The myth that Barack Obama is a big spender was covered here before (see “Obama Spending Binge Never Happened” May 2012.) What makes this article stand out is that it comes from Forbes Magazine, a source not known for supporting Administration economic policy…
The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower
Rick Ungar | Forbes | 24 May 12
It’s enough to make even the most ardent Obama cynic scratch his head in confusion.
Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Who knew? Check out the chart…
This article continues after the break…
So, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative?
It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong.
The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush—and passed by the 2008 Congress—it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.
Accordingly, the first budget that can be blamed on our current president began in 2010 with the budgets running through and including including fiscal year 2013 standing as charges on the Obama account, even if a President Willard M. Romney takes over the office on January 20, 2013.
So, how do the actual Obama annual budgets look?
Courtesy of Marketwatch-
In fiscal 2010 (the first Obama budget) spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.
In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.
In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.
Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.
No doubt, many will wish to give the credit to the efforts of the GOP controlled House of Representatives. That’s fine if that’s what works for you.
However, you don’t get to have it both ways. Credit whom you will, but if you are truly interested in a fair analysis of the Obama years to date—at least when it comes to spending—you’re going to have to acknowledge that under the Obama watch, even President Reagan would have to give our current president a thumbs up when it comes to his record for stretching a dollar.
Of course, the Heritage Foundation is having none of it, attempting to counter the actual numbers by pretending that the spending initiated by the Bush Administration is the fault of Obama. As I understand the argument Heritage is putting forth —and I have provided the link to the Heritage rebuttal so you can decide for yourself—Marketwatch, in using the baseline that Obama inherited, is making it too easy on the President.
But then, with the Heritage Foundation being the creator of the individual mandate concept in healthcare only to rebut the same when it was no longer politically convenient, I’m not quite sure why anyone believes much of anything they have to say any longer. With their history of reversing course for convenience, I can’t help but wonder, should they find themselves reviewing the spending record of a President Romney four years from today, whether they might be tempted to use the Obama numbers as the baseline for such a new Administration.
________________________________________________________________________________ Rick Ungar writes on politics with a ‘specialty’ in health care policy. In addition to his work for Forbes, Ungar writes a political column at The Washington Monthly. On Saturdays, Ungar appears on “Forbes on Fox” on the Fox News Network and other Fox News and Fox Business Network shows.
This article appears at Forbes.com »
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