MSM: Yes, Obama REALLY IS A Big Spenderby Don on May. 29, 2012, under Uncategorized
When MainStream Media (MSM) stalwarts call Democrats out, publicly and prominently, it’s another reason for conservatives to pass the popcorn and bask in sweet, sweet schadenfreude.
You see, the MSM are Democrats. Their “coverage” of the 2008 election dispelled any doubts.
How bad, how openly biased was it? I recall that noted Republican activist, Bill Maher, saying that the MSM wasn’t covering Obama because it was too busy having sex with him. (Maher meant that figuratively, I’m sure). TIME magazine’s Mark Halperin described MSM coverage of the 2008 campaign as “extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.” Even Saturday Night Live noticed.
Apparently there IS a limit to what the MSM can stomach, though. Last week, they seem to have reached it.
What straw broke the camel’s back? Last Wednesday, White House press spokesman Jay Carney claimed that President Obama “has demonstrated significant fiscal restraint and acted with great fiscal responsibility.”
That same week, Rex Nutting, a columnist at Market Watch, wrote an article that got LOTS of attention. Nutter wrote:
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.
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.
Manna from heaven! A person whose work appears in The Wall Street Journal debunks claims that Obama is a reckless spender!
Jay Carney seized on it. As did the Old Pueblo Democratic Party blogosphere.
Unfortunately for Jay and the Democratic Party faithful, sunlight started to shine on Mr. Nutter’s analyses. Sunlight…the great disinfectant.
That sunshine came, surprisingly, from Jay Carney’s former fellow travelers in the MSM. They starting picking apart Rex Nutting’s analyses…and all sorts of holes started to appear. Pretty soon, Mr. Nutting’s defense of the Obama spending record started looking like a piece of Swiss cheese.
I’m sure it pained the MSM, but they couldn’t risk looking the other way this time.
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post assessed the veracity of the White House’s claims that its spending record was unremarkable, when compared to other post-WWII presidents. The Washington Post uses “Pinnochios” to rate how credible (or incredible) a political argument is. Kessler assessed THREE Pinnochios.
In the post-war era, federal spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy has hovered around 20 percent, give or take a couple of percentage points. Under Obama, it has hit highs not seen since the end of World War II — completely the opposite of the point asserted by Carney. Part of this, of course, is a consequence of the recession, but it is also the result of a sustained higher level of spending.
(All emphasis in this article is added by Fort Buckley. With unabashed joy.)
Kessler does a super job of deconstructing the “methodological problems with Nutting’s analysis.”
For starters, Nutting downplays the Obama White House’s (and Democrats’) culpability for increased spending in 2009. Nutting blames that mostly on George W. Bush, whose administration was responsible for the federal budget that Obama inherited when he took office. Not so fast, says Kessler:
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.
Ah…the stimulus bill. Otherwise known—infamously but sadly accurately—as “Porkulus.” A 787 BILLION dollar boondoggle of spending, directed largely at Democratic Party-friendly interests (cough cough Solyndra cough cough), paid for with deficit spending that further bankrupts our grandchildren.
Kessler then took a closer look at what the Obama White House said that it WANTED to spend. Well well well…
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.)
Of course, it takes two to tangle — a president and a Congress. Obama’s numbers get even higher if you look at what he proposed to spend, using CBO’s estimates of his budgets:
2012: $3.71 trillion (versus $3.65 trillion enacted)
2011: $3.80 trillion (versus $3.60 trillion enacted)
2010: $3.67 trillion (versus $3.46 trillion enacted)
So in every case, the president wanted to spend more money than he ended up getting. Nutting suggests that federal spending flattened under Obama, but another way to look at it is that it flattened at a much higher, post-emergency level — thanks in part to the efforts of lawmakers, not Obama.
The Associated Press, almost as much of a fan of Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party as the Washington Post is, felt compelled to weigh in, too.:
The White House is aggressively pushing the idea that, contrary to widespread belief, President Barack Obama is tightfisted with taxpayer dollars. To back it up, the administration cites a media report that claims federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since the Eisenhower years.
“Federal spending since I took office has risen at the slowest pace of any president in almost 60 years,” Obama said at a campaign rally Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
The problem with that rosy claim is that the Wall Street bailout is part of the calculation. The bailout ballooned the 2009 budget just before Obama took office, making Obama’s 2010 results look smaller in comparison. And as almost $150 billion of the bailout was paid back during Obama’s watch, the analysis counted them as government spending cuts.
It also assumes Obama had less of a role setting the budget for 2009 than he really did.
Obama rests his claim on an analysis by MarketWatch, a financial information and news service owned by Dow Jones & Co. The analysis simply looks at the year-to-year topline spending number for the government but doesn’t account for distortions baked into the figures by the Wall Street bailout and government takeover of the mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Is it possible that the MSM is getting over its crush on Obama? That would be bad news for Democrats.
This has really been fun for me, but all good things must come to an end. I’ll close out with a true tour de force—a graphic smackdown of Nutternomics, courtesy of the Political Math blog:
Those are just two of the Nutternomics Rules; there are five in all. Go give Political Math some page view love by following that link I just gave you, to see the rest of the rules.