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The 'Obama spending binge': Fact or fiction?
A contrarian analysis argues that President Obama is a model of fiscal restraint, not the spendthrift Republicans claim
 
President Obama stands in front of construction workers in 2009 while discussing the jobs that his $140 billion stimulus plan created.
President Obama stands in front of construction workers in 2009 while discussing the jobs that his $140 billion stimulus plan created.
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Mitt Romney has accused Obama of overseeing a "debt and spending inferno," a massive increase in government spending that could jeopardize our kids' future. And even many Democrats agree. Only problem, says Rex Nutting at MarketWatch: The "Obama spending binge" never really happened. Federal spending jumped by 17.9 percent in the 2009 fiscal year — the last budget approved by George W. Bush — but fell by 1.8 percent under Obama's first budget, rose by 4.3 percent and 0.7 percent in his next two years, and is scheduled to fall again, by 1.3 percent, in fiscal 2013. That, says Nutting, is "the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end...." Is he right?

The Obama binge is pure fiction: The "big surge in federal spending" started before Obama stepped into the Oval Office, says blogger Meteor Blades at Daily Kos. Obama did add $140 billion in stimulus spending that year, but over the four years that Obama actively shaped the budget, spending is on track to go from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion. Adjusting for inflation, that amounts to an average 1.4 percent annual decrease. That should burst the GOP "propaganda balloon."
"An Obama spending spree? Hardly"

Sorry, Obama really is a spendthrift: This is "a classic case of using bogus numbers to deceive one's readers," says John Hinderaker at Power Line. Obama and his fellow Democrats own the "spending extravaganza" of 2009, two-thirds of which happened on Obama's watch thanks largely to what was supposed to be a one-time stimulus package. But Obama & Co. found ways to keep spending high, and even increase it. "Obama is indeed the drunken sailor that virtually every American takes him for."
"Barack Obama, skinflint?"

You need to understand how the federal budget works: No, Obama doesn't own 2009, says Nutting. "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." The 2009 fiscal year, for which Republicans blame Obama, began four months before Obama hit the White House. "The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress."
"Obama spending binge never happened"

Spending growth really is low... but Republicans share the credit: The claim that spending growth under Obama is the lowest in decades "is very close to accurate," says PolitiFact. Still, his fiscal record really isn't that flattering: Our debt has jumped 14 percent per year on his watch, and spending is at its highest in decades, when you look at it as a share of the GDP. More importantly, "the president is not all-powerful," and much of the "restraint in spending was fueled by demands from congressional Republicans."
"Viral Facebook post says Barack Obama has lowest spending record of any recent president"

 

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