An Obama Spending Spree? Hardly

TPM’s Sahil Kapur looks at the numbers behind a recurrent theme of recent budget debates:

A dominant theme of the national political discourse has been the crushing spending spree the U.S. has ostensibly embarked on during the Obama presidency. That argument, ignited by Republicans and picked up by many elite opinion makers, has infused the national dialogue and shaped the public debate in nearly every major budget battle of the last thee years.

But the numbers tell a different story.

The fact that the national debt has risen from $10.6 trillion to $15.6 trillion under Obama’s watch makes for easy partisan attacks. But the vast bulk of the increase was caused by a combination of revenue losses due to the 2008-09 economic downturn as well as Bush-era tax cuts and automatic increases in safety-net spending that were already written into law.

Obama’s policies, including the much-criticized stimulus package, have caused the slowest increase in federal spending of any president in almost 60 nears, according to data compiled by the financial news service MarketWatch.

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