Reality Kicks Republican Ass: Spending As a Percentage of GDP Has Fallen Under Obama

Last updated on March 23rd, 2013 at 12:18 am


The Republican talking point that Obama is on a spending spree has become so widespread that even some on the left believe it, but the truth is that federal spending as a percentage of GDP has fallen.

Jared Bernstein put together a chart using data from the CBO, which reveals that one of the Republican Party’s favorite talking points is completely wrong. Not only did President Obama’s spending spree never happen, but federal spending as a percentage of GDP has been declining since he took office.

Here is the chart:


Bernstein explained, “Well, here are the numbers, straight out of CBO. Spending went up a lot in the recession, as it always does, as automatic stabilizers like unemployment insurance and food stamps ratchet up, and the Recovery Act is in there too. But since then outlays have been flat, up less than 1% over the President’s tenure, 2009-2012 (as I said on the show) and actually falling as a share of GDP (the figure includes CBOs forecast for 2013).”

Reality hasn’t stopped “think tanks” like the American Enterprise Institute from claiming that the Obama spending binge is real. How do groups like AEI justify their claims of an Obama spending binge? They cook the books by assigning George W. Bush’s 2009 budget and spending to President Obama. (The fiscal year runs September to September, so assigning Bush’s 2009 spending decision to Obama is disingenuous at best.)

Republicans want to portray this president as a big spending liberal, when the truth is that he is spending less than the so called Republican fiscal conservative who occupied the White House before him.

If Obama had the ability to give the economy the sort of stimulus that it truly needs, this recession wouldn’t be as painful and the recovery would be more robust.

The president has done a good job with putting our federal financial books in order. Anyone who suggests otherwise either doesn’t know the facts or can’t read a chart.

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements. Awards and  Professional Memberships Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association

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