FLASHBACK: “Obama presided over the slowest growth in spending of any president”

Somebody had shared this earlier Politifact article about President Obama’s spending while in office, and I thought it would make a nice reminder piece for tonight before the State of the Union address, which is at 9pm Eastern time.

In a nutshell, while Republicans always say that President Obama has spent more money than any president, in fact it’s quite the opposite.  Here’s Politifact’s conclusion:

Obama has indeed presided over the slowest growth in spending of any president using raw dollars, and it was the second-slowest if you adjust for inflation.

Their analysis is much longer, and they also post an update that goes through various conservative arguments and still concludes that their analysis is correct, even with the new information.

Here’s a longer excerpt, where Politifact explains the allegation:

On May 22, 2012, Rex Nutting, the international commentary editor for the financial website MarketWatch, published a column titled, “Obama spending binge never happened.” Nutting’s column explored data on federal spending patterns during recent presidencies, concluding that — contrary to the tax-and-spend stereotype of Democrats — President Barack Obama has actually presided over the smallest increases in federal spending of any recent president.

The column went viral. Within hours, people who liked the column were posting a graphic on Facebook that paired a line from Nutting’s column with a quote from Mitt Romney’s campaign website.

Under the heading, “Romney’s World,” the Facebook post quoted a Romney Web page saying, “Since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history.” (That accurately quotes Romney.)

Here is what Politifact concluded:

Bottom line: The Facebook post’s claim that government spending under Obama is “slower than at any time in nearly 60 years” is very close to accurate….

Our ruling

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 7.01.47 PMThe Facebook post says Mitt Romney is wrong to claim that spending under Obama has “accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history,” because it’s actually risen “slower than at any time in nearly 60 years.”

Obama has indeed presided over the slowest growth in spending of any president using raw dollars, and it was the second-slowest if you adjust for inflation. The math simultaneously backs up Nutting’s calculations and demolishes Romney’s contention. The only significant shortcoming of the graphic is that it fails to note that some of the restraint in spending was fueled by demands from congressional Republicans. On balance, we rate the claim Mostly True.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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