARP was a democrat congress invention.”

        BZZZZTTTTT!!! WRONG!!

        The answer you’re looking for is ‘TARP was proposed by the Bush Administration, pushed by the Bush Administration, and passed by strong bipartisan majorities in both Houses of Congress.

        BTW, Nutting also specifically excluded the Stimulus bill from Bush’s increases. Also, the stimulus bill as not even $800 Billion, let alone $900 Billion, and most of it was tax cuts.

    • TARP and the other spending at the back end of Bush’s last term was supposed to be temporary, not permanent. In fact, I seem to remember some folks talking of such spending as “investments” for which we would be amply repaid. Nothing against the new car smell example provided by the author, but a more realistic example would something along the following lines. Assume that my annual household budget is $70k. My house gets hit by a hurricane in 2009 and I need to spend an additional $10k to repair damages. The next year, rather than go back to my normal budget level of $70k, I continue to spend the same $80k (plus a little extra for inflation) I spent in 2009 for the next three years. My rate of increase may be small over my 2009 disaster-influenced budget, but it is hardly fiscally sound spending.

  6. Wow. Your second graph is just breathtakingly dishonest. I mean, sure, spending as a % of GDP has risen to higher levels – yet you present it as only a function of spending? You should be embarrassed.

  7. The amount of spending doesn’t bother me as much as the amount of overspending, the amount that is added to the Federal debt, and Obama has binged unbelievably by that measure.

  8. GDP growth was negative only for 2009. In 2010 and 2011, GDP was higher than any other prior year. Adjusted to 2005 dollars, GDP is at its highest level – in spite of all the spending. Look it up.
    (http://www.bea.gov/national/xls/gdplev.xls)

    This debunks the argument that spending as a % of GDP is not a valid metric to demonstrate that Obama spending is out of control. To ignore the facts, or try to spin the numbers in a way that denies what is happening is just sad. Obama has no Congressional limits placed on spending since the Senate refuses to pass a budget even though it is their Constitutional responsibility to do so.

    • If you convert Obama’s spending in 2009 to 16th century gold dabloons, then add the impact of the coreolis effect on generating storms which sink ships carrying those dabloons and multiply by the phase of the moon, you then have a metric that is worthy of fox news and the enterprise blog. Kudos spinsters!!

      • I take it that your problem is that the values are adjusted to 2005 dollars, right? You do realize that we do things like that to account for inflation, right? You understand that inflation causes the same dollar value to be worth less that it was previously, right? And that if we don’t account for inflation in one way or another before we compare dollars from one year to another it’s kind of like compareing apples to oranges, right?

        I’m hardly a finacial wizard, but I don’t see any harm in adjusting for inflation. Maybe there is some case to be made against it, but you’re doing a really lousy job of it.

  9. Since the economic crash that Bush, Republicans, and Wall Street guys like Romney caused with their trickle-up economics is what made GDP shrink, it’s pretty hilarious to listen to a Republican flailing his arms to include GDP as an additional variable instead of just accepting the spending figure, when spending itself is the important variable to highlight whatever the GDP is if you ever want to have the mindset to actually do something about reducing spending, and particularly if you believe that reducing spending will ultimately increase GDP in the long run as a conservative.

    You’re the conservative, and I have to explain that to you? LOL FAIL

    You guys just can’t accept that your meme about Obama is wrong, that when you look at spending, Bush is the worst offender in history and Obama has stopped those spending increases completely; moreover, if Obama could have waved a magic wand at the beginning of his term to enact the overwhelming public will on ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich, added the Buffett Rule, and put higher taxes on corporations that outsource jobs, there would be no deficit, and we’d actually be paying down the debt right now. However, Republicans in Congress said no, and so the 2009 baselines you whine about result from those decisions as well as Bush wars Obama couldn’t end immediately, but had to withdraw from responsibility; take out the wars and the rich coddling, and we’d have been running surpluses in 2009. Furthermore, if the Tea Party Congressional members hadn’t blown the Obama/Boehner deal by suddenly claiming they were elected in 2010 on protecting the rich from tax cuts, when they actually ran on cutting debts and deficits, then we would have ANOTHER $4 Trillion Dollars off the debt over ten years.

    Face it, conservatism has not only failed at debt and deficit reduction, it has become its worst and most virulent enemy. If you guys make GDP crash and spend too much taxpayer money, it’s not the next administration’s fault that even when they halt your reckless spending increases immediately, GDP doesn’t fully recover instantaneously to the levels before the economic crash you guys caused. Really, how stupid do you think we voters are? Now you give us a Presidential candidate who believes all your BS, wants even more of the tax burden to go from the rich to the average American, and who has 17 out of 24 Bush administration foreign policy advisers ready to launch conflicts in Iran and Syria that will cost us TRILLIONS of dollars – so much that no Republican or Democrat will never be able to cut OR tax our way out of it, leading to leasing a majority of our debt to China. Anyone who votes Republican in this election doesn’t care about our country, our deficits, or our debt, and is too locked in partisan groupthink to consider data that falls out of their media sphere of like-minded individuals.

    • TARP came from democrat majorities in both houses. In fact since, democrats have held the purse strings since 2007. Strangely all the massive spending under Bush came after 2007 when democrats were in control. This Nutter person assumes that the 900 billion stimulus bill was Bush’s. He is crazy. All the budgets and spending since January 2007 was orchestrated by democrats. Democrats like to pretend they were born yesterday but the massive spending has all been under democrat control.

      • Nobody ever spent more than the Republicans in Congress and The White House from Jan 2001 – Jan 2007. Nobody.

        The policies enacted at that time (Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Bush tax cuts for the rich, and the unaccounted for Medicare part D) cost SEVERAL TRILLION dollars and you think $900 billion (it was actually $700 billion) of stimulus was the problem? Obama and the Democrats couldn’t come close to Republican levels of spending in those six years of horror if they tried – and unlike the stimulus which was 1/3 saving local and state jobs with federal funding, 1/3 tax cuts for the middle class, and 1/3 infrastructure (turning job losses when the bill passed to private sector job gains for two straight years), all of Bush’s multi-trillion dollar policies gave us nothing to show for it and left us with bridges collapsing. That’s the worse part of Republicans spending the most; they create debt, spend like sailors, and yet somehow still invest in nothing.

        Most importantly, though, if you’re so mad about TARP bailing out Wall Street (which Bush requested, signed into law, and Romney supported), why do you now want to have the first Wall Street CEO President ever, Mitt Romney?

        • The “Bush tax cuts for the rich” is a blantant lie, it is a tax cut for all, everyone that pays taxes, that is (since 47% of Americans pay no income tax.) And the Stimulus wasn’t a tax cut for anyone, the stimulus was used asa a slush fund to pay back Obama and the Democrats supporters, like unions and “green energy” comppanies, many which have failed.
          TARP was supported by Obama and ALL the Democrats who voted for it.

    • Your statement derides the facts. Under Bush first 6 years the economy boomed. After the democrats took control of congress, the economy tanked driven by the democrats puppy, the Community Reinvestment Act that you profoundly forget, plus the Federal Reserve (set by Woodrow Wilson a democrat) allowed for derivitives which didn’t helped many financial institutions, and made the government think they were too big to fail.
      Face it, conservatism (like the Reagan years) made America safer and more prosperous than ever before in history, the reason that capitalism has its failures is that democrats cannot leave it to work on it’s own, they need to try to make things fair, by taking from those that work and giving it to those that do not (not just those that cannot).

    • If I met a moron like you I would probably kill you. I am getting so sick of stupid arrogant conceited liberals. You are a complete every expletive there is. It is incredible easy to hate arrogant stupid trash like you. And I know your parents were just like you trash all the way.

    • I couldn’t get past the first paragraph without spewing my coffee all over my keyboard. I assume the rest of your rant is as moronic as the first paragraph. GDP is an three letter acronym (or TLA as I like to call them) and it stands for Gross Domestic Product and it is generally considered on either an annual or annualized basis. Now, you could have taken the time to learn what that stands for and means, but you are a liberal and not very smart or at least intellectually lazy. So, I will splain it to you in little tee-tiny words so you are sure to understand. GDP is what you produce. Think of it as a pie. I like cherry pie so I will use that, but you can think of whatever kind of pie you prefer. Now, my pie needs flour, water, a little milk, some sugar, cherries in cherry syrup, and a pan to put them in. It also needs some work to put all these ingredients together, and an oven to bake them in. All of those ingredients, and all of that work make up our pie. Similarly, the GDP is made up of ALL of the PRODUCT of all sectors of our economy: Consumer spending, Capital Investment, and Government spending. All of that accounts for GDP. So, when the rich get richer, they don’t put their money under their mattress, they put it in a bank or they reinvest it directly. The bank lends that money out to other investors who, in turn, spend on capital investment, hiring employees, and so on. So, your totally retarded statement that “trickle up economics” made the GDP shrink, is simply that, totally and 100% retarded and shows vegetative-like accumen. If the rich get richer, the pie grows, moron.

      Here’s what caused the recession. People started buying houses, lots of them. The borrowed way more money than they could ever pay back. They did this for a decade or more. Finally, banks got to the point that they really couldn’t loan any more money out because they were starting to lose money on debts that were going bad. The price of gas also started going up. People couldn’t afford to drive to work, much less pay their expensive mortgages. They lost their jobs and that caused even more trouble because, now they not only were losing their houses, but they were losing income that could be easily spent. Meanwhile, the cost of gas and interest rates continued to climb. When everything hit critical mass, massive layoffs occurred. The price of gas hit lows it had not seen since prior to GWB because there was so little demand for the stuff. There was less demand because fewer people had jobs to drive to and, with no money, only non-essential travel was committed to. The CONSUMER piece of our GDP pie shrank dramatically and that caused businesses to invest less because, with fewer consumers making purchases, there was less demand for goods and services which caused more layoffs, more foreclosures, and so on.

      The faux demand created by the government only lent the appearance of a recovery. Consumer spending is still way off, capital investment is too. The housing market is still in the toilet and gas prices have skyrocketted again. So, you see dipwad, the rich “keeping all their money” and “making more of it” is actually GOOD for GDP, but with lower consumer demand, businesses have little need for investing in new buildings, ordering new supplies and so on. All the government spending in the world would not right that ship.

    • Shadow you don’t need to explain anyhting to us. Forget GDP and compare Obama’s total spending figure to any point in history and tell me what the chart looks like. FAIL. Loser…

  10. Using GDP is an utterly silly measure. Take, for example, defense spending. Bush committed us to certain DOLLARS of defense spending, not a certain percentage of GDP. As GDP fell going into the recession (something like -7% in 2008 Q4), there would have to have been massive defense spending cuts to match the percentage of GDP spent prior to the recession. Ditto for every other program. Cutting food assistance, unemployment, Medicaid and housing assistance during a recession might keep us at the same percentage of GDP, but how does that make any sense?

    • GDP is the only baseline you can use. What else can you use as gauge spending ? It’s the only data point that takes into account size of the economy vs spending. Would you look at 1923 spending levels vs what they are today ? No, you use it relative to GDP. Nice post James. You can’t use the largest spending year in the history of our country as a baseline for future years.

  11. In 2007 when democrats took majorities in both houses unemployment was 4.6%. When Obama was elected unemployment was 6.8%; today it is 8.6% … and there are 6 million fewer work seekers than 2007. If you add those lost workers back to the mix unemployment is 17%. Regular gasoline per gallon cost $1.68 in January 2009. Today, it’s $3.39 — that’s a 102% increase in just three years. Electricity bills have also skyrocketed up some $400 a year. Since December 2008, under democrat majorities in both houses, food-stamp use has increased 46%. Nearly 20% of males age 25 to 34 now live with their parents. The budget has jumped to $3.8 trillion under democrats and yet revenue is only $2.1 trillion. America’s total public debt stands at $15.63 trillion; in January 2009, the debt was $10.62 trillion. Obama is on pace to borrow $6.2 trillion in just one term — more debt than was amassed by all presidents from Washington through Bill Clinton combined. The debt is rising by $4.2 billion every day — $175 million per hour, nearly $3 million per minute.
    When the Democrats took over Congress in January 2007, unemployment was 4.5 percent. It is now 8.6 percent. The budget deficit created by the outgoing Republican Congress was only $161 billion. It is now $1.7 trillion. The total outstanding debt in January 2007 was $8.7 trillion. It is now $15.8 trillion. Before the Democrats took control of everything, America’s credit rating was AAA. It is now AA+.
    The ‘Community Re-Investment Act’ was used by democrats to pressure banks to give home loans to unqualified borrowers. This created so much uncollectable debt that Freddie and Fannie were created to try to cushion the bad debt load on the economy. Although repeatedly warned of impending collapse by McCain, Bush, and many others, Frank and Dodd simply refused to allow any attempts to prevent the recession.
    After almost five years of democrat budgets the deficit is 1.7 trillion a year and real unemployment (U6) is at 17%.

  12. Does anyone believe that the Bush spending in 2009 was a genuine “one-off,” that had Bush remained in office, or had McCain or Romney taken office, that they would have reduced spending to pre-2009 levels in 2010? You think the teabaggers had large crowds. Or 10% was a high unemployment rate.

    This wasn’t even a good try, ‘Kouk. You can make stats say just about anything, but this was mostly just babbling.

  13. Once again, this analysis by Pethokoukis is complete garbage. He conveniently forgets that there was a recession that needs to be taken into account. There was a very elegant, clever, and smart analysis done all the way back last summer. So there shouldn’t even be this question about Obama’s spending; it should already be well-known he has been very frugal in comparison to the Republicans that came before him. That there is just shows there’s an attempt to alter reality. And the pathetic quality of that deflection, as evidenced by Pethokoukis’ “analysis” is indicative of the desperation of Team Republican to convince Useful Idiots that their Fox educations are serving them well.

    Here’s the analysis, and I hope the geniuses at AEI and their Useful Wingnut sycophants can understand it (though to tell the truth, I’m not very confident):

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/the-truth-about-federal-spending/

    • ImanAS-S,

      It is decidedly not frugal to take what should have been a ONE-TIME increase in spending in response to a crisis, and institutionalize it.

      The Democratic Party-controlled Congress and President Obama have done this, and the Senate (still controlled by the Democrats) have not even had the cojones to pass a budget since Mr. Obama has been President.

      The only desperation exhibited is on the part of the Democrats to change the subject.

      • This is one of those times, TX, when I wish we could divide the country into those who don’t get it and those who do. You would find that those who don’t get it would despise total control by Republicans, and the debt would skyrocket while your infrastructure would crumble. In the other country (of people who get it), we’d have lower taxes for almost everyone and the civil services we need.

    • iman Antisupply-Sider – out of desperation I must say what I feel. I am one of those useful idiot’s that our liberal friend quotes in his little missive above. You can feel his liberal credentials play out with the, use of elegant, clever, and smart when referring to himself or other liberals and of course pathetic, useful idiots, useful wingnut sycophants when referring to those of us in the lower echelon of society; conservatives.

      You liberals use the same crap everytime you speak, write or picture us poor dumb asses who are not intelligent enough to turn the key to start the car let alone compete with you on the same stage. YOU SPEAK WE QUAVER IN FEAR, YOU WRITE WE NO CAN READ, YOU WALK DOWN THE HALL WE QUIVER IN FEAR, WE NOT AS INTELLIGENT AS YOU, WE NOT CAPABLE OF CARRYING OUT YOUR GARBAGE. You sir, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, all speak the same language bow at Obama’s feet and one day when our freedom is gone you will run to the pier to welcome those you allowed through your weakness to take over this great and free nation. God help us all if you have your liberal way!!!!!!

    • Iman, you are a liar. There really isnt any other way to put it. In fact, every single sentence you wrote is a lie. Its amazing the depths that LIBs will plunge. Even I am surprised at this one. You are like something out of the old Soviet Union, or maybe Baghdad Bob.

    • So the Stimulus package, the Omnibus bill, the auto bailout, the “cash for clunkers”, and all other spending lobbied for by Barack Obama, voted for and passed by a Democrat congress, goes to GWB? Fine. Then we have GWB to thank for “creating and saving” all of those jobs and for pulling us out of the recession. Which story to YOU like better? Not to mention the fact that this line of bs subtly confesses the Tea Party position that all of this excess spending is BAD. I thought the Tea Party was wrong? I thought that what we needed to get us out of the worst recession in our lifetimes was a ton of spending that Bush was unwilling to commit to? Talk about intellectual dishonesty.

      • And not a one of you can refute Krugman’s elegant analysis. There’s a reason for that, actually two possibly: 1) you don’t understand it because you’re economically illiterate, which would not be surprising given you’re wingnuts, and 2) Krugman is right.

        2) is given. Krugman is correct. And he takes into account all the things Pethokoukis misses (either intentionally or not).

        1) is almost certainly the case, also. You boys just don’t do reality real well anymore. You’re wrong on EVERYTHING: on economics (SSE doe NOT work), on science (the debate on AGW is OVER; there is no dispute), on morality.

        Now back to the drawing boards and Fox, wingnuts. You have some reality to mis-represent.

  14. Well this is typical misuse of numbers, and more importantly, either a malicious obfuscation or an ignorant application of one metric of spending. By looking at share of GDP rather than annualized growth, you must also control for things like collapse in tax revenue due to recession and policies like tax cuts. By misusing this metric James is doing what the demagogues do. Either way, he’d be fired as an analyst at any major company for providing misleading or misinformed information

    • You need to be fired with a bullet you idiot. I am getting so sick of stupid idiot liberals who think they are smart. Your mother should have been forced to have an abortion. Better yet the world could have been saved from two really stupid people if both of your parents were aborted.

    • Al,
      Look at Krugman’s analysis from last summer. It correctly takes the things you mentioned into account. And it shows there was NO spending binge by Obama. The deficits and debt are, for the most part — about 90% — due to irresponsible Bush Administration mismanagement of fiscal America along with the complicit Republican Congresses that passed every bit of his garbage.

      Here’s Krugman:
      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/the-truth-about-federal-spending/

      When you consider the Great Recession is the direct result of 30+ years of failed conservative/Republican ideas — government bad, unfettered markets goods, Invisible Hand of short-term-interested individuals solves all of society’s short-term and long-term problems, deregulation good, …, and more stupid ideology — you’d think Republicans and conservatives would be embarrassed and remorseful. You’d be wrong of course. They have no consciences and very little insight.

  15. the 2009 budget was passed by a democratic congress, vetoed by Bush and signed into law by Obama in the first days of his term. btw, that was the last budget the democratic senate

    It IS fair to give TARP to Bush, he signed it – though Obama endorsed it and it was passed by a democratic majority congress – but most of TARP has been paid back, and handed back out to AIG and others in the back door bailout by Treas Sec Geithner with O’s approval.

    Giving any part of 2009 spending to bush or any republican is a complete misrepresentation of what happened.

  16. Al & Iman Anti Supply-Sider are obviously liberal drones!

    I don’t think that they would recognize the truth if it hit them in the head!

    • And yet you can’t refute what I’ve asserted. Your challenge: refute Krugman’s analysis. And here’s what will happen: you won’t because you can’t. And that is because Krugman is right and you and Pethokoukis are wrong.

      Have a good day.

  17. What a ridiculously stupid post, James.

    Spending has grown very modestly; in fact, it has SHRUNK, adjusted for inflation, under Barack Obama.

    • You should really learn to read and comprehend the articles about which you comment. Then you wouldn’t look so much like a partisan fool.

    • Even if TARP were assigned to Bush — even though Obama disbursed the most of it to his select recipients — the Stimulus of some $840 Billion AND the Omnibus FY 2009 increase of $410 Billion [roughly a 20% budget increase] are all on Obama. And it is from that point, FY 2009 total, that Obama has roughly maintained.

      Or to put it another way, Obama added roughly $ 1.25 Trillion to the 2009 budget, and has done little or nothing to reduce expenditures from that point. Politically, he has been unable to spend in the manner he wanted in FY 2010, 2011 and 2012, but he got a running start with FY 2009.

    • Barak Obama as a senator was one of those who voted FOR this budget. So whether you say he wasn’t president or not, his fingerprints are on it.

    • @Sharmarke:

      A comparison of federal spending vs GDP is not going to be affected at all by inflation. Inflation or not, if you are consuming 24% of the country’s economy, you are consuming 24% of the country’s economy.

      Try again.

    • Struggle with the hide the pea game, don’t cha? If x is the baseline and y is the bailout/stimulus, if the spending had gone by year: x, x+y, x, x, Obama would be telling the truth. But he ain’t. The spending went x, x+y, x+y, x+y.

    • The thing that bothers me is that that old debt clock use to read 10 trillion, now it reads 15 trillion, and I can’t figure out how we have acquired more debt in the last 5 years than all of time since Rome fell if we have decreased spending. The point is- spending is way way too high and Obummer and King George before him are the problems. The solution is simple- stop spending and have NO increase or DECREASED spending for 30 years. Otherwise we are all dead.

  18. Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

    Republican and Conservative numbers focus on Debt, where Obama’s record has been lousy. Democratic and Progressive numbers focus on spending, where Obama’s record has been largely successful. The true picture is somewhere in the middle. Obama is neither the “Worst President Ever” nor is he the “Savior of the Economy.”

    Politifact has a very good analysis of this situation:
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/23/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-s/

    Read the “Explaining the Results” section near the bottom of the page for some bottom-line explanations.

  19. Could anyone explain where the five trillion dollars went, so I can explain it to my grandchildren when they find out that there lives are blighted by debt?
    I know that five trillion dollars would have made 5,000,000 millionaires.
    That I would have noticed and understood.
    But Bush’s and Obama’s trillions sank like a rock in a pond, with nary a ripple, so it seemed.
    Would anyone please explain where our children’s futures went?

  20. Who the hell measures spending as a fraction of GDP? Spending is measured in dollars, not a fraction of everything produced. What if there was a recession or something that reduced the GDP? OH WAIT… there was one. Freaking retarded.

  21. Politifact says that the low spend rate of the President is mostly true. Let the right-wing attacks against Politifact begin, for ruining their fantasy with a heavy dose of objectivity.

    • Hey no brain, that is a much better name for you than end game. Moron politfact is strongly liberally biased. Why don’t you add that into your little sentence. I am so sick of stupid morons like you. Typical liberal in love with themselves but lacking anything in their heads at all.

    • Obviously you didn’t read or understand the article. That is the biggest problem that those of us who do get it face in this and every election. Go back to sleep…the great Obama will take care of you.

  22. You liberals that think obama is good for this country are wearing blinders or were educated in ecomomics at Harvard or have some goverment pension or contract that makes YOU money. I swear, I have never seen such selfish people as liberals, they can’t leave other people alone. Everbody must do and believe what they believe, or if they see something that offends them then they don’t turn away they make everybody not see whatever it is that they are offended by, which is everything.

    So, why don’t you harvard, ivy leage eduated dumb asses leave us hard working producing Americans alone and mind your own nitten and not vote this November because you liberals don’t know shit from shinola. I wonder if you somehow benifit from giving misery to people who produce.
    It must be that you liberals are so inept that when you get power you want to punish. Shame on you. Of course, you liberals are too stupid to realize that you are taking our freedom and our way of life. You idiots will not stop until it is all gone and then and only then will you realize your utter stupidy. I plan on doing everything I can to stop Obama and you liberal useful idiots. Geez.

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