Self appointed savior of free enterprise Mitt Romney recently attacked President Obama for “out of control spending”, claiming he would lead us out of “spending inferno”. It took MarketWatch, a division of that liberal bastion The Wall Street Journal (owned by Fox News parent News Corp) to dispel that big fat lie.
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. But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s. Even hapless Herbert Hoover managed to increase spending more than Obama has.
Bolded emphasis is mine. Mitt Romney apparently subscribes to the Karl Rove tactic of “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” (Even though Karl Rove stole that idea from a guy named Joseph Goebbels). I subscribe more to the “a picture is worth a thousand words” line of thought:
Big spender? That “severely conservative” Ronald Reagan leads the list. Bush the Wiser gave it his old college try and far outspent Bill Clinton, but was far outdone by Bush the Lesser. But President Obama? A clear lightweight when it comes to growth of federal spending. In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. In fiscal 2010 — the first budget under Obama — spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion. Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%. Numbers don’t lie, unfortunately politicians do often. Republicans also love claiming that the national debt is “exploding” under President Obama. It is true that the national debt has risen from $10.6 trillion to $15.6 trillion under Obama’s watch, which 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. Make no mistake, current deficits and increases to the national debt are unsustainable. When we have fully recovered from the worst recession since the Great Depression we must address deficit spending and pay down our debt. Like Bill Clinton did, like GW Bush should have.
Another saying I like is “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. Mitt Romney should know a thing or two about “out of control spending”. During his four years as governor of Massachusetts, state spending increased by 6.5% per year, government jobs grew six times as fast as private sector jobs, taxes and fees went up by $750 million each year, and debt increased by 16%. In fact, he left Massachusetts with the largest per-capita debt of any state in the country.
Mitt Romney says he want the economy to be the focus of his campaign. We say “bring it on”.