This morning comes the news that the "prairie fire"Obama spending spree is, surprise surprise, a lie. Rex Nutting of Marketwatch.com has the numbers, and you can click here to see his chart. The basic GOP sleight-of-hand is this (somehow the indent function isn't working; the next three grafs are supposed to be indented):
What people forget (or never knew) is that the first year of every presidential term starts with a budget approved by the previous administration and Congress. The president only begins to shape the budget in his second year. It takes time to develop a budget and steer it through Congress — especially in these days of congressional gridlock.
The 2009 fiscal year, which Republicans count as part of Obama’s legacy, began four months before Obama moved into the White House. The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress.
Like a relief pitcher who comes into the game with the bases loaded, Obama came in with a budget in place that called for spending to increase by hundreds of billions of dollars in response to the worst economic and financial calamity in generations.
Now, as Nutting notes it is of course true that Obama added his own spending (the stimulus, mostly). It is also true that Republicans in Congress forced some budget cuts that Obama didn't want. But whatever the motivations and causes, the fact remains the fact. Under Obama federal spending has increased at an annualized rate of just 1.4 percent.
The charts shows the rates for other recent presidents. Check this out. Highest? Reagan's first term, 8.7 percent. Second: Dubya's second term, 8.1 percent. Dubya also captures the bronze, with first-term annualized spending increases of 7.3 percent. Then comes Poppy Bush, then Reagan's second term.
Pulling up the rear on spending? I repeat--coming in at the lowest levels of spending increase? Clinton's two terms and Obama's.
Sure, some of this has to do with Congress. But not all of it. With respect to Clinton, for example, I'd imagine that the higher revenue that came in from his tax increases helped defray whatever new spending he put in place. That's because, like, in the real world, as opposed to the GOPLand Amusement Park, higher tax rates yield greater revenues.
The lies just don't stop. Yet Romney is probably going to get away with this line of attack, in no small part because included in the "people" who don't think about the first-year budget budget question are not a few political reporters.
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