American Elephants

Obama Really Did Go On A Spending Binge, He Just Doesn’t Want You To Know. by The Elephant's Child

“Since I’ve been President, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly sixty years. Think about that. This other side, I don’t know how they’ve been bamboozling folks into thinking that they’re the responsible fiscally disciplined party. They run up these wild debts , and then when we take over we’ve gotta clean it up.”

The President of the United States actually said that.  Is this what Valerie Jarrett advised? Is he so unfamiliar with the  real numbers that he thinks he can get away with such a whopper? Did he read the Rex Nutting of MarketWatch attempt to portray the president as being downright stingy “Obama Spending Binge Never Happened?” and being unfamiliar with what the numbers actually were — believed it?

Right at the beginning of Obama’s term in office, Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, set up a daily economics briefing with his  Council of Economic Advisers. We have been told that Obama found it boring and shortly eliminated the meeting.  He clearly believes in the part of Keynesian economics that says to pump money into the economy to promote growth, because he is endlessly trying to stimulate the dead economy with more jolts of taxpayer money. Unfortunately, Keynesian stimulus has no record of success.

Mr Nutting uses a typical D.C. trick, often used by Congress. He speaks of annualized growth of federal spending. The trick is — where’s the starting point? Is it zero, or is it just the previous number? You have perhaps heard the frequent plaintive cry from Republicans about zero-based budgeting.  Let’s say the Orwell Agency’s budget last year was 1 billion. Congress wants to give them another 20 million. Instead of correctly indicating that the agency budget is now $1 billion, 20 million, they speak of the “annualized growth of the agency is $20 million, That much smaller number sounds ever so much better.  That’s the trick Rex Nutting is using.

Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Usually, the previous president will have signed a budget for the coming year into law around the end of the fiscal year. However, in 2008, Congress refused to pass the budget while George W. Bush was still in office (he might have vetoed?) and they sent to budget to Obama when he took office, and he signed it. But Mr. Nutting gives the whole 2009 budget to George W. Bush. It has TARP, the Auto Bailout, the Stimulus, Cars for Clunkers all Obama’s spending in it, but it doesn’t count under Mr. Nutting’s analysis. Then that number becomes the new base from which Obama’s spending  is counted.

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 Obama’s spending record.
— 25.2% of GDP in 2009
— 24.1% of GDP in 2010
— 24.1% of GDP in 2011
—24.3% of GDP (estimates by White House) in 2012

If Obama wins another term spending, according to his own budget would never drop below 22.3% of GDP. He established 2009 as the “new baseline,” and turned a one-off surge in spending due to the Great Recession into the new normal through 2016 and beyond.

Or to put it differently — From the Treasury Department — spending per day: President Reagan– $2.5 Billion.  President Clinton–$4.1 Billion. President Bush–$6.8 Billion. President Obama– $9.7 Billion.

President Barack Obama is spinning a fable. His record on the economy is dreadful. He has spent more than all the previous presidents put together, and he is fully responsible for that.

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