PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS SPENT LESS THAN EVERY PRESIDENT SINCE EISENHOWER
As the debt ceiling approaches and the national dialogue turns to government spending, it is worth noting an oft forgotten fact: President Obama is a pretty frugal President.
That may seem surprising given how pervasive and loud the accusations of the Obama administrations runaway spending are but it’s a fact. As MarketWatch points out, Obama has spent less than any President since Eisenhower, including the Republican Patron Saint of fiscal responsibility Ronald Reagan.
Viewed as a list, Obama looks downright miserly.
If you’re wondering how that is possible given the bailouts and TARP that Republicans are constantly referencing, here is the logic:
"It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong.Even as the economy recovered and he got a full head of steam behind his Presidency, Obama has demonstrated a reluctance to spend. His spending is basically flat.
The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush—and passed by the 2008 Congress—it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.
Accordingly, the first budget that can be blamed on our current president began in 2010 with the budgets running through and including including fiscal year 2013 standing as charges on the Obama account, even if a President Willard M. Romney [took] over the office on January 20, 2013."[source]
And what seemed like Obama’s big spending was actually Bush’s.
Even more surprising to some people; all of this austerity (what else would you call it?) isn’t a good thing. Obama inherited a economy devastated by a recession that was losing upwards of 800,000 jobs per month. The stimulus helped but just when the economy began its slow rebound, the Tea Party, led by corporate and wealthy interests, and fiscal conservatives began demanding spending cuts, suddenly concerned about spending that seemed normal in the heady Bush days of war and tax cuts for the rich. The only problem was that spending was the best way to get out of a recession (as Reagan knew and was allowed to do), so with tightening budgets the recession limped on for long after it could have been put to rest.
Even more problematic for the “Obama is a big spender” theory is the fact that it is Congress not the President that decides what to spend each year so really it was not even Bush’s spending reflected in the chart above (although he signed off on it). Furthermore, it could be said that it is the Republican held House of Representatives and the Democrat held Senate that have curtailed spending. I’m sure a Congress that is already almost universally hated would love to take credit for that, but then what would they blame Obama for on Fox News during the Debt Ceiling debates?