MarketWatch’s Rex Nutting On Obama Spending (Infographic)

It’s been going around Facebook and the Twitters.

It’s been rated “mostly true” by Politifact.

It is the MarketWatch piece on how Obama hasn’t really increased spending all that much.

And I’m damn tired of picking it apart 140 characters at a time, so I put together this sarcastic infographic showing exactly how sloppy this piece really is.

(Correction: An earlier version of this infographic incorrectly identified the $3.8 Trillion 2013 as a CBO projection. That is the spending request from President Obama 2013 budget.)

UPDATED (05/24/12, 3PM):

There are three things in this infographic that should be called out more explicitly.

First, much of the debate here centers around who exactly should catch the blame for FY 2009 spending. This is actually a very tricky question and I think compelling cases can be made for both sides of this debate.

My personal position is that it’s really complicated. But one thing is for certain: in hindsight the CBO January 2009 estimate is so obviously wrong that using it should be called out and mocked.

The January 2009 CBO estimate might have been a “best estimate of what Obama inherited”, but only in January 2009 when spending data was *very* hard to predict. January 2009 marked the worst part of the recession and the uncertainty was very high. Only a few months later, Obama’s budget estimated 2009 spending would be $400 billion higher than the CBO estimate.

But now we can look at the data, not the estimates. And we should. The spending data ended up $20 billion lower than the CBO estimate… and that included the stimulus spending (which Nutting says was $140 billion, but I’m still trying to track that number down). If that is the case, the high-end estimate for Bush’s fiscal year is  $3.38 trillion. If we compare that to Obama’s 2013 budget proposal ($3.80 trillion), that’s an increase of 12.5% (3.1% annualized). Which isn’t that high, but it’s also using a baseline that is still filled with a lot of what were supposed to be 1 time expenses (TARP, Cash for Clunkers, the auto bailout, the housing credit, etc).

Second, Nutting uses the CBO baseline in place of Obama’s spending. This is easily verified and I can’t think of a serious economic pundit who would say this is OK. I can think of two reasons for doing this: Either a) Nutting is a monstrously biased ass who (rightly) figured no one in the liberal world would fact check him so he could use whatever the hell number he wanted to use or b) Nutting had no idea that the CBO baseline isn’t a budget proposal. I’m actually leaning toward the second explanation. Nutting uses so many disparate sources it seems clear he doesn’t know his way around federal finance.

Congrats, Mr. Nutting. I don’t think you’re a huge jerk, only that you’re hilariously unqualified for your job.

Finally, my biggest goal here was to point out the inconsistencies in the analysis. Nutting wants to use the 2009 CBO estimates, but only one column (only for attacking Bush on spending). He wants to compare estimates from one year to actual spending from other years to the CBO baseline from this year. And, as if he is a magical cherry-picking elf, he manages to pick just the right numbers to give him just the right data. This could be an accident. Stranger things have happened. But it seems more likely that he intended to squash a talking point by any means necessary and he went looking for the best data to do that.

I will be accused of massaging the data by people who don’t understand what I’m doing here. I’m pointing out the data massaging on Nutting’s side and calling him on it. I’m saying “If you’re going to use the CBO estimate, use the f***ing CBO estimate!” Don’t use just the part you want and then pretend like the rest of it doesn’t exist. Commit yourself to the data you’re using and follow it, even if it doesn’t go where you want it to go.

OK… references:

Bush requested $3.107 trillion, but the final budget of $3.52 trillion was passed by the Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama on March 12, 2009.

For actual spending, I used the monthly Treasury Reports, which have spending and revenue for every month since 1981 in an Excel file.

For the CBO fiscal year 2009 estimates.

The CBO baseline (which was referenced by Nutting for the $3.58 trillion number) is found here.

President Obama’s actual 2013 budget

And just for kicks, here is the CBO analysis of the President’s Budget which pegs Obama’s 2013 spending at $3.717 trillion.

104 comments

  1. [...] Political Math details the number-fudging that Market Watch did to produce their claim that Obama has not increased spending. [...]

  2. ptpatil says:

    Reddit response to your horseshit infographic:

    Section by section:

    Rule 1:

    Neglects to mention TARP and the bailouts passed under Bush
    No president has ever renegotiated his inaugural-year budget.
    Neglects the “who proposed FY 2009 spending”, which was of course Bush.

    Bush low-balling the budget doesn’t make him fiscally conservative, just a wishful thinker who knew he wouldn’t have to deal with the outcome

    “Obama gets credits for the jobs from FY 2009″ has less to do with the budget and more to do with the stimulus, duhh.

    Rule 2:

    $20 BILLION THE HORROR the author is literally complaining about 0,06% increase due to this totally dirty secret numbers trick. This got a whole rule to itself, lol.

    Rule 3:

    All one big extension of the whining about 0,06%

    Uses CBO projections from early 2009, when both left, right, and center economists were all underestimating the depth of the recession, and hence government spending (which would rise substantially in response to greater unemployment, even if Obama changed nothing).

    Rule 4:

    Author is flipping back and forth now between CBO baselines, actual budgets, and proposed budgets, always favoring whichever is highest for Obama

    Is he still using the CBO’s projections from 2009? Not clear

    Rule 5:

    Looks bad for whom? The graph shows spending shrinking under Obama. Maybe he thinks spending rising over time as the economy and population grows is a bad thing? I have no idea what point he was going for.

    Bottom line: Author does some half-assed nitpicking, commits a shitload of cherrypicking himself, and never approaches the fundamental claim once, that spending increases under Obama have been less than any Prez since Ike. All he’d have to do to disprove it is pick 1 consistent measurement, chart it, and point out a President under whom spending growth was slower. That’s it, that’s all he had to do was provide 1 counterexample, and he didn’t, instead trying to poke holes to reduce general confidence.

    • Funny me and my family were making good money, and banking half of that every month and every week under President Bush, further more, he didn’t fly airliners into the 2 World Trade Center buildings, we were attacked by Muslim Extremists, which oboma is loyal too, and giving money to, and puting in power terrorists, in Libya, Bush didn’t write a bunch of blank checks to Kenya, and every Green Company,he helped establish, in the first place, so get your facts straight, about who did what, and spent how much on wasted, failed pet projects, of this retarded administration, from the top to the bottom, borrow some more, is that the goal, of oboma, for what so his people can sit on there ass, and get fatter, and more lazy, than they already are. get REAL, you must work for MSNBC, oboma can do no wrong, what about Benghazi,and now,you are backing a gun shy President, that is out to ruin this country no matter how long it takes, no term limits, what is that, if he can’t possibly bankrupt, the U.S. in 8 years, then no one can, not counting re writing the whole Constitution. It’s called Dreams of his Father, the next 4 years are called the revenge years, or did you not know?

  3. politicalmath says:

    ptpatil,

    Thank you for your comment. It is always good to know who values accuracy (which is what my post was really about) and who is just a partisan hack.

    You’ve played your hand well and now we all know which one you are.

  4. jtownejeff says:

    Shared to facebook and twitter! Thank you!

  5. Michael Huye says:

    How do they excuse the Senate for not issuing a budget for the last three years?

  6. Brennan says:

    Well…not really.
    A WSJ article explained how, even if you reassign stimulus spending to Obama (which you should), Bush still outspent Obama.
    Additionally, many of the jobs created during and after 2009 were created by the stimulus, so Obama should get credit.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama-spending-binge-never-happened-2012-05-22?pagenumber=1

  7. The Tofu says:

    “Looks bad for whom? The graph shows spending shrinking under Obama. Maybe he thinks spending rising over time as the economy and population grows is a bad thing? I have no idea what point he was going for.”

    He was going for the point that the claim uses a ridiculous baseline. The fact that there was huge spending in the year just before he took office doesn’t mean it’s totally cool to spend almost exactly as much several years in a row, and commit us to doing the same indefinitely. The 2009 FY budget is not “normal,” it was high. This isn’t complicated.

  8. PtPatil can take it up with Pethokoukis and call him Horseshit too then…?
    Unlikely.

    http://blog.american.com/2012/05/actually-the-obama-spending-binge-really-did-happen/

  9. The Tofu says:

    Put another way: you’re not fiscally responsible just because your roommate is worse.

    And that’s definitely true when you keep spending that much even as your “income” goes down. The problem is not merely spending, but spending relative to revenue. And by that measure, he’s been horrendous. There’s no way around this.

  10. liberal_slayer says:

    Did you notice how the $825B stimulus money becomes a new baseline budget not a one time charge! Also the banks paid back ~$400B of the TARP funds (this should be credited back to Bush since he is being debited for the money) but Obama took this money and reallocated it himself so the $400B should be put under Obama spending not Bush.

  11. liberal_slayer says:

    Did you notice how the $825B stimulus money becomes a new baseline budget not a one time charge! Also the banks paid back ~$400B of the TARP funds (this should be credited back to Bush since he is being debited for the money) but Obama took this money and reallocated it himself so the $400B should be put under Obama spending not Bush.

    Obama Admin will lie all the way to November because his record is all about a poor economy, less workers today then when he took office and nearly $6T more in debt.

  12. Excellent analysis. Thank you.

  13. johnt says:

    The usual lunacy. How does a budget get wriiten, debated , and enacted without Congress, both Chambers? And who controlled both houses? Yes. the Democrats. So how do they escape blame? Because in the never,never babes in toyland that is modern progressivism [??], that’s what they call themselves, they are only responsible for the Nice Things.

  14. Baxter Greene says:

    Neglects to mention TARP and the bailouts passed under Bush

    …………..

    All of which were supported and voted for by Obama and his democratic allies on the Hill.

    So Obama didn’t just “inherit” this…he was part of it.

    You liberals can spin all you want….but you can’t change the facts:

    Debt on 01.19.09: $10,628,881,485,510.23
    Debt on 01.20.01: $5,727,776,738,304.64
    An increase of:
    $4,901,104,747,205.59
    Debt 05.01.12: $15,673,229,738,379.98
    Debt 01.20.09: $10,626,877,048,913.08
    An increase of:
    $5,046,352,689,466.90
    Bush in office 2,921 days.
    Bush deficit spent per day:
    $1,677,885,911.40
    Obama in office 1,197 days (through 05.01.12).
    Obama deficit spends per day:
    $4,215,833,491.62
    Public debt on 01.20.09:
    $6,307,310,739,681.66
    Public debt on 05.01.12:
    $10,910,025,382,723.66
    Obama has increased the nation’s debt held by the public by $4,602,714,643,042 in 1,197 days.
    Obama has increased the debt held by the public by 72.97% – SEVENTY-TWO POINT NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT – in 1,197 days.
    The $5,046,352,689,466.90 in additional debt that the U.S. government has taken on during the 40 months that Obama has been president is more debt than the Federal government accumulated in the first 219 years of the Republic.
    Total Debt = $15,673,229,738,379.98
    Total GDP = $15,180,900,000,000.00
    Debt-to-GDP = 103.24%

    Resist We Much on May 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    ………….

    How desperate do you have to be to claim “I didn’t spend that much..it was Bush” four years and trillions of dollars spent into your own adminsitration with democratic majorities.

    Epic fail.

  15. Baxter Greene says:

    Of course we have seen this type of decit from the Obama adminsitrtion for the last 4 years.

    Remember Pelosi putting out that chart that stated Obama was responsible for the least amount of debt than other recent Presidents….
    ……….of course they dropped all of 2009 out to get the numbers they wanted…just like they are trying to do now.

    Politifact, WaPo: No, Obama is the “undisputed debt king”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/09/29/politifact-wapo-no-obama-is-the-undisputed-debt-king/

    “Whoever put the chart together used the date for Jan. 20, 2010 — which is exactly one year to the day after Obama was sworn in — rather than his actual inauguration date. We know this because Treasury says the debt for Jan. 20, 2010, was $12.327 trillion, which is the exact number cited on the supporting document that Pelosi’s office gave us.

    However this error happened, it effectively took one year of rapidly escalating debt out of Obama’s column and put it into Bush’s, significantly skewing the numbers. …”

    Wow…where have we seen this type of cooking the books before…
    ……..Global warming models…..Obamacare….stimulus…….
    ……..well yes but this is more “smoke and mirrors” decit coming from democrats.

    “Let’s not forget that the Democrats kept Bush out of the loop on the 2009 budget, too, by passing continuing resolutions until Obama took office. He signed the massive omnibus bill passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress in March 2009 to finish that budget. And who ran the House of Representatives at that time, and for the last two years of the Bush presidency? Why, none other than Nancy Pelosi, that’s who.”

    ….but in liberal land….Obama gets all the credit for any jobs or economic success associated with 2009….but the negative economic ramifications put into play by filibuster proof democratic majorities are all Bush’s fault.

    How pathetic liberals are pushing this drivel.

  16. Janet MacDougall says:

    There is an excellent book available online called How to Lie with Statistics.

    Mr Nutting (aptly named) appears to have taken it to heart in his “analysis”.

  17. Tom says:

    Final Score: Obama Admin – 87, San Antonio Spurs 135.
    Associated Press (San Antonio, Tx)

    This one was over almost before it started. In the first quarter, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobil, Tony Parker and company simply shredded the Obama Administration – going for a franchise record 52 first quarter points, and more incredibly, a 52-6 advantage after 1 quarter. Greg Popovich pulled all his starters, and eventually subs, and played with only ball boys and various dance team members after the half, coasting to a 135-87 victory, continuing the Spurs streak of consecutive wins which has been going on almost as long as the lack of a congressional budget. After the game, team captain Barack Obama had this to say: “We got better every quarter. If you look at the box score, we cut scoring and added points in each quarter.” After a long pause due to his teleprompter locking up he continued: “If you compare the point differential from each quarter we cut scoring by over 25% each quarter, while our negative differential improved by over 558% throughout our time on the court. That’s a better differential improvement than that Texas girls basketball team that won 100-0 since you can’t divide by zero. In conclusion, I will now spam every youtube video with an ad showing how we actually outperformed a team that won 100-0 with real facts. Are you in, Julias?” Asked for a comment on Obama’s assessment of the victory, Greg Popovich responded predictably with a blank stare followed by a “Because we made shots and they didn’t.” Despite the depressingly bad outcome, the Obama administration is still confident they can hang with the Wizards.

  18. Jim Sweet says:

    I can only respond to Tom above with “Tim Duncan for President”.

  19. Timpysan says:

    Fantastic analysis. I will be sharing this in an upcoming blog post at FFN.

  20. BaconCrisps says:

    Dear liberal friends,

    Imagine a woman married to an abusive man. Over the course of 8 years, the violence escalates and takes a sudden rise at the end, before she finally divorces. Her next husband approves of her ex’s level of abuse and keeps it at its highest level for a time before ratcheting it down – though still well above the levels of abuse given by her ex for most of the marriage. Do you call the second husband a romantic? Do you talk about the abuse that never happened? When someone ‘quibbles’ over a single punch (ie Rule 2), do you deride that person because that single punch was such a small part of the abuse (which allegedly isn’t happening anyhow)?

    That Obama supporters are using inconsistent indicators is important. What is most important is the context for these numbers. Those who contend that Obama is not a profligate spender are suffering from something analogous to battered person syndrome. Hopefully enough of us are willing to get out of this destructive relationship.

  21. [...] there’s more! This enormous and excellent graphic by Political Math (again, I’m indebted to the work that went into these graphics, make sure to click the links [...]

  22. Just The Facts says:

    ptpatil – very good response. This one is funny to me. It is a classic case of Tax tax spend spend vs borrow borrow spend spend. Why did the repubs even make the imaginary Obama spending a talking point like they have been fiscally responsible? I am a true centrist by the way and think both sides are full of sh$t!! One side is just more full of it than the other lately.

  23. Matt says:

    Hey ptpatil, can you prove your assertion that, “…that spending increases under Obama have been less than any Prez since Ike.

    Why do people like you come to the defense of our moron POTUS?

    -Matt
    libertyforamericans.wordpress.com

  24. [...] Refuting MarketWatch on Obama’s spending with an infographic | Political Math “And I’m d**n tired of picking it apart 140 characters at a time, so I put together this sarcastic infographic showing exactly how sloppy this piece really is.” [...]

  25. [...] Did the Obama Spending Binge Happen? Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  26. Yaniv says:

    WHY did spending spike in 2009, while BUSH was President (but by NOWHERE NEAR as much as the deficit)? Why oh why? Could it be because the country underwent a financial SHOCK and entered a minor DEPRESSION that dramatically increased automatic spending on food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, and other safety-net programs. COULD THAT be the reason that spending went up so much in Bush’s last budget??? Or do we think Congressional Democrats decided to throw a debt party just to celebrate the end of the W catastrophe?

    The reasons that the budget goes up BEFORE Obama takes over are still with us, insomuch as the economic crisis is still with us (and, alas, it is). Things would be immeasurably worse if government had cut back on these automatic stabilizers at the same time that individuals and businesses stopped spending their own money. That, in part, is WHY we have safety net programs in the first place. It’s also why we’ve so far avoided the fate of Great Britain.

  27. BaconCrisps says:

    “Just The Facts,” if you truly are a centrist open to honest considerations of facts, consider this:

    First look at the critique contained in Rule 2. The critique is not about the relatively small number of $20 Billion. It’s the principle of claiming Bush caused money to be spent which, in actuality, was never spent. Reddit poster (via ptpatil) dismisses this as a nitpick about the amount. In other words, he missed the point.

    This leads him to dismiss Rule 3 as a mere extension of Rule 2. It’s a nice bit of sophistry, saying this is just about the $20 billion amount. Notice what he does next. He makes an excuse for using the non-reality based CBO number in 2009 – and only 2009. The excuse is that politicians were underestimating and disagreeing about the recession in 2009. What he doesn’t address is why we shouldn’t similarly use 2009 CBO numbers for Obama. That shouldn’t pass the smell test for you. Liberals don’t want to use the 2009 CBO numbers consistently because it would reveal that Obama consistently overspent those estimates. We can argue that he was justified in that spending because he too underestimated the recession…but that’s Reddit poster’s argument for using the CBO numbers to begin with!

    So let’s look at Rule 4. Reditt poster accuses politicalmathblog of inconsistency…for pointing out inconsistency of liberals’ numbers. After the liberals pick and choose using a 2009 CBO estimate, then using actual spending for following years, then choosing to use a current CBO estimate for 2013, why don’t we use the number that Obama himself is saying he wants to spend?

    Liberals are bookending their data with CBO estimates for the sole purpose of improving their own position. It has nothing to do with accuracy. Even the rationales are inconsistent. The 2009 CBO number is used because people in 2009 didn’t know how bad things would be and the number ended up being really close to actual spending (imagine if it underestimated, which number would liberals use then?). We’ve touched on that. The 2013 number is used because… it’s lower than Obama’s estimate.

    Let us turn to Rule 5. We can all see Bush increased spending, significantly, especially at the end of his term. And we can see the gradual decrease under Obama. So, Reddit poster’s question is “looks bad for whom?” Compelling stuff, eh?

    Okay, now go look at the graph in terms of spending – not trends – as the purpose for which the graph is presented. Obama’s spending year-by-year is far above Bush’s. This goes back to the notion of using baselines of previous years and the significance of the recession as a context. Is an unusually high rate of spending justified by the recession? If yes, let’s recognize that Obama’s spending is very very high, however justified. Despite being an obviously high rate of spending in historical terms (again, look at the graph, using your eyes) do we wish to say it really isn’t high (like ptpatil and company say)…because 2009 is just a baseline year and Bush was president and Obama isn’t spending the same as 2009? You must admit that is silly.

    Now let’s get back to Rule 1. There is an argument to be made about who is responsible for what spending in 2009. Obama supported TARP and all of that. Saying Obama had no control to stop policies…which he said he supported is disingenuous. In the end Bush was the president who made it law and there’s no sense quibbling. But neither can we foist the stimulus on Bush’s shoulders. Either way, we should recognize 2009 was a different kind of year – not a valid baseline for all future spending. ptpatil’s poster doesn’t really respond or recognize the debate here, he’s just dismissive.

    I loved the following:

    “Obama gets credits for the jobs from FY 2009″ has less to do with the budget and more to do with the stimulus, duhh.”

    Do you see how much he missed the point? He is comfortable making Bush responsible for stimulus spending…but maintains any job credit goes to Obama. He takes for granted that the stimulus was responsible. Why not credit TARP?

    You fell for a shell game, Mr. Facts.

  28. Yaniv says:

    Just to complete the picture:

    Spending shot up by 20% in 2009 for a very good reason. At the same time Revenue went down. The difference is the huge deficit. Obama didn’t do it, and trying to avoid it, by cutting 30% of Federal spending overnight would have landed us in Great Depression territory.

    The time to trim expense and, yes, raise taxes, was in the years BEFORE the crisis. W squandered the opportunity with his tax cuts and wars.

  29. BaconCrisps says:

    Yaniv, I agree it would be disastrous to cut spending to match revenue during a recession. But that doesn’t justify any and all new spending.

    If we use 2008 as a baseline, we’ve been running a stimulus program of about $600 billion every year. 2009 TARP, Stimulus, etc was supposed to be a one time shot, though many disagree whether those programs did much good.

    So hitting a recession in 2008, I agree we shouldn’t have blindly cut spending merely because revenue went down. That says nothing about new spending.

    You also forget that we hit a recession during the early 2000s when Bush passed the tax cuts. The deficit is not the root of the problem – it’s the spending. The higher the rate of spending, the greater the likelihood we will suffer large deficits. The solution TAX…and SPEND is a well-known political philosophy.

  30. Mac says:

    No liberal dip$hit should ever have the cajones to point an accusing finger at Bush and mention TARP. Our imbecile current president was all for it, and voted for it in the Senate. Trying to blame TARP on Bush is like crying and whining to the cops that, well, yes, it’s true that I emptied the teller’s drawer, but HE was the one who actually pointed the gun and robbed the bank. Man, liberals are complete arrogant douchebags. I shudder to think of what the world is going to be like if these weasels get their way for another four years.

  31. RedScourge says:

    @Yaniv: “…cutting 30% of Federal spending overnight would have landed us in Great Depression territory.”

    No, the Great Depression was caused by Federal Reserve going against previous currency policy and causing an artificial dollar crisis (either by incompetence or conspiracy), and prolonged by the sort of expensive new policies that are going on right now such as the Obama administration’s poorly designed healthcare plan, which rather than breaking up the monopoly of the healthcare and insurance complex, seeks instead to consolidate it and throw the expense onto the backs of the taxpayers.

  32. [...] there’s more! This enormous and excellent graphic by Political Math (again, I’m indebted to the work that went into these graphics, make sure to click the links [...]

  33. Go back and look at 1919 and 1948. Both had cuts of this magnitude. 1919 cased the Roaring 20′s, the largest middle-class growth in the last 100 years. 1948 caused the 1950′s, which were the second-largest middle-class growth in the last century. Neither one caused a “great depression” like @yaniv claims.

  34. Yaniv says:

    BaconCrisps

    So you DO agree that cutting spending to match revenue during a recession would have been a disaster. Why is that?? Why is it OBVIOUSLY WRONG to cut spending in the face of economic near-cataclysm but OK to effectively cut programs to the most vulnerable, like unemployment, food stamps, and Medicaid? You can quibble with the word “cut,” but when millions of new people lost their jobs and became eligible for these programs in 2008, we had a choice: to sustain those programs and have them do what they were designed to do (and sustain significant deficit spending in the process, on TOP of the revenue shortfall) OR we could have chosen to dramatically raise the bar to entry and DENY these new people their food stamps, unemployment, medical care, etc. Would that have been better? Do you think we’d have a better economy now? Aside from the strong Keynesian argument here, there is simply NO WAY to maintain a real safety net -AND- balanced budgets, or even flat budgets, during severe economic downturns. Keeping the budget flat would have entailed savage austerity in practice, as people whose situations would previously have qualified them for all sorts of help in the past, would have been left to fend for themselves.

    You say that many people disagree with TARP or the stimulus doing much good. People disagree about the color of the sky these days. The studies I’ve seen estimate jobs retaines as a result of the stimulus at between 1 and 4 million, but most ECONOMISTS seem to agree that the stimulus did, in fact, help us avoid a significantly deeper downturn. TARP I don’t want to get too far into, because I like the banks even less than then next guy. I might have put them into public receivership and washed out the Augean stables of Wall Street. But letting the financial system collapse entirely? I’m aware that “many” say that would have been the best remedy, but…

    Aside from the stimulus (which WAS a one-time thing), what Obama did–rather than putting into place all sorts of expansive new spending measures and government programs, as is often claimed or implied–was for the most to retain the old safety net AS IT WAS. Yes–there have been some extensions of unemployment insurance, but that’s pretty reasonable when there are millions upon millions of long term unemployed, and millions barely getting by, and these are still a drop in the bucket next to the deficits we’ve been running. Yes, there is HCR, but the effect on deficits so far is basically zilch, and may be less than zilch long term. The basic point is that the huge deficits everyone on the Right is suddenly apoplectic over are not remotely the result of “Obama’s expansion of government.” George W Bush did FAR FAR more in new spending, with his expansion of Medicare and the war in Iraq.

    Selecting a baseline is always tricky. I’m a biologist and it’s a challenge for us as well. But several things are changing here. Inflation has been 2-3% per year. Population in the US is going up by about 1% yearly. At the same time the economic conditions that pushed millions into the safety net have only partially (maybe 30%) abated. These are all factors that need to be taken into account when considering what the baseline intuitively ought to be (I’m not an economist, and I don’t have the wherewithal to be rigorous about this). Just adding inflation and population growth, we get to about a 10% increase over 3 years, and that’s WITHOUT taking into consideration the increase in safety net spending, or two other VERY important and interconnected factors–the aging of the population and rising healthcare costs (which HCR at least BEGINS to address).

    The picture of spending in the last chart supports this narrative. Spending shoots up prior to Obama becoming president, and through the first few months of his presidency, then plateaus and begins to drift down (along with unemployment, not coincidentally). It does not return to pre 2009 levels, because spending on the safety net is still far higher than normal. Meanwhile, inflation, population growth, and baby boomer healthcare and retirement expenses are pushing up the baseline. Barring an economic catastrophe (perhaps brought about by a “successful” debt ceiling stand by TPers in the House) we will NEVER see a return to 2009 levels of spending. And it WASN’T all, or even mostly, Obama’s fault.

  35. Yaniv says:

    @OhioHistorian

    What happened RIGHT BEFORE 1920 and 1948???? I’ll give you a clue: the answer rhymes with “boar.” Also, in both cases the economy was firing (haha) on all cylinders and then some when the Federal budget shrank. Do you REALLY think the military budget cuts of 1948 caused the prosperity of the 50′s? REALLY????

  36. norbit peters says:

    Thanks so much for this chart. I’ve saved it and will reference in the future, I’m sure.

  37. Ann in Nebraska says:

    I, too, am saving this. I’m also printing it out!!! Every once in a while, someone puts together something truly amazing, and this is IT!!! Many, many thanks for all your hard work!!!

  38. [...] picture of Obama’s actual spending, the guys at Political Math have your back: here’s their chart; and their short-but-effective [...]

  39. [...] at Political Math they came up with a great graphic that demolishes the bogus Obama-is-a-skinflint [...]

  40. [...] Nutting did not compare apples with apples, but rather swerved between CBO figures and Obama’s own numbers for no apparent reason but [...]

  41. [...] Nutting titled “Obama spending binge never happened,” which has been resoundingly debunked and discredited by a number of [...]

  42. Not Chicken Little says:

    Look, all you really have to ask is, what was our national debt when Bush left office, and what is our national debt now (and Obama is not through his first term yet)? It is obvious except to morons and DemocRATs (but I repeat myself) that spending must have increased, in fact more than all Presidents combined before him, under Obama, when we now all of a sudden owe more than $16 TRILLION and will owe more than $25 TRILLION if he gets his way and if the idiot Republicans keep agreeing to increase the so-called “debt limit”…

  43. BaconCrisps says:

    @yaniv

    Let’s get to a central issue. You say I “quibble” with the word “cut.” I do not.

    I agree we should not cut spending to match revenue just because a recession causes a drop in revenue (though I believe as a general rule spending should match revenue).

    Imagine if we were back in 2008. The recession hits. Cutting spending in the face of a recession would be cutting spending levels from what we had in 2008 down to the amount of reduced revenue.

    If we increase spending $700 billion in the face of a recession and then cut it by $500 billion (didn’t happen obviously)…we’re still well above pre-recession spending, even accounting for inflation. You want to equate these two scenarios.

    So we would not be “effectively [cutting] programs to the most vulnerable, like unemployment, food stamps, and Medicaid [and sustaining] those programs and have them do what they were designed to do (and sustain significant deficit spending in the process, on TOP of the revenue shortfall) …”

    We EXPANDED unemployment, we threw money at (not) shovel-ready projects, we threw money at Solyndra and the like, more money at colleges and municipalities, and of course the ACA. You can argue that these were worthwhile expansions but don’t pretend they were regular expenditures in accordance with existing law.

    Obviously increased claims for unemployment, food stamps, and Medicaid during a recession expands the deficit. But so much of the increased spending did not go to the regular operation of those programs. You go at length to argue about the extra expenditures being good and worthy. But that is a separate issue from merely cutting spending to accord with whatever revenue happens to be. You tangle the separate issues into one argument, conceding that not all of the spending was in accordance with programs existing in 2008. The point being that increasing spending in a recession and later scaling it back a little bit is not the same as cutting in the face of a recession.

    If we’re not going to agree that the increased spending is good and worthy (no matter how reasonable an assumption you think it is) then let’s focus on the actual statistics of spending. Justify them later, but don’t deny them. Obama has spent like crazy compared to the pre-recession spending, even accounting for inflation.

    “Selecting a baseline is always tricky.”

    Let’s use the baseline for the last “normal” year of 2008 and let’s account for inflation (that’s normally what we do!). Your description of a baseline implicitly makes recession spending the new normal. That is exactly the problem!

    “The picture of spending in the last chart supports this narrative. Spending shoots up prior to Obama becoming president, and through the first few months of his presidency, then plateaus and begins to drift down (along with unemployment, not coincidentally).”

    But that amount remains well above pre-recession spending, even accounting for inflation. Even accounting for baby boomers and population growth. We can’t pretend that the Stimulus and ACA didn’t happen. They both add significantly to our debt. And we only see the tip of the iceberg for ACA spending in the numbers above. The battle here is over whether Obama has dramatically increased spending. The new normal should not be recession era spending – however justified you believe it to be – because we are not forever in a recession (we hope).

    “Barring an economic catastrophe (perhaps brought about by a ‘successful’ debt ceiling stand by TPers in the House) we will NEVER see a return to 2009 levels of spending. And it WASN’T all, or even mostly, Obama’s fault.”

    I’m faulting Obama for his increased spending – not the recession. See my analogy in my first post for a more intuitive sense of what’s happening.

  44. Yaniv says:

    Not Chicken Little: you’ll perhaps understand if no one but morons and vermin wants anything to do with you.

  45. [...] blog Political Math (via Hot Air) constructed an easy-to-follow infographic that spells out all the ways Mr. Nutting is, well, full of it.  Follow [...]

  46. [...] Obama actually signed the last part of the budget in March 2009. All of which is true. (Here’s an infographic summing up some other problems Republicans have with Nutting’s analysis.) Nutting points out that [...]

  47. Yaniv says:

    BaconCrisps:

    I believe I’ve put forward a cogent and truthful argument. I don’t understand many parts of your rebuttal (what does Solyndra have to do with it?), and frankly don’t have the time or patience to disprove your claims about the fiscal consequences of ACA so far (negligible) or into the future (somewhat speculative, and very likely beneficial).

    We won’t agree about the stimulus, obviously, but we know EXACTLY what the stimulus cost. You also do know it was NOT all charged to one year’s budget, right? The bottom line is that ONLY by looking at absolute numbers (or at deficits–even more deceptive), WITHOUT analyzing exactly where spending came from, and without considering what usually happens in severe economic downturns (2001 wasn’t even in the same zipcode) can one conclude that Obama blew up the budget. What happened, deficit wise, has FAR more to do with AUTOMATIC spending on unemployment, Medicaid, food stamps and other safety net programs, and, of course, the lack of revenue.

    You stake your case on the 2009 budget including all sorts of anomalous extra spending that then presumably gets sneakily extended ad infinitum… But there is NO sinister new spending in that budget or any other. There are significant increases on spending on the safety net, and there’s the stimulus. THE analysis of NEW spending (as opposed to existing law) under Obama has been done. It demonstrates that Obama, unlike Bush, did not initiate significant new spending, with the exception of the stimulus. Yes: this is one case where EXISTING LAW had severe implications for the deficit. You can argue that EXISTING LAW was terrible and wasteful and should have been immediately amended (that’s called austerity).

    You can argue that Obama’s spending on the stimulus and unemployment extension and the payroll tax cuts were horrible policy that didn’t work, and that they are responsible for our fiscal predicament. You can even argue both. And we can both present facts and opinions.

    What you can’t legitimately do (in my opinion) is point at the graph of spending or deficits and say: “see it’s OBVIOUS”–as so many people seem to do. This ignores the very real consequences severe economic circumstance we have been in over the past 3 years on both sides of the fiscal ledger.

    The rest of it is hand-waving with graphs and extremely tenuous analogies.

  48. Yaniv says:

    Another interesting chart, showing revenues and outlays MIRRORING one another starting in 2009.

    http://brickcity.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/10-charts-of-the-year-federal-spending-and-revenues/

    The symmetry at the end is uncanny, and it is NOT accidental, or the result of a Democratic plot to spend like crazy JUST AS revenues were falling. Aside from the stimulus, this did not happen. Both trends were caused by the same economic forces.

    Should we perhaps give Obama “credit” for the drastic lowering of Federal government revenue as a % of GDP?

  49. buckroper says:

    +1 BaconCrisps
    Common Sense is a hard thing to deal with for some!

  50. [...] Yeh, it works to his advantage if they don’t know math: h/t http://smalldeadanimals.com You can see all the rules at the original site http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=1786 [...]

  51. [...] Obama actually signed the last part of the budget in March 2009. All of which is true. (Here’s an infographic summing up some other problems Republicans have with Nutting’s analysis.) Nutting points out that [...]

  52. Yaniv says:

    @buckroper

    Common sense says government should tighten its belt when everyone else is doing so.

    Even BaconCrisps admits otherwise.

    Common sense, it turns out, is sometimes a poor guide to macroeconomics.

  53. shagdrum says:

    @Yaniv

    You are very good at muddying the waters but not so good at economics.

    As to the “word that rhymes with ‘boar’” proceeding 1920 or 1948, it is really impossible to argue that the wartime economy saw a recovery in any REAL sense; it can only be argued by looking at abstract metrics, such as GDP and what not. But when unemployment is artificially low due to a draft and resources are being rationed by the government, that is not a recovery. The REAL recovery came after the war. Of course, most EVERY Keynesian economist predicted economic collapse in the face of heavily reduced government spending (“the greatest period of unemployment and industrial dislocation which any economy has ever faced” as Paul Samuelson put it). Instead we transitioned from a wartime economy and the economy boomed. You might want to look at the “Broken Window Fallacy” and read this article as well: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=138

    Simply creating jobs doesn’t end a recession. WHERE the jobs are created matters as well, otherwise you are simply setting up more economic failure. Government does not have the ability to create jobs in the sectors for legitimate recovery (as opposed to simply creating bubbles). When price signals and profit/loss feedback is left to work, the private sector is the only area where legitimate recovery can come from. “Stimulus” spending only inhibits that.

    Yaniv, I will say it is entertaining watching you try and fit a square peg in a round hole with regards to Obama’s and Bush’s spending. But you have generally avoided the point about baseline manipulation (though vague allusions about it being “tricky” to create a baseline. Do you understand how baseline budgeting works and why it is, in many ways, an accounting cheat?

    Do you understand that most economic analysis DOES account for inflation (not simply the “absolute numbers” you talk about) and that even in looking at absolute numbers, the difference is marginal and not the HUGE difference you attribute to it here?

    You clearly don’t seem to grasp that we are not talking merely about the uptick in general “safety net” spending typical in a recession, but in stimulus efforts (which are distinct from typical safety net spending), bailouts, new entitlements and more stimulus. Outside of new entitlements, these are all sold as ONE TIME expenditures. To refuse to pass a budget and simply use those expenditures as the baseline is dishonest. You have yet to confront that point, instead, implicitly lumping them in with normal economic spending.

    Historically, stimulus spending is NOT the norm in an economic downturn (nor part of typical “safety net” spending as you seem to imply). Also, the track record of creating “shovel ready jobs” to create an economic recovery is dubious at best.

    The loss of tax revenue and increase in typical safety net spending is not anywhere near enough to explain the huge jump in federal spending. Multiple stimulus’s, squandering the $400 billion (plus interest) paid back by the financial sector, creating new entitlements and “quantitative easing” are HUGE factors as well. They can’t simply be brushed under the rug by pointing to red herrings (absolute vs inflation adjusted numbers, recessionary safety net spending, drops in tax revenue, etc.).

  54. shagdrum says:

    @Yaniv

    “The time to trim expense and, yes, raise taxes, was in the years BEFORE the crisis. W squandered the opportunity with his tax cuts and wars.”

    Are you assuming that the tax rate cuts lost money? If so, I must assume you don’t understand how taxes work. There is no linear correlation between tax RATES and tax REVENUE. There would have to be for that statement to make any economic sense.

    However, as you have alluded to, there IS a correlation between tax revenue and economic growth. But economic growth has not typically come via government “stimulus”.

  55. [...] MarketWatch’s Rex Nutting On Obama Spending (Infographic) « Political Math. [...]

  56. [...] actually signed the last part of the budget in March 2009. All of which is true. (Here’s an infographic summing up some other problems Republicans have with Nutting’s analysis.) Nutting points out that [...]

  57. Paul says:

    Tiny correction, isn’t 12.5 % over four years about 2.99 % annualized, if you use the proper geometric means?

    I wonder if this little correction is proper in that now notorious graph of the last several presidents’ year-over-year annualized spending increases.

    But really, why doesn’t every thinking person immediately say so what to that meaningless statistic?

    How could anyone be so stupid as to characterize that as “slowest spending in decades?” I’m not accelerating the car much, therefore it is going slowly.

    And I don’t even convince you of that by quoting my absolute change of velocity — I make a big thing look small by quoting my RELATIVE change of velocity! Now don’t those past presidencies look much worse?

    Nakedly dishonest use of statistics, apparent even WITHOUT your research (for which, thank you).

  58. Whats saddest about Nutting’s graph is that he delibrately ignores most of the huge spending in 2009 because it wasn’t on the official budget for that year. He’s basing his numbers on budgets… when congress hasn’t passed a budget for 3 years straight. Does that mean the last two years Obama spent NOTHING?

  59. Yaniv says:

    Shagdrum:

    I don’t have time or desire to engage your ad hominem and I won’t offer a complete economic re-education. I’m familiar enough with the work of the Austrians.

    I certainly don’t argue that War is good, or represents a positive use of government power or economic capacity. But total war, such as we had in WWII at any rate, produces a huge increase in government spending and debt, accompanied by concomitant reduction in privately held debt. The major problem we have today is far too much debt in the private sector.

    “Government does not have the ability to create jobs in the sectors for legitimate recovery (as opposed to simply creating bubbles). When price signals and profit/loss feedback is left to work, the private sector is the only area where legitimate recovery can come from. “Stimulus” spending only inhibits that.”

    This is not reasoning–it is an article of faith, and a simplistic/dogmatic approach to how an economy works. I won’t try to argue, just as I don’t argue when someone invokes the Holy Trinity.

    “…we are not talking merely about the uptick in general “safety net” spending typical in a recession, but in stimulus efforts (which are distinct from typical safety net spending), bailouts, new entitlements and more stimulus. Outside of new entitlements, these are all sold as ONE TIME expenditures. To refuse to pass a budget and simply use those expenditures as the baseline is dishonest. You have yet to confront that point, instead, implicitly lumping them in with normal economic spending.” … AND your last paragraph.

    Again, assertion without evidence. The NYT analysis reposted by Ezra Klein shows otherwise. If you have a better breakdown, please provide it.

    “Do you understand that most economic analysis DOES account for inflation (not simply the “absolute numbers” you talk about) and that even in looking at absolute numbers, the difference is marginal and not the HUGE difference you attribute to it here?”

    Absolute spending numbers, especially absolute numbers plotted on a linear-linear chart are very misleading, because population and economic output grows exponentially. The last chart here, the one that pretends to be so telling, does all of that.

    “Are you assuming that the tax rate cuts lost money? If so, I must assume you don’t understand how taxes work. There is no linear correlation between tax RATES and tax REVENUE. There would have to be for that statement to make any economic sense.
    However, as you have alluded to, there IS a correlation between tax revenue and economic growth. But economic growth has not typically come via government “stimulus”.

    Ah the Laffer curve. Higher tax rates do not reduce revenue but they DO reduce economic growth! (but don’t dare increase tax rates, because that diverts wealth from the immaculately efficient free market to the government, which doesn’t know how to spend it…except that it doesn’t, because raising tax rates doesn’t generate revenue anyway…) Or do I detect a note of equivocation when you use the word “linear.” Nobody in their right mind claims that revenue is linearly related to tax rates, of course.

  60. Paul says:

    RSS feed is not working I would love to subscribe but it gives me a wordpress error page

  61. shagdrum says:

    @Yaniv

    So, logical deduction is no an “article of faith”?!

    As to Ezra Klein’s “evidence”, over my “lack of evidence”; given his pattern for half truths, straw men and generally dishonest arguments, Klein has zero credibility. When it comes to calculating budgetary effects of policy on the deficit in particular, he has show a lack of economic understanding (absurdly assuming a static economy in his “analysis”, for instance) and a pattern of distortion in this area…
    http://blog.american.com/2012/02/ezra-klein-compiles-the-most-misleading-budget-graphic-of-the-year-and-its-only-february/

    http://keithhennessey.com/2012/02/01/response-chart/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+KeithHennessey+%28Keith+Hennessey%3A+Your+guide+to+American+economic+policy%29

    As to the supposed lack of “proof”, you are, essentially, demanding I prove a negative. It is you who is arguing that the spending went up mostly because of normal safety net spending which also caused the deficit to go up (in conjunction with tax revenue loss). The burden of proof for that is on YOU to prove your assertions, not me to disprove them…unless you think there is no such think as a negative proof fallacy.

    FYI, simply redefining all spending in 2009 as normal spending in a recession (as you seem to be implying) doesn’t cut it.

    Anyway, the evidence you demand has been alluded to (if not specifically pointed out) numerous times in the comments section already, but you keep ignoring it. Let me give you a brief rundown.

    February 17, 2009: Obama sign’s the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) which, last I looked, ended up costing around $825 billion (though that might have since been revised). Nutting only attributes $140 billion of this to Obama because it was spent after 10/01/2009 (the start of FY2010).

    Senator Obama voted for TARP, President-elect Obama “asked” Bush to release the second part of TARP funding on Jan. 12, 2009, $200 billion of which Obama has spent before 10/01/2009 (of course, any paybacks from TARP get credited to Obama in Nutting’s “analysis”).

    March 11, 2009; Obama signed a $410 appropriations bill (with 8,000+ earmarks) that Bush had specifically rejected.

    March 12, 2009; Obama signed into law the budget for FY2009. The Democrat controlled legislature specifically avoided allowing Bush to sign that budget so they could fill it with more spending when they had control of both branches of government.

    Unless otherwise noted, EVERY ONE of these examples were credited to Bush in the Marketwatch piece and became part of the baseline for which Obama’s spending was judged in subsequent years. Also, payback from TARP was credited to Obama even if it was payback of funds that Bush had spent.

    TARP and the stimulus bill were SPECIFICALLY sold as one time events to “boost the economy” and have now become part of the baseline (meaning ongoing spending). That is close to $1 trillion in spending that Nutting credits to Bush instead of Obama. With regards to the stimulus, information from a memo by Larry Summers (an economic adviser to Obama) shows the stimulus was never simply about actually stimulating the economy, but about paying back constituents and funding pet projects.

    From Summers memo, “The short-run economic imperative was to identify as many campaign promises or high priority items that would spend out quickly and be inherently temporary. … The stimulus package is a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.”

    This is was sold as a one time effort to stimulate the economy. The actual intentions of the effort are clearly something else and the level of spending imposed by that effort is now part of the baseline (while the original bill is effectively attributed to Bush.

    “Absolute spending numbers, especially absolute numbers plotted on a linear-linear chart are very misleading, because population and economic output grows exponentially. The last chart here, the one that pretends to be so telling, does all of that.”

    Proof? You imply that the chart is not adjusted for inflation but I see nothing to suggest either way.

    Relevance? Assuming you are correct and the numbers are not adjusted, can you show that such an adjusted would fundamentally alter the picture? Or are you simply looking to red herrings to muddy the waters and believe what you want to believe?

  62. shagdrum says:

    @Yaniv

    “Ah the Laffer curve. Higher tax rates do not reduce revenue but they DO reduce economic growth! (but don’t dare increase tax rates, because that diverts wealth from the immaculately efficient free market to the government, which doesn’t know how to spend it…except that it doesn’t, because raising tax rates doesn’t generate revenue anyway…) Or do I detect a note of equivocation when you use the word “linear.” Nobody in their right mind claims that revenue is linearly related to tax rates, of course.”

    No one may claim that revenue is linearly related to tax rates, but EVERYONE who claims that “tax cuts cost the government” ASSUMES it…unless you can show how the logic works with those claims withOUT that assumption. Almost every ESTIMATE of “tax cuts” costing the government assumes a static economy and therefore a linear correlation between revenue and rates (CBO estimates for instance). EVERY study that shows specific historical tax rate drops cost the government revenue is arguing counterfactuals and, in doing so, assumes a linear correlation. As you allude to, that assumption is never stated, but it is there. It is simply covered up by the phase “tax cuts” which removes any distinction between tax RATES and tax REVENUE.

    Also, you seem to be setting up a straw man when you claim, “increase[d] tax rates…divert…wealth from the…free market to the government…except that it doesn’t, because raising tax rates doesn’t generate revenue anyway”. In pointing to the Laffer curve, you are showing you should know better than this. The Laffer curve shows that rate increases do lead to revenue increases…up to a point. There is a point of diminishing returns and rate increases can lead to revenue decreases after that point as people look to avoid those taxes.

    It is in diverting investment that tax increases hurt economic growth. This is not simply due to the direct effect of redistribution through higher tax rates, but in efforts to avoid paying those taxes. Whether or not rate increases lead to revenue increases is irrelevant. What is relevant is that rate increases change the incentive structure and discourage investment and efficient job creation. Do you think incentives don’t matter?

    There is also my point about feedback mechanisms and price signals that you seem to miss…

  63. shagdrum says:

    Oh, a couple other things to keep in mind;

    Nutting didn’t use inflation adjusted numbers. So, assuming the final chart in the infograph isn’t using inflation adjusted numbers, it is simply comparing apples to apples with regards to Nutting’s original piece.

    also, the “absolute numbers” is in contrast to the “rate of increase” between years that Nutting focuses on. Why would “rate of increase” be a more accurate reflection of reality than absolute numbers?

    Here are a couple charts that are adjusted for inflation, credit Bush with the 2009 budget (something I think is questionable) and attribute the stimulus to Obama.
    http://blog.american.com/2012/05/washingtons-new-normal-obamas-permanently-higher-level-of-spending/

  64. BaconCrisps says:

    @yaniv

    “I believe I’ve put forward a cogent and truthful argument. I don’t understand many parts of your rebuttal (what does Solyndra have to do with it?), and frankly don’t have the time or patience to disprove your claims about the fiscal consequences of ACA so far (negligible) or into the future (somewhat speculative, and very likely beneficial).”

    With this passage, I know you are in academia. The smugness and clear habit of speaking down to those who are the students is evident. There is also the constant shifting of the terms of the debate.

    I admit my post could have been better constructed. Footnotes could have helped. That you so totally missed the point is based on your inability to follow any argument but your own.

    Let me be clear(er), there are two arguments. One is whether Obama has been a big spender. The other is whether this spending is justified (and even inevitable). I know your objection is that the two arguments inevitably intersect. But let’s not assume the necessity of the spending from the start based on speculation of the effect of unemployment claims and the like. Recognize the high rate of spending and THEN use your facts to justify it – if you have the time and patience (or otherwise care if others aren’t willing to take your word as gospel).

    “You stake your case on the 2009 budget including all sorts of anomalous extra spending that then presumably gets sneakily extended ad infinitum… But there is NO sinister new spending in that budget or any other. There are significant increases on spending on the safety net, and there’s the stimulus. THE analysis of NEW spending (as opposed to existing law) under Obama has been done. It demonstrates that Obama, unlike Bush, did not initiate significant new spending, with the exception of the stimulus. Yes: this is one case where EXISTING LAW had severe implications for the deficit. You can argue that EXISTING LAW was terrible and wasteful and should have been immediately amended (that’s called austerity).”

    The ACA initiated new spending. Yes, I know it’s largely not in the graphs above and you have an awesome argument all about why the ACA isn’t new spending, but it was a major initiation of new spending – estimated to be about the same as the the highest amount we spent in a year on the Afganistan and Iraq wars, every year for the next decade.

    But let’s stick to the graphs, setting aside your assumptions and speculations about what it REALLY means and without your false claims that Obama hasn’t initiated new spending.

    Obama is spending at historically high levels. That it hasn’t remained at or above 2009 levels is not a badge of honor. When Obama touts the fact that his spending has increased at a historically low rate of 1.6%, we must consider that in the context of where his spending rate is. Obama is spending at historically high rates.

    “…extremely tenuous analogies.”

    You gotta admit, the allusion to Obama as a “romantic” and the natural association with the “War on Women” meme was pretty good rhetoric.

    If you want to have the argument you’re wanting – let’s use honest and consistent numbers. The blog post identifies how the numbers are not honest and consistent. Does Obama object to the increased spending by Bush? If not – if he continues and endorses that spending, adds new spending now (the Stimulus) and lots more in the future (the ACA), don’t pretend like Obama has a great sense of fiscal restraint. And no, I don’t think all budget cutting in a recession is a bad thing. I said, and maintain, that cutting spending simply to match revenue is a bad thing to do in a recession.

  65. [...] If you missed it, give a read to Political Math’s “How to make Obama’s spending look small.” [...]

  66. [...] If you missed it, give a read to Political Math’s “How to make Obama’s spending look small.” [...]

  67. SagePolitik says:

    Such informative comments!

  68. [...] Obama actually signed the last part of the budget in March 2009. All of which is true. (Here’s an infographic summing up some other problems Republicans have with Nutting’s analysis.) Nutting points out that [...]

  69. [...] If you missed it, give a read to Political Math’s “How to make Obama’s spending look small.” [...]

  70. [...] If you missed it, give a read to Political Math’s “How to make Obama’s spending look small.” [...]

  71. Anonymous says:

    [...] give a read to Political Math’s “How to make Obama’s spending look small.” http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=1786 **Written by Doug Powers http://michellemalkin.com/2012/05/26…al-restrained/ Laissez [...]

  72. David Rairigh says:

    Arguments about whether Bush or Obama is the biggest spender are beside the point. You are not addressing the problem, which is Congress. The POTUS has as much to do with budget creation as a ten year old has to do with the amount of his allowance. Instead of wasting your time on such a transitory issue why not concentrate on the persistent problem of how Congress creates the problem? Perhaps discuss why the American voter can not seem to get it through his head that you have to punish people who get elected and then don’t keep their promises. Stop re-electing failed politicians.

  73. Eddie says:

    David Rairigh, did you read the entire chart? Congressional spending is right in there.

  74. [...] The following infographic, which thoroughly debunks this claim, comes from Political Math (http://www.politicalmathblog.com…Viewed conceptually, the claim is nonsensical:  President Obama subscribes to Keynesian [...]

  75. [...] Political Math | MarketWatchs Rex Nutting On Obama Spending (Infographic) [...]

  76. [...] titled “Obama spending binge never happened,” which has been resoundingly debunked and discredited by a number of [...]

  77. [...] in case the arguments in the above are a bit too “wonky” for your taste, here’s a graph from Political Math that explains the inaccuracies in the MarketWatch [...]

  78. [...] in case the arguments in the above are a bit too “wonky” for your taste, here’s a graph from Political Math that explains the inaccuracies in the MarketWatch [...]

  79. [...] in case the arguments in the above are a bit too “wonky” for your taste, here’s a graph from Political Math that explains the inaccuracies in the MarketWatch [...]

  80. [...] Here’s Political Math Blog’s take: [...]

  81. James T says:

    Why so critical all the time. Analysis is great but you often make the focus showing that someone has been a fool. You could just state the errors and get the same across. Who are you really pissed at underneath it all?

    Your work could be used in much broader perspectives and quoted by many other outlets except who wants to hear you rant and rave. I’d rather have your takes on the facts – period.

  82. Funnyhaha71 says:

    I believe that your entire argument begins with faulty logic. You say that the FY 2009 was signed by Obama; while factually accurate, FY SPENDING began before Obama took office; the spending bill was signed in March 2009, 5.5 months after FY2009 spending had begun! So, FY2009 spending is the responsibility of both POTUSes and both Congresses. Neither can be given complete blame or passes.

    Since the 2009 FY spending began while Bush was still in office, wouldn’t we have to statistically split the results for the 2009 fiscal spending?

    You make a fair point about Obama’s job chart. However, your job chart is equally skewed because you don’t take into acct the 2009FY differences.

    If I understand this correctly, you want to replace CBO projection numbers for 2009, 2010 and 2011, but then you want to use CBO for 2012 and 2013? Since the 2012 Fiscal cycle isn’t over, how is your 2012 data accurate? (There are ways to make it accurate, but complicated statistical analysis would need to be used which, IMO, exceeds the scope of this project.)

    If I understand your argument correctly, in order to accurately compare actual spending (over a FY) with FY CBO, wouldn’t you need to drop 2012 and 2013 from this analysis?

    I don’t see how saying “it’s complicated” and then giving a very basic graph is unbiased. You spent time analyzing this; correct the chart and analysis if the 2009FY is too “complicated”! Perhaps 2009 should be dropped as it is complicated. So much change happened during the 2009FY that it may be incorrect to even use the data for comparison to other years that are strictly under Obama.

    Another issue; While Obama is requesting 3.8 Trillion for FY2013, the FY2013 budget was denied by Congress 8 days before you published this article and graph. Is it appropriate to say “Obama’s plan says 3.8 Trillion” when the actual plan hasn’t been passed?

    You accuse Nutter of massaging the data, but I can’t see how you can claim more accuracy. You state that those accusing you of massaging the data are just not following your process. Perhaps; I’m not an economist or a mathematician. Perhaps my logic is faulty. But I do feel that most to all of your graph is biased. I’m not willing to spend the time evaluating the numbers in more detail since you want to use 2 different analytic standards to come to one conclusion…. which is exactly what you accuse Nutter of doing.

    This never should have been a “Bush did this”, “Obama did that” comparison. Nutter didn’t do so. If you really want clear analysis, drop the complaints that others make about Bush. Complaining about someone’s partisanship while displaying partisanship (perhaps unintentionally) completely takes away any high ground you may be wishing to gain with your analysis.

    It is completely possible that I am off my rocker and am demonstrating serious logistical flaws. Please know that isn’t purposeful. I simply want to deal with the analysis of the numbers, not “this POTUS is better than that POTUS”. While I understand you think that Nutter is doing so, use the number to demonstrate what you feel are Nutter’s flaws and leave out the partisan comments. Your partisan comments put you on the same playing field, which I don’t think is your purpose.

  83. [...] See A Rundown Of The Problems In Nutting’s Analysis At Political Math Blog. [...]

  84. [...] actually signed the last part of the budget in March 2009. All of which is true. (Here’s an infographic summing up some other problems Republicans have with Nutting’s analysis.) Nutting points out that [...]

  85. [...] MarketWatch’s Rex Nutting On Obama Spending (Infographic)  [...]

  86. Canof Sand says:

    Re: People defending Obama: The conclusion by ALL credible sources, not just this blog, is that Obama’s “statistics” are of the “lies, damn lies, and ___” variety. This includes the Associated Press, the Washington Post, etc. etc., hardly bastions of conservatism.

  87. Alex says:

    The National Debt as of 09/28/2001 = $5,807,463,412,200.06 … as of his last budget year 09/30/2009 = $11,909,829,003,511.75 … that’s a little better than doubling it, or increasing by $6.1 Trillion

    Isn’t the whole budget for 2009 until the last day of September? Then you start counting the debt added by the next president the day hes fiscal year starts?
    I know that Obama added to the 2009 budget according to some documents its 187 BILLION for ARRA.

  88. Alex says:

    references:

    Bush requested $3.107 trillion, but the final budget of $3.52 trillion was passed by the Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama on March 12, 2009.

    Where can i find more info on budgets?
    For example we know that Bush requested $3.107 trillion and final spending was 3.52 trillion a 413 trillion increase from requested. We also know that Obama added 187 billion for ARRA.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARRA

    To who does the 226 billion increase belong to?

    I want to know what past presidents have requested and what was actually appropriated?
    Im betting it was always higher…. Obama bias…

    I remember that wikipedia used to show what was requested and what was actually appropriated. Somehow they removed that??? weird!

  89. [...] infographic debunks the Nutting article's claim (courtesy of the Political Math blog, http://politicalmathblog.com/?p=…Unfortunately, that means that the calculations that Paul presented are also incorrect.Now, while it [...]

  90. Chris says:

    This is great!

    ——————-

    You liberals can spin all you want….but you can’t change the facts:

    Debt on 01.19.09: $10,628,881,485,510.23
    Debt on 01.20.01: $5,727,776,738,304.64
    An increase of:
    $4,901,104,747,205.59
    Debt 05.01.12: $15,673,229,738,379.98
    Debt 01.20.09: $10,626,877,048,913.08
    An increase of:
    $5,046,352,689,466.90
    Bush in office 2,921 days.
    Bush deficit spent per day:
    $1,677,885,911.40
    Obama in office 1,197 days (through 05.01.12).
    Obama deficit spends per day:
    $4,215,833,491.62
    Public debt on 01.20.09:
    $6,307,310,739,681.66
    Public debt on 05.01.12:
    $10,910,025,382,723.66
    Obama has increased the nation’s debt held by the public by $4,602,714,643,042 in 1,197 days.
    Obama has increased the debt held by the public by 72.97% – SEVENTY-TWO POINT NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT – in 1,197 days.
    The $5,046,352,689,466.90 in additional debt that the U.S. government has taken on during the 40 months that Obama has been president is more debt than the Federal government accumulated in the first 219 years of the Republic.
    Total Debt = $15,673,229,738,379.98
    Total GDP = $15,180,900,000,000.00
    Debt-to-GDP = 103.24%

    ————————————-

    Hard to argue with that. Bush was bad enough, and Obama is worse. Do we really need 4 more years of this clown? I’m not a Mitt Romney fan by any means, but I’d welcome him into the White House just to silence the annoying Obama lackeys.

    • Alex says:

      The National Debt as of 09/28/2001 = $5,807,463,412,200.06 … as of his last budget year 09/30/2009 = $11,909,829,003,511.75 … thats a little better than doubling it, or increasing by $6.1 Trillion

      The Bush budget is not over until 09/30/2009.. After that you start counting Obama spending. Minus 187 billion for ARRA.

      The Budget of the United States Government is the President’s proposal to the U.S. Congress which recommends funding levels for the next fiscal year, beginning October 1. Congressional decisions are governed by rules and legislation regarding the federal budget process. Budget committees set spending limits for the House and Senate committees and for Appropriations subcommittees, which then approve individual appropriations bills to allocate funding to various federal programs.

    • Alex says:

      silence the annoying Obama lackeys

      Do you know how high the debt will go up under a Romney presidency before we start to see a balance in the deficit?

      Remember that he wants to give tax breaks? Tax breaks will increase the deficit even more.

      And you are willing to let Romney do that just because of the annoying Obama followers?

      Im sorry but i dont think Romney has a chance of being president.
      The tax returns will not away and once people start paying more attention to the race he is in trouble. You guys like to point out that they dont matter, but im sure that it wont stop until the last day of the election.

      The Ryan pick was supposed to give him a big bump and what happened?

  91. [...] the riposte which rips it to pieces… Political Math ” MarketWatch’s Rex Nutting On Obama Spending (Infographic)It’s been going around Facebook and the Twitters. It’s been rated “mostly [...]

  92. beats says:

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  93. [...] is, each of these statements generated responses saying “that’s not true, here’s the truth!” (That last one is one of my favorites.) And each of those responses generated responses. [...]

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