Reagan twice as profligate as Obama | Jay Bookman

How much has federal government spending increased under Barack Obama? If you believe his critics, Obama has been a profligate spender, doling out money by the hundreds of billions of dollars and making his predecessors in the White House look like pikers.

Invictus, a guest blogger at Barry Ritholtz’ Big Picture blog on the stock market and economics, decide to take a look at the assertion. The Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks a statistic called Federal Government: Current Expenditures, which includes everything that Washington spends. Invictus pegs the spending level when a president takes office at 100, and then simply charts how much it increases. This is what it looks like:


After an initial jump thanks to the stimulus and other emergency measures, spending quickly leveled out under Obama. At this point in his administration, total federal spending has increased more slowly than under three of his four predecessors.

Only Bill Clinton increased spending more slowly than Obama. The most profligate spender was easily Ronald Reagan, who at this point in his presidency had increased spending at twice the rate of Obama.

In fact, when you look at how quickly spending increased under Reagan, it becomes pretty clear that he drove recovery by shoveling loads of government cash into economy, which is classic Keynesian economics.

That’s not the myth, of course. But that’s the facts, Jack.

– Jay Bookman

Reagan twice as profligate as Obama | Jay Bookman.

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