May 29 2012
Carrie L. Lukas
There is something bizarre about the current liberal glee over a recent article written arguing that concluded that federal spending has grown more slowly under President Obama than under previous Presidents.
The Wall Street Journal did a fine job exposing the contorted assumption that had to be made to reach that conclusion. Simply put, one has to hold the Bush Administration responsible for the vast majority of the $900 billion stimulus passed and signed during the Obama Administration, and then take that as the new baseline upon which to judge President Obama’s spending record.
The Wall Street Journal used the example of binge drinking to show the problems with this logic. I’ll go with weight gain. The logic used to label President Obama fiscally responsible is the same as one that would declare the end of a pregnancy, after a 40 lbs weight gain, the new normal. That way another 5 lbs gain can be heralded as very modest growth, even though one is now 45 lbs heavier than before.
The 2009 $900 billion stimulus package was supposed to be emergency spending—the equivalent of a big weight gain for pregnancy that occurs so one can support a new life—that would go away after the crisis passed and government had given new life to the economy.
Yet now, under President Obama, the federal budget is permanently pregnant, and there is no new life to show for it. And this new normal isn’t enough for the President, who wanted to increase spending more. In fact, the only reason that spending hasn’t grown even more quickly on top of the new higher baseline is that Congress has failed to initiate the budget process so continuing resolutions have funded the government instead. This is nothing to be proud of.
Moreover, liberals have long argued that the key to turning the economy around is more spending—why are they so eager to claim that the President has failed to follow their advice and do so?
The answer is, of course, that the American people don’t agree with the idea that anything good comes from more federal spending and are smart enough to recognize that there is a price to pay for accumulating trillions of dollars in debt. The good news is that means they are also smart enough not to buy this twisted analysis of the President’s fiscal record.