The History Boys: Obama’s fiscal blowout that never happened, according to Obama

by alexvanbuskirk

The History Boys: Obama’s fiscal blowout that never happened, according to Obama

Review & Outlook @ WSJ (May 25, 2012)

…Mr. Carney the media critic deeply sourced his view to someone named Rex Nutting, who wrote an 856-word column for MarketWatch that argued “There has been no huge increase in spending under the current President, despite what you hear.”

The larger conceptual error of the Nutting-Obama-Carney troika is neglecting to compare the budget to the size of the economy. The best perspective on how outlays, tax receipts and deficits change over time is as a share of GDP. Those data reveal historical trends because they account for different inflation rates and include changes over society as a whole like population growth.

As for that prairie fire of debt, Mr. Obama can fairly blame $1 trillion or so of the $5 trillion debt increase of the last four years on Mr. Bush. But what about the other $4 trillion? Debt held by the public now stands at 74.2% of the economy, up from 40.5% at the end of 2008—and rising rapidly.

In Des Moines, Mr. Obama’s reading of U.S. fiscal history—”what generally happens”—was that “Republicans run up the tab” and then blame Democrats for the bill. Meanwhile, Mr. Nutting floated and Mr. Carney cited the “fact” that even Herbert Hoover spent more than Mr. Obama. Oh great. That means the President may stop blaming George W. Bush for the problems he inherited and instead start blaming Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, Nixon, Eisenhower and Hoover.

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