To the Editor:
Critics of President Obama frequently—but incorrectly claim that he is the biggest-spending President in history.
Please note the word incorrectly.
An example of a person who makes this faulty claim is State Senator Josh Brecheen, who does it again in a political ad in the Sunday, October 7th Durant Daily Democrat. He refers to “the Obama Vision for America” and its “out–of-control spending,” as though President Obama were a worse spendthrift than other Presidents.
The well-known financial publication Forbes, which bills itself as “the Capitalist tool,” says, however, that the charge that President Obama is the biggest spender ever is false: “Our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.”
President John F. Kennedy
President Lyndon B. Johnson
President Richard M. Nixon
President Gerald R. Ford
President Jimmy E. Carter
President Ronald W. Reagan
President George H. W. Bush
President Bill J. Clinton
President George W. Bush.
“Tighter with a buck” than the preceding nine Presidents! Wow!
I am not claiming in this letter that President Obama is not spending a lot of money; all eleven of the Presidents referred to here did. My goal is a comparison of the amounts of spending.
Forbes, being the scholarly publication it is, does not make such a claim idly. As proof, it cites the Wall Street Journal Marketwatch analysis of President Obama’s budgets:
2010: Spending fell 1.8%.
2011: Spending rose 4.3%.
2012: Spending will rise 0.7%.
2013: Spending will fall 1.3%.
The reason that the information begins with 2010 is that is the first year for an Obama budget.
The 2009 budget was set by President Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush. This last Bush budget was an increase of what Forbes calls “a whopping 17.9%.”
Because the last Bush budget was the budget President Obama was stuck with in the first year of his presidency, he is often incorrectly blamed for that “whopping” increase.
The first year of an Obama budget, 2010, saw, as indicated, a decrease of 1.8%.
We should not be fooled by the small percentage numbers—0.7%, 1.3%, 1.8%. We are dealing with budgets of more than three (3) and one-half (1/2) trillion dollars: $3,500,000.000,000. Even 1.8% of that is 63 billion dollars, the drop in President Obama’s first budget, 2010.
And the leftover Bush 2009 budget—which President Obama was stuck with—had a “whopping” increase of 540 billion dollars over the 2008 Bush budget.
Now, maybe what I’ve noted in this letter is too darn much math to suit us—but, to be fair, we must do the math.
And, furthermore, whether we like or dislike President Obama for other reasons, we must admit, to be fair, that, proportionately, he is not the biggest-spending President in history. Indeed, Forbes concludes that, “when it comes to spending—you’re going to have to acknowledge that under the Obama watch, even President Reagan would have to give our current president thumbs up when it comes to his record for stretching a dollar”
A better dollar-stretcher than President Reagan himself! Wow again!