To hear Republicans tell it, President Obama has gone on a massive spending spree, sending government spending skyrocketing and the debt into the stratosphere. And now, a word from reality. Federal spending has gone up slightly under Obama — much slower than under Bush in his first four years — but overall government spending has actually gone down — something that hasn’t happened in four decades.
FOR the first time in 40 years, the government sector of the American economy has shrunk during the first three years of a presidential administration.
Spending by the federal government, adjusted for inflation, has risen at a slow rate under President Obama. But that increase has been more than offset by a fall in spending by state and local governments, which have been squeezed by weak tax receipts.
In the first quarter of this year, the real gross domestic product for the government — including state and local governments as well as federal — was 2 percent lower than it was three years earlier, when Barack Obama took office in early 2009.
The last time the government actually got smaller over the first three years of a presidential term was when Richard M. Nixon was president. That decrease was largely because of declining spending on the Vietnam War.
And the private economy has grown at a faster rate under Obama than under Bush. In fact, if you look at the following chart from the New York Times you will see a clear difference between the last two Democratic presidents and the last two Republican presidents — under the Democrats, government grew slower and the private economy grew faster, and by a significant margin.