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Fri, Oct. 18

Letter: Obama has not been a bigger spender


Is President Obama a big spender? Rex Nutting at MarketWatch has shown that federal spending under Obama has grown at the slowest pace of any of the past eight administrations.

For example, Obama's spending in current dollars has risen at an average rate of 1.4 percent for fiscal years 2010 through 2013 (the four years for which Obama is responsible). This compares to 8.7 percent for Reagan, FY1982-85, 5.4 percent for Bush I, FY1990-93, 3.2 percent, Clinton, FY1994-97, Bush II, 7.3 percent FY2002-05.

After adjusting for inflation, Obama's spending has actually decreased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent, the first such decline since President Nixon's first term when he was ending the war in Vietnam. In 2009 dollars, per capita spending will drop by nearly 5 percent under Obama from $11,450 per person in 2010 to $10,900 in 2013.

For a really big spender, consider President Herbert Hoover who increased spending by 12.3 percent per year in real terms. Now that's a guy who knew how to stimulate an economy to break out of a depression. No austerity for him!

So, if Obama's spending has been more-or-less flat, why have deficits been so big? Blame it principally on irresponsible tax cuts under the previous administration and a collapse of revenue because of the Great Recession. Since Obama took office in January 2009, the projected deficit for 2010-13 has grown from $1.7 trillion to $4.4 trillion. According to Nutting, 73 percent of this $2.7 trillion increase can be traced to reduced revenues. Federal spending on such automatic stabilizers as food stamps and unemployment benefits has also surged due to the dreadful economic situation Obama found in January 2009.

So, President Obama, even with the $787 billion stimulus, has been the most frugal President in recent history.

Archie L. Wood


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