Let’s keep it simple. The above chart is simply annual federal spending, adjusted for inflation, based on info from the White House Office of Management and Budget. I give credit (or blame) for the first year of spending in a presidential term to the previous term. I also shift $140 billion of 2009 stimulus spending from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, placing it in 2010, just like that now-infamous MarketWatch analysis. (If possible, I would have liked to have made some adjustment that reflected the role of a Democrat-controlled Congress in boosting spending from 2007-2010 and a GOP-controlled House in limiting it starting in 2011.)
What the chart shows, I think, is this: Obama took advantage of a big surge in spending in 2009 and made it a permanent spending floor rather than a ceiling. Notice, in 2017—eight years after the official end of the Great Recession—spending continues to be elevated.
Here is another way of looking at it:
And as I noted the other day:
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.