The False Obama Spending Math by Market Watch

Columnist Rex Nutting over at Market Watch has a story with the headline "Obama spending binge never happened." In it he argues "of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree."

 Nutting notes that Federal Spending from Fiscal Year 2008 to FY 2009 (Bush's last official budget) rose by 17% to $3.52 trillion, yet the 2013 Obama budget is only 1.4% larger than 2009; the smallest increase in sixty years. The reason, he claims, why people have it "wrong" about Obama's budgets is because they don't know that a budget in a President's first year gets shaped by the Congress and previous president months before the election. Therefore, almost all of the 2009 spending is Bush's increase.

Here is why his headline and actual story is misleading at best:

1)   While in regular times a budget gets approved months earlier, the FY2009 budget was pieced tighter in many separate votes and bills, one of them signed on... March 12 2009 by... President Obama! AP wrote back then the "bill includes significant increases" on a host of things. But of course it's Bush Fault. Right?

2)   Obama was a member of the Senate Majority who... approved the FY2008 and FY2009 budgets. It's of his making either way. He didn't arrive to Washington in January 2009 as a Governor. Senator Obama in the majority party since 2007 created the mess together with Pelosi and Reid.

3)   Much of the 2009 spending (from TARP, to Stimulus, to Auto Bailout, to Loan Modifications), were officially one time things. However, four years later and we are still spending well above the 2008 levels. A Spending Binge indeed!

4)   Much of the 2009 spending were officially "loans" and "investments" that Obama claims were "paid back" by the Auto Industry and others. As such, it's inaccurate to claim that all the money that left Treasury in 2009 was "spending."

5)  Even if you want to ignore all of the above notes; a headline reading "Obama Didn't Increase Spending Much Since 2009" would have been more accurate. But to suggest that we are not on a Spending Binge just because Government outlays didn't increase much since the year that we spent officially on one-time things and loans is spin of the highest order.

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