When MarketWatch writer Rex Nutting wrote an article titled "Obama spending binge never happened," liberals jumped all over it as proof that Obama was not a big spender. White House spokeman Jay Carney also encouraged people to "check it out" and Washington Post's The Fact Checker decided to do just that.
In the post-war era, federal spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy has hovered around 20 percent, give or take a couple of percentage points. Under Obama, it has hit highs not seen since the end of World War II — completely the opposite of the point asserted by Carney.
In fact, that fact checking piece gave Carney three Pinocchios.
The correct figure to use is the CBO’s analysis of the president’s 2013 budget, which clocks in at $3.72 trillion.
So this is what we end up with:
2008: $2.98 trillion
2009: $3.27 trillion
2010: $3.46 trillion
2011: $3.60 trillion
2012: $3.65 trillion
2013: $3.72 trillion
Under these figures, and using this calculator, with 2008 as the base year and ending with 2012, the compound annual growth rate for Obama’s spending starting in 2009 is 5.2 percent. Starting in 2010 — Nutting’s first year — and ending with 2013, the annual growth rate is 3.3 percent. (Nutting had calculated the result as 1.4 percent.)
Of course, it takes two to tangle — a president and a Congress. Obama’s numbers get even higher if you look at what he proposed to spend, using CBO’s estimates of his budgets:
2012: $3.71 trillion (versus $3.65 trillion enacted)
2011: $3.80 trillion (versus $3.60 trillion enacted)
2010: $3.67 trillion (versus $3.46 trillion enacted)
So in every case, the president wanted to spend more money than he ended up getting. Nutting suggests that federal spending flattened under Obama, but another way to look at it is that it flattened at a much higher, post-emergency level — thanks in part to the efforts of lawmakers, not Obama.
The bottom line:
Carney suggested the media were guilty of “sloth and laziness,” but he might do better next time than cite an article he plucked off the Web, no matter how much it might advance his political interests. The data in the article are flawed, and the analysis lacks context — context that could easily could be found in the budget documents released by the White House.
The White House might have a case that some of the rhetoric concerning Obama’s spending patterns has been overblown, but the spokesman should do a better job of checking his facts before accusing reporters of failing to do so. The picture is not as rosy as he portrayed it when accurate numbers, taken in context, are used.
H/T Hot Air.
A little hint for Carney, liberals and the Obama reelection campaign team. When encouraging people to check things out and research the facts, expect that someone might just do so.
[Update] Wapo's The Fact Checker is not the only one that has done the due diligence that liberals and Carney did not bother doing on the MarketWatch article.
The AP Fact Check finds "Obama off on Thrifty Spending Claim."
Side note- Let us not forget that now Obama wants to spend another $447 billion on a Stimulus 2.