Lowest federal spending growth in 60 years under Obama

Lowest federal spending growth in 60 years under Obama

A recent MarketWatch report shows that spending growth has actually dropped to a 60-year low.

Looking for truth in politics can be a frustrating search through a haystack of half-truths and misleading information for that proverbial needle. This is particularly true in the era of “say it loud enough and often enough and it becomes true” political strategy. One of the greatest (and loudest) of these has been the allegation that Obama’s tenure has seen the greatest spending spree in recent memory. Whether it’s one of Mitt Romney’s questionable graphs (showing Obama’s spending starting during Bush Jr’s administration), or Speaker Boehner’s assertion that Obama has been spending at a rate “unprecedented in history,” it’s just not true.

All it takes to sweep away the hay is a simple comparison of previous administration spending, a endeavor that Rex Nutting of MarketWatch undertook to investigate Republican claims of the President’s fiscal irresponsibility. What he found was that the Obama spending binge never happened. In fact, the record shows that federal spending under Obama has grown less than under any other president in the past 60 years. Spending under Obama rose 1.4 percent from 2009 to 2011, which includes the $789 billion TARP bank bailout. Compare this to the rate of growth during President Bush’s second term (where the TARP was actually passed by congress) of 8.1 percent or the largest rate of spending growth under President Reagan’s first term of 8.7 percent.

However, if the Republican outcry about Obama’s frivolous spending is so flagrantly inaccurate, why has the White House pointed out the inconsistency. For one, voter fatigue is well past the point of relenting to a tedious discussion of spending rates, percentages, and dollar signs like they did during the GOP-manufactured debt ceiling debates of last summer. In addition, the President actually attempted to increase the TARP by about $140 billion, a push that was voted down by a bipartisan congress (though mostly Republicans).

Furthermore, Nutting reports, “After adjusting for inflation, spending under Obama is falling at a 1.4 percent annual pace — the first decline in real spending since the early 1970s.” With the projected budgets of 2012 and 2013, spending per capita in the U.S. is actually falling from $11,500 in 2009 to $10,900 in 2013. Granted, a radicalized ‘limited government” right in the Republican controlled House is behind the push for decreased spending, but their rallying cry of Obama’s “reckless and irresponsible spending” is simply that; a rallying cry. There’s little substance or truth behind it, but it’s been needling the Obama administration since the 2010 midterm elections, and isn’t likely to stop during the 2012 campaign.