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Assuming the White House estimates for spending as percentage of GDP for this fiscal year and next fiscal year prove correct, federal spending during the four fiscal years that started during the Obama presidency will average 23.95 percent of GDP. After fiscal 1946 and before 2009, there was not a single fiscal year in which federal spending went that high. On average, no other post-World War II president spent money at the rate Obama is spending money.
On the first day of fiscal 2009--which was Oct. 1, 2008--then-Sen. Obama voted for the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. On Feb. 17 2009, after he became president and while his party controlled both houses of Congress, Obama signed a stimulus bill that the Congressional Budget Office has determined had a 10-year price tag of $831-billion.
First of all, there are a few methodological problems with Nutting’s analysis — especially the beginning and the end point.
Nutting basically takes much of 2009 out of Obama’s column, saying it was the “the last [year] of George W. Bush’s presidency.” Of course, with the recession crashing down, that’s when federal spending ramped up. The federal fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, so the 2009 fiscal year accounts for about four months of Bush’s presidency and eight of Obama’s.
In theory, one could claim that the budget was already locked in when Obama took office, but that’s not really the case. Most of the appropriations bills had not been passed, and certainly the stimulus bill was only signed into law after Obama took office.
The facts about the growth of spending under Obama
The Pinocchio Test
Carney suggested the media were guilty of “sloth and laziness,” but he might do better next time than cite an article he plucked off the Web, no matter how much it might advance his political interests. The data in the article are flawed, and the analysis lacks context — context that could easily could be found in the budget documents released by the White House.
The White House might have a case that some of the rhetoric concerning Obama’s spending patterns has been overblown, but the spokesman should do a better job of checking his facts before accusing reporters of failing to do so. The picture is not as rosy as he portrayed it when accurate numbers, taken in context, are used.