Yes, Obama’s spending binge did happen — all of it, like Obama’s unprecedented deficits, on his watch.
Obama campaign operative Rex Nutting surprised a lot of people with an article on the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website claiming that the “Obama Spending Binge Never Happened.” Adding a new chapter to Aesop’s Fables, Nutting fantasized that “under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.”
Just like if Jack in the Beanstalk and the Jolly Green Giant both eat the same feast, the percentage weight gain for the Giant will be so much smaller than for Jack. Or as the Journal’s editorial page explained it in its weekend May 26-27 edition, “This is like an alcoholic claiming that his rate of drinking has slowed because he had only 22 beers today and 25 beers yesterday.”
Nutting does not offer evidence in his article that he has any idea what he is talking about. But he seems to have been fed some storyline by Nancy Pelosi, who is to Sarah Palin what Dorothy’s Strawman was to Sherlock Holmes.
Nutting’s confusion is what he claims as his insight — that George W. Bush’s last fiscal year was 2009. Fiscal year 2009 ran from October 1, 2008 until September 30, 2009. Most 4th graders could spot the error.
Sure federal spending grew more slowly after Obama’s first year starting on January 20, 2009. But it was that first year that began the wildest spending binge in world history, “under Obama.”
Nutting begins his stumbling by explaining to us, “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.” Not exactly.
The previous administration, or President, proposes a budget. The previous Congress approves a budget. And what Congress approves can be radically different from what the President proposes.
For fiscal year 2009, President Bush in February, 2008 proposed a budget with a 3 percent spending increase over the prior year. But Nutting seems to have no memory that the
Congress in 2008 was controlled by Democrat majorities, with the renowned budget skinflint Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and the restless Senator Obama already running for President, just four years removed from his glorious career as a state Senator in the Illinois legislature.
As Hans Bader reported on May 26 for the more careful Washington Examiner, the budget approved and implemented by Pelosi, Obama, and the rest of the Congressional Democrat majorities provided for a 17.9 percent increase in spending for fiscal 2009! Not that President Bush was a fiscal conservative. Far from it. But Obama and Pelosi have served as drunken sailors to Bush’s comparative Boy Scout on the issue.
Actually, Obama and the Democrats were even more deeply involved in the fiscal 2009 spending explosion than that. As Bader also reports, “The Democrat Congress [in 2008], confident Obama was going to win in 2008, passed only three of fiscal 2009’s 12 appropriations bills (Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security). The Democrat Congress passed the rest of them [in 2009], and [President] Obama signed them.” So Obama played a very direct role in fiscal 2009 spending that Obama operative Nutting, working hand in glove with the campaign, hides in his short story for MarketWatch.
Reagan v. Obama
But poor President Obama pleads that when he came into office in January 2009, he was just unable to do anything about the Animal House, binge drinking, frat party he and Pelosi ordered up for the year, with Rep. Barney Frank co-starring as John Belushi. Unlike when a real adult came into office in January, 1981. Then President Reagan didn’t just go along with the wild spending binge of the previous Democrat Congress when he came into office in fiscal year 1981.
Too bad almost no one remembers the much vilified at the time 1981 Reagan budget cuts, the new president’s first major legislative initiative. Then Democrat Rep. Phil Gramm joined with Ohio Republican Del Latta to push through the Democrat House $31 billion in Reagan proposed budget cuts to the fiscal year 1981 budget, which totaled $681 billion, resulting in a cut of nearly 5 percent in that budget. But that is actual history, while Nutting seems to be more of a novelist.
Reagan then ramped up the spending cuts from there. In nominal terms, non-defense discretionary spending actually declined by 7.1 percent from 1981 to 1982. But roaring inflation at the time actually masks the true magnitude of the Reagan spending cut achievement. In constant dollars, non-defense discretionary spending declined by 14.4 percent from 1981 to 1982, and by 16.8 percent from 1981 to 1983. Moreover, in constant dollars, this non-defense discretionary spending never returned to its 1981 level for the rest of Reagan’s two terms! By 1988, this spending was still down 14.4 percent from its 1981 level in constant dollars.
Even with the Reagan defense buildup, which, remember, won the Cold War without firing a shot, total federal spending as a percentage of GDP declined from a high of 23.5 percent of GDP in 1983 to 21.3 percent in 1988 and 21.2 percent in 1989. That’s a real reduction in the size of government relative to the economy of 10 percent. That is a huge achievement.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?