Right Wing Claims That Obama Is A Big Spender Are No More True Than Birther Claims.

As I’ve pointed out many times before, including here, here, and here, conservative Republican presidents, especially George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan,  have been responsible for the major increases in government spending in recent years and the deficit. The frequent right wing claims that Barack Obama is a big spender are no more true than the right wing claims that Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. Rex Nutting at Market Watch has posted essentially the same findings which I had in the previous posts on this subject, updating them through the 2013 budget

Nutting found that  “under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.”

He also found that, after years of growth, federal spending has leveled off under Obama and in fiscal year 2013,  “spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion.”

Note that one way that conservatives falsely inflate Obama’s spending is by attributing the 2009 budget to Obama, but the 2009 budget was passed before Obama took office.

It is also notable that much of the spending under Obama was based upon policies from George Bush, including two wars and Bush’s unfunded Medicare D program. Even the stimulus spending was necessitated by the recession caused by Republican policies. In terms of the deficit, matters were made worse by the Bush tax cuts, and by decreased tax revenues due to the Bush recession.

A couple other conclusions from Nutting:

After adjusting for inflation, spending under Obama is falling at a 1.4% annual pace — the first decline in real spending since the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon was retreating from the quagmire in Vietnam.

In per-capita terms, real spending will drop by nearly 5% from $11,450 per person in 2009 to $10,900 in 2013 (measured in 2009 dollars).

Update: Michael Linden responded to the criticism of this data here. Bottom line is that it is valid to attribute most of the fiscal year 2009 spending to Bush rather than Obama as the spending for fiscal year 2009 was already planned and would have occurred regardless of who was president.

Even if the 2009 spending were incorrectly attributed to Obama, note that we still see spending level off and drop under Obama, which also contradicts the right wing claims about spending under Obama.

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12 Comments

  1. 1
    connie b says:

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  2. 2
    John Sonntag says:

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  3. 3
    BTDC says:

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  4. 4
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  5. 5
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  6. 6
    Dances With Fascists says:

    Right Wing Claims That Obama Is A Big Spender Are No More True …: As I've pointed out many times before, inclu… http://t.co/4Nd88rXn

  7. 7
    Liberal Effects says:

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  8. 8
    osl says:

    Nutting’s article points out correctly that the massive spending increase under Bush in 09 has been held steady under the Obama Administration.
    I admit, holding spending steady is better than a massive increase. Unfortunately, Obama is holding steady the highest spending levels this country has ever seen. The fact is Obama has spent more in his first few years than any other president ever has before him.
    So don’t be fooled into believing that Obama is a fiscal conservative. I thank Obama for not increasing spending drastically as Bush did, but it’s also clear to me that he picked the worst time to hold them steady.
    http://onesquarelight.wordpres.....g-spender/

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    The point is that conservative arguments against Obama as a big spender make no sense. He is more fiscally conservative than the Republicans.

    In comparing Obama’s spending to Bush, it is also necessary to consider that much of Obama’s spending was set up by Bush. This includes the two wars which Bush wanted to fight off the books. It includes Bush’s Medicare D plan–Bush even threatened to fire the head Medicare actuary if he testified before Congress as to how much this program cost.

    Obama’s fiscal conservative side would have been clearer if he hadn’t come into office at at time when spending was needed due to the Bush recession. In retrospect it turns out that Obama spent too little, not too much, on the stimulus.

  10. 10
    foreverLiberal says:

    Slowest spending in decades. http://t.co/fKsUQJyP

  11. 11
    confused says:

    I Don’t get this graph!  How can you compare actual spending (past presidents), to projected spending (obama)?  That’s not even apples to apples comparison. 

    Every president’s spending years is based on what they actually spent, but Obama’s actual spending years include 2012 and 2013 which haven’t even happened yet. A more accurate view is to compare actual spending to actual spending.  The current administration doesn’t even have a budget, so how can this graph be correct?  

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    Those are CBO projections, as stated on the graph. Ignore those if you want–the key point is made in the comparisons of what has actually been spent by Obama compared to increases in spending by previous presidents.

    Rather than questioning the graph, you might start questioning your right wing sources who are feeding you misinformation such as that the administration does not have a budget. Obama has submitted a budget every year, even if political polarization has prevented the budgets from being passed in the conventional manner in Congress.

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