I grew up during interesting times in Turkey. I remember one of the frequent black-outs. We were in a room, dimly lit by a couple of candles and a gas lamp, watching a battery powered 4 inch black & white TV. My father had bought the TV on his way back from a couple of months of forced extra stay in Iran during the worst part of the revolution. The then prime minister Süleyman Demirel was on TV, declaring that Turkey's energy crisis had been solved, and there were no more black-outs. Of course, what made it even more interesting was the fact that we lived practically next door to his house, and knew there was no power there either.
It takes a special person to be able to look straight into cameras, and say something that he knows to be untrue, with firm conviction. I grew up listening to such people. A few years later, it was the leader of the 1980 military coup, Kenan Evren we had to watch on TV when he variously attributed the blackouts to housewives watching day time soap operas while they ironed (can't they learn to do one thing at a time?!), communists in Bulgaria, or greedy businessmen who tried to produce too much. … There might have been more reasons, I've forgotten more than I care to think about.
And, now, we have a very special president of the United States.
Ex-senior Lecturer now-President Mr. Obama claims to have been fiscally conservative because, during his term, the average growth rate of federal spending was low. As support, he uses a claim advanced by an appropriately named Rex Nutting, that people think President Obama has spent like a drunken sailor
in part because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the federal budget.
Well, Rex, there is no misunderstanding of the federal budget. We understand that the argument is not about the "budget" itself.
True, Obama's term started well into the budget for the fiscal year 2009 (which ran between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009). But that is irrelevant. We know that the President owns the stimulus, and he voted for all the crap that came before it. The President embraces "too big to fail".
The FY2009 budget, TARP, and other assorted spending measures, were passed by a Democratic House and Senate (remember the 2006 elections, where the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress, and maintained their position until the 2010 elections). Then Senator Obama was a willing participant in those shenanigans at the time.
The problem Nutting & Obama have is that we do not care who did what. We were against the rescues, bail-outs, shovels, and the rest at the time even as the so-called Stimulus was proposed and defended by the President and passed by Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate.
We realize that the biggest problems we face are the spending commitments and promises made by this president, and his Democrat accomplices who passed ObamaCare.
We realize that, under the guise of taxing the rich, the President and his allies would have no qualms about imposing the huge burden of a cradle-to-grave welfare society on everyone.
Finally, we realize that a budget is an accounting document, and even without it, the Federal Government has continued to spend way more than we think is sustainable. So, let's look at actual Federal Spending, rather than these fictional budgets, using data provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis:
The chart above shows federal spending (from the National Income Accounts rather than the political document that is the budget) by quarters since 2001. The first thing you notice is that there is an upward trend. The second thing you notice is the big jump in the second quarter of 2009. That is 9.23% increase from the first quarter of 2009, and a 10.8% increase compared to the same quarter in the previous year. By that time, President Obama was comfortably in office, surrounded by a House and Senate with Democrat majorities.
The events during the last few months of the Bush administration, and the opening salvo of the Obama administration sparked the Tea Party movement, which resulted in the current Republican majority in the House following the 2010 elections. Of course, controlling one house of the Congress is not the same thing as running the show, but, if you squint, you might notice that there has been a slight slowdown in the pace of federal spending: Federal spending during the first quarter of 2012 is about half a percent lower than spending in the first quarter of 2011, and 1.2% lower than spending in the fourth quarter of 2010.
However, federal spending during the first quarter of 2012 was still 22.5% higher than spending during the first quarter of 2008.
Nutting & Obama want us to think that Mr. Obama did not want this increase but his hands were tied by a budget that was passed during the Bush administration. First, Mr. Obama was part of the Congress with Democrat majorities in both houses when that FY2009 budget was passed, and, second, he had all the power, with freshly expanded Democrat majorities, following his inauguration, to put a stop to those spending plans if he did not agree with them. Instead, he pushed the Stimulus down our throats.
Note: This post has been updated to fix some typos and grammatical errors.