Wrong As Usual, Mitt – Federal Spending Growth Is Radically Slower under Obama Than under Reagan, the Bushes or Clinton


Last week in Iowa, Mitt Romney criticized Pres. Obama for his purported runaway spending. “A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation,” Romney said, “and every day we fail to act we feed that fire with our own lack of resolve. This is not a Democratic or Republican problem. That fire could care less if you have a donkey or an elephant in your front lawn, it’s still coming for your house.”

But Romney’s basic assertion — that Obama administration economic policies have caused spending to grow faster than the policies of the last few presidents — is patently false:

The fact that the national debt has risen from $10.6 trillion to $15.6 trillion under Obama’s watch makes for easy partisan attacks. But the vast bulk of the increase was caused by a combination of revenue losses due to the 2008-09 economic downturn as well as Bush-era tax cuts and automatic increases in safety-net spending that were already written into law.

Obama’s policies, including the much-criticized stimulus package, have caused the slowest increase in federal spending of any president in almost 60 years, according to data compiled by the financial news service MarketWatch.

The chart shows that Presidents Reagan, both Bushes, and to a lesser extent Clinton, grew federal spending at a far quicker pace than Obama. Part of the reason for the slow growth is that Obama — unlike his Republican and Democratic predecessors — signed a law in February 2010 necessitating that new spending laws are paid for. In addition, Obama last year signed into law over $2 trillion in debt-reduction over the next decade


  • SmittyPA
    May 23, 2012 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Pretty much everything Romney says is patently false, except when he lets a little truth slip out (I like firing people, etc).

  • Q-Hack
    May 24, 2012 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Wha??? Folks, if you continue to spend more than you make each year, it doesn’t matter if the percentage of spending is down. I understand that Obama wants to show that he is spending less than Bush, unfortunately he hasn’t and trying to claim less percentage is just making Obama look bad. Yes, Bush raised the debt by unbelievable amounts. Unfortunately, Obama hasn’t reduced the spending to before Bush levels. He has spent the same plus 1.4% So, yes, Obama is a big spender, and more so than Bush. Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing under either Obama or Romney. Hope everybody is prepared for the coming collapse of our fiat currency system.

    • May 25, 2012 - 3:51 am | Permalink

      Nice job avoiding the elephant in the chart, Q-Hack. St. Ronnie’s spending growth was even more than your Dear Leader Bush’s. The bottom line fact is that you guys want to paint Obama as a profligate spender but he just simply is not. What little spending there has been has goosed the recovery from the economic disaster that was caused by your party’s economic policies under Bush — and has been done in spite of attempts by your party to stall the recovery in order to get Mitt Romney can be elected.

  • Q-Hack
    May 25, 2012 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Elephant in the chart? Oh you mean the one where I show you that every president is a big spender? You seem to think that I am some sort of “Praise be to Rupublican’s” type. I am not. Neither party is going to fix the problem of over spending in this country. Soon we will be much like Greece is now. With riots in the streets. The Democrats like their social programs and the Republican like their Defense. Once the world decides to stop buying our treasury bonds, and we can no longer pay for either, then you will start to see the riots. However, sense this is a left leaning rag, and sense you want to paint me into the Right’s corner, I will say this. Social programs were designed to give help to the very poor, not the middle class. Once you start including the middle class into your social programs, you have started the race to the bottom. We need a strong middle class, not one that is dependent on the government. Obama keeps touting this “Tax the rich” mantra. That’s fine except that even if you taxed everybody at 100% you can not pay off the national debt. I am actually ok with a progressive tax system, but more taxes is not the solution to our debt problem… cutting spending is. If you give the people with the check book more money, they will just find a way to spend it. And that is true for both sides of the isle. Either way, my point in my first post was if Obama wants to win this election, he needs to stay away from the national debt argument. He was on the correct track when he stood up for gay rights. Stick to ones strong points and avoid the weak ones. Articles like this do nothing but show how desperate the left is trying to deflect bad news away from them, when in fact both side are to blame for the problem.

  • SmittyPA
    May 26, 2012 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Uh no, Q-Hack, we’re not going the way of Greece. Save the doomsday idiocy for your friends on Drudge.

  • Pete M
    June 12, 2012 - 8:13 pm | Permalink

    This graph is a model of static trickery that is plainly political deception (and I support Obama). The fact there is a growth at all is bad and this graph from wiki shows how bad in plain sight.


    The 1.4% is on top of all the other percentages. Its a compound percentage. If this was in percentage of GDP it would be much worse as you can see from wiki. Who is to blame is not the issue. They all are! We have to curb it now.

    • June 13, 2012 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      Our indebtedness is the disease. Spending on infrastructure and the rest is the chemo. Both could kill us, but only one option offers hope for recovery. The proof of this is the disastrous results of Europe’s pursuit of austerity.

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