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.