This image is being reposted on Facebook with blind acceptance by Obama supporters who are touting a claim that Obama is not at all a Leftist in terms of government expansion and proving that a majority of his supporters aren’t even Leftists themselves, but rather anti-Rightists as they believe the Left is for goodness and equality and the right is for evil and hate (or something).
The reason this image cropped the quote where it did is because the explanation destroys the “real world” claim. oops. heres the full text, with zero factual errors or misleading claims (ie: entirely ensconced in the “Real World”):
Since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history, taking us from an already staggering $3.5 trillion in federal spending in 2010 to a projected $5.6 trillion within the next decade. This sharp rise has been entirely a matter of choice. Even as federal spending remains wholly within our control, Washington is spending money in an out-of-control fashion.
One traditional yardstick for gauging whether government is living within its means is spending as a percentage of GDP. Since the 1950s, federal spending as a percentage of GDP has hovered around 20 percent. When President Obama took office, it shot up to 25 percent, a level not seen since World War II. Before the recession, the federal government spent $25,000 per household. That number has now soared past $30,000 and is on track to hit $35,000 within the next decade.
Our untenable spending habits were at the root of this past summer’s crisis over the debt ceiling. President Obama’s insistence on a “balanced approach”—by which he meant a combination of spending cuts and tax increases—would have put a seal of congressional approval on a baseline level of spending significantly higher than when he took office. That is precisely why the President’s approach had to be soundly rejected. He wanted to move the country in the wrong direction of more taxes and more spending at a time when both are smothering the economy.
Further: the graph is also not from the Wall Street Journal. It is from MarketWatch.com which is owned by WSJ but corporate parenthood is not the same as accurate attribution of sourcing.
This image basically removed a quote from its supporting argument and juxtaposed it with a blog post. But what about without the chart? The MarketWatch blog is by Rex Nutting and needless to say, it is not at all accurate and uses incredible leaps and silliness to arrive at its claims. Nutting claims:
Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree. As would-be president Mitt Romney tells it: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.” Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true. Government spending under Obama, including his signature stimulus bill, is rising at a 1.4% annualized pace — slower than at any time in nearly 60 years.
And indeed Nuttings chart is being spread far and wide by itself. See this post by the Facebook page “Being Liberal” with the unfortunate ironic caption of “I <3 facts and data”, shared by 1,288 (and counting) people who love facts and data so little that they did zero cross checking on this false claim.
The truth is of course that the Obama spending binge really did happen:
Until Barack Obama took office in 2009, the United States had never spent more than 23.5% of GDP, with the exception of the World War II years of 1942-1946. Here’s the Obama spending record:
– 25.2% of GDP in 2009
– 24.1% of GDP in 2010
– 24.1% of GDP in 2011
– 24.3% (estimates by the White House ) in 2012
What’s more, if Obama wins another term, spending—according to his own budget—would never drop below 22.3% of GDP. If that forecast is right, spending during Obama’s eight years in office would average 23.6% of GDP. That’s higher than any single previous non-war year.
James Pethokoukis continues:
Let me complete the metaphor for Nutting: “Then as those runners scored, Obama kept putting more on base.”
Obama chose not to reverse that elevated level of spending; thus he, along with congressional Democrats, are responsible for it. Only by establishing 2009 as the new baseline, something Republican budget hawks like Paul Ryan feared would happen, does Obama come off looking like a tightwad. Obama has turned a one-off surge in spending due to the Great Recession into his permanent New Normal through 2016 and beyond.
It’s as if one of my teenagers crashed our family minivan, and I had to buy a new one. And then, since I liked that new car smell so much, I decided to buy a new van every year for the rest of my life. I would indeed be a reckless spender.
In a follow up blog, Pethokoukis states the obvious:
Don’t the House Republicans get any credit for fiscal restraint the past two years?
It is the House that controls the purse strings and the House that is controlled by Republicans. So Nutting takes Obama’s first year in office, at the height of his power with a fresh mandate, good will from the press and public and control of the House and Senate and assigns that all to Bush. Ridiculous.
While Politifact treated the claim as murky (after all, the numbers aren’t completely made up – just dishonestly reconfigured to assign spending blame away from Obama), The Washington Post Fact Checker assigns it 3 Pinocchios:
Nutting basically takes much of 2009 out of Obama’s column, saying it was the “the last [year] of George W. Bush’s presidency.” Of course, with the recession crashing down, that’s when federal spending ramped up. The federal fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, so the 2009 fiscal year accounts for about four months of Bush’s presidency and eight of Obama’s.
In theory, one could claim that the budget was already locked in when Obama took office, but that’s not really the case. Most of the appropriations bills had not been passed, and certainly the stimulus bill was only signed into law after Obama took office.
Bush had rescued Fannie and Freddie Mac and launched the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which depending on how you do the math, was a one-time expense of $250 billion to $400 billion in the final months of his presidency. (The federal government ultimately recouped most of the TARP money.) So if you really want to be fair, perhaps $250 billion of that money should be taken out of the equation — on the theory that it would have been spent no matter who was president.
Nutting acknowledges that Obama is responsible for some 2009 spending but only assigns $140 billion for reasons he does not fully explain. (Update: in an email Nutting says he attributed $120 billion to stimulus spending in 2009, $5 billion for an expansion of children’s health care and $16 billion to an increase in appropriations bills over 2008 levels.)
On the other end of his calculations, Nutting says that Obama plans to spend $3.58 trillion in 2013, citing the Congressional Budget Office budget outlook. But this figure is CBO’s baseline budget, which assumes no laws are changed, so this figure gives Obama credit for automatic spending cuts that he wants to halt.
The correct figure to use is the CBO’s analysis of the president’s 2013 budget, which clocks in at $3.72 trillion.
So this is what we end up with:
2008: $2.98 trillion
2009: $3.27 trillion
2010: $3.46 trillion
2011: $3.60 trillion
2012: $3.65 trillion
2013: $3.72 trillion
Under these figures, and using this calculator, with 2008 as the base year and ending with 2012, the compound annual growth rate for Obama’s spending starting in 2009 is 5.2 percent. Starting in 2010 — Nutting’s first year — and ending with 2013, the annual growth rate is 3.3 percent. (Nutting had calculated the result as 1.4 percent.)
Ann Coulter responds to this farce from Nutting in her column titled Figures Don’t Lie: Democrats Do!
This shocker led to around-the-clock smirk fests on MSNBC. As with all bogus social science from the left, liberals hide the numbers and proclaim: It’s “science”! This is black and white, inarguable, and why do Republicans refuse to believe facts?
Ed Schultz claimed the chart exposed “the big myth” about Obama’s spending: “This chart — the truth — very clearly shows the truth undoubtedly.” And the truth was, the “growth in spending under President Obama is the slowest out of the last five presidents.”
Note that Schultz also said that the “part of the chart representing President Obama’s term includes a stimulus package, too.” As we shall see, that is a big, fat lie.