Sunday, July 29, 2012

Was there an Obama Spending Binge?

Not according to Rex Nutting. It never happened.

Part of it has to do with putting the two wars into the budget, which Bush didn't do, but Obama did.


Doug Benscoter said...

I don't have an axe to grind, but it's good to hear the other side, as well:

Victor Reppert said...

I would certainly suspect that any attempt to portray Obama as a conservative would draw some criticism.

Though, if you listen to disappointed left-wingers, he does seem like a conservative. It is true that Obamacare, or at least the individual mandate part of it, was actually a conservative idea hatched at the Heritage Foundation. A free market solution to the health care problem.

Jim S. said...

"Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s."

Well, yeah, if you exclude the stimulus, the biggest spending binge in human history, then maybe he's not spending that much. (Or, rather, that his spending is not increasing at the same rate as it has with other presidents, who were starting from different amounts, which renders the metric considerably less useful.) But why in the world should we exclude the stimulus? If I spent 5 million dollars on a mansion I couldn't afford would the IRS be sympathetic to my claims that the amount of money I spent on other things wasn't rising that quickly from what other people in my income bracket spend?

Victor Reppert said...

It doesn't look as if he is excluding the stimulus. He just says that when you total it all up, it is still the lowest since Eisenhower.

If there are factual problems with Nutting's argument, that's not it.

Victor Reppert said...

Wasn't a lot of the stimulus in tax cuts?

Jim S. said...

Unfortunately, this went through the innernets a couple of months ago and got debunked pretty quickly. It doesn't include the stimulus, and in fact ascribes the stimulus spending to Bush. From

"Nutting's piece employs several abuses of the numbers (including some underhanded switching between projected and actual spending data), but his most productive sleight of hand is to assign all of fiscal year 2009's spending to President Bush. Nutting doesn't start the clock on Obama's spending until fiscal 2010."

Victor Reppert said...

I see how this might be. Trying to figure out whether Obama is a big spender or not depends upon how it's analyzed. For example, Paul Krugman argues that spending is determined as a precent of GDP, and so, when there's a worsening of the economy, spending does up as the denominator goes down.

If you make the post-stimuls budget the baseline, then I can see why that might be problematic.