Well, we’ve made some progress. At least the President is ashamed of his big spending record and is now attempting to flee from it.
Over the past 24 hours, there has been much hullabaloo over MarketWatch columnist Rex Nutting’s piece claiming that spending during Obama’s tenure actually grew slower than during Bush’s term. In fact, he claims that spending is growing at the slowest pace since the 1950s. Now Obama himself is touting this report. It’s kind of similar to the claim that Ronald Reagan was the biggest tax hiker of the 20th century. It’s hard to debunk such insanity. Anyone who looks at the spending charts for all the major drivers of the deficit (except for defense spending) from 2009 to the present; whether it’s food stamps, Medicaid, entitlements, or non-defense discretionary, the numbers are astronomical.
Yet, there is one central flaw to Nutting’s analysis that has thankfully been addressed by the Heritage Foundation. Nutting is blaming all of the increased spending in 2009 on George Bush. After all, he contends, wasn’t Bush responsible for the FY 2009 budget, which is passed in 2008? Yes, he sure would have been responsible….had the budget been passed in 2008. Nutting might have forgotten that Democrats purposely waited until 2009 to pass a budget for the expressed purpose of having an ally in the White House….to dramatically increase spending – something they couldn’t do with Bush in office. Remember the Stimulus and Omnibus of 2009?
Brian Darling, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation has the full report:
Nutting operates under the flawed assumption that President Obama is not responsible for FY 2009 spending. Under normal circumstances Nutting would be correct. If Congress were a functioning body that passed appropriations bills on time, then this analysis would be correct. The fact of the matter is that in recent history Congress has not done appropriations bills on time and in FY 2009, President Obama signed these spending bills into law that President Bush would have under different circumstances.
Usually, the president in office prior to a new president would have helped craft and sign into law government spending bills applied to the first 9 months of spending the next year and a president’s new term. A fiscal year starts on October 1 of the year prior to the calendar year to September 30th of the calendar year. In other words the fiscal year starts three months early.
In FY2009, Congress did not complete work by September 30, 2008. President Bush did sign some appropriations bills and a continuing resolution to keep the government running into President Obama’s first term, yet a Democrat controlled Congress purposely held off on the big spending portions of the appropriations bills until Obama took office. They did so for the purposes of jacking up spending. President Obama signed the final FY2009 spending bills on March 11, 2009.
Congressional Quarterly (subscription required) maps out a history of the FY 2009 final appropriations bills (H.R. 1105 and PL 111-8), that would lead one to attribute most of the accelerated spending in FY 2009 to President Obama in a piece titled “2009 Legislative Summary: Fiscal 2009 Omnibus.” From CQ, “the omnibus provided a total of $1.05 trillion — $410 billion of it for discretionary programs — and included many of the domestic spending increases Democrats were unable to get enacted while George W. Bush was president.” If accepted as true, this statement alone undercuts Nutting’s whole premise that FY 2009 is wholly Bush spending.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and excogitate the implication of Darling’s accurate analysis. Democrats purposely waited to pass a budget until they would control the White House in order that they would have unchecked power to implement their massive spending increases. They did exactly that with well over a trillion in spending from the stimulus, omnibus, and other mini-stimulus packages throughout the first few months. They never hid from their spending binge, and in fact, consistently cited it as the savior from depression. Yet, now that the debt chickens have come home to roost, they claim that it was all Bush’s budget.
Talk about hubris!
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