Government Spending

Obama Takes Off the Gloves

After three years of expanding the federal government's cost and scope, the guy who campaigned on a "net spending cut" pushes for a newly activist Washington



"In Kansas," the New Jersey Star-Ledger editorialized this week, "Obama finally found his voice." By theatrically following Teddy Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" footsteps in Osawatomie, Kansas, the president had "finally seize[d] the moment," Michael Tomasky enthused at The Daily Beast. "With this speech, the President finally brings long-sought thematic and programmatic coherence to his many proposals and policy initiatives," Cornell University law professor Robert C. Hockett offered in an "expert available" press release.

The scent of sweet release wafted all over the media. "Obama appears finally to have recognized the fruitlessness of trying to govern in the post-partisan mode on which he campaigned for president," Bloomberg Businessweek columnist Joshua Green wrote. Former Bill Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich spoke for many when he said: "Here, finally, is the Barack Obama many of us thought we had elected in 2008."

This may well be true from the point of view of progressives. But the rest of us—a majority of Americans—are more apt to remember a candidate who won the election on an altogether different selling proposition.

The Teddy Roosevelt speech that Obama was attempting to update for the 21st century contained enough freedom-constricting, bureaucracy-enhancing verbiage to make libertarians shudder, but it did contain one formulation that the president would do well to heed:

[W]ords count for nothing except in so far as they represent acts. This is true everywhere; but, O my friends, it should be truest of all in political life. A broken promise is bad enough in private life. It is worse in the field of politics. No man is worth his salt in public life who makes on the stump a pledge which he does not keep after election; and, if he makes such a pledge and does not keep it, hunt him out of public life.

Arguably the most important economic policy pledge candidate Barack Obama made on the stump, repeatedly, was a vow to enact a "net spending cut" on the federal level. Here he is repeating the pledge, after the financial crisis of September 2008 and the introduction of the first major bank bailout:

Immediately after being sworn into office, President Obama obliterated this pledge, jacking up federal spending by a stunning 18 percent in fiscal 2009, to a then-record $3.5 trillion. As the Congressional Budget Office pointed out, federal spending that miserable year "rose even faster…than revenues fell." The "rate of increase was nearly three times the average growth rate of federal outlays over the previous 10 years."

Candidate Obama campaigned every day—and rightly so—against the "fiscal irresponsibility" of the Bush era. "When George Bush came into office, our debt—national debt was around $5 trillion. It's now over $10 trillion. We've almost doubled it," he complained in his second debate with Republican nominee John McCain. "We have had over the last eight years the biggest increases in deficit spending and national debt in our history."

As president, Obama tacked on another $5 trillion in debt in record time. In every measure of basic budgetary incompetence, the last three years have dwarfed the previous eight, despite the candidate convincing a majority of voters of his superior credentials as a fiscal steward. United States debt zoomed through the 100-percent-of-GDP threshold around Halloween, and as the Baby Boomers get ready to scoop up their old-age entitlements, there isn't even a proposed end to the budget leakage in sight. 

And it's not just the size of government, it's the scope. Obama has given historical leeway to regulators on health care and financial reform, and (like presidents before him) is increasing his influence on executive branch enforcement at a time when his sway over the congressional branch continues to wane. All of which begs a question: If we just finished three years of a cautious and centrist Obama, what in the name of government vigor will the next 12-60 months look like?

Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason magazine, and co-author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America (PublicAffairs).

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  1. But the rest of us?a majority of Americans?are more apt to remember a candidate who won the election on an altogether different selling proposition.

    The handwriting was on the wall for any American willing to sober up and take a gander. We got exactly what we should have expected in Barack Obama.

    1. the guy was the single most ill-equipped presidential candidate ever, and everyone from him Dem primary opponents to his career vitae either knew it or contained evidence of that fact. But tired of 8 years of Bush, guilty whites everywhere thought they could make a statement of voting for the black man with the pretty words first over the kinda harsh woman they already knew and second, over the war hero they also knew but did not know what to make of.

      The handwriting was not just on the wall; it was in two books, on a non-existent voting record, and on a paper-thin resume. There are no surprises in Barrack Obama.

      1. A war hero, wareagle, who agreed with nearly every premise Mr. Obama annunciated, yet wanted a different conclusion.

    2. yup

    3. Yes, we got precisely what I expected in Barack Obama, which is why I did not vote for him. I will take great pleasure in voting against him in 2012, no matter who his opponent may be.

  2. You realize that somewhere a certain regular is fully turgid.

    1. Yes, but I think you’re referring to someone else.

  3. Still a porn star and now a supermodel, she has the face ? and the body ? of an angel.

    One of the most famous models to come out of Japan in within the last 6 years, Maria Ozawa appears in bukkake films and still made the cover of FHM magazine. These are Impressive credentials for anyone, but not surprising when you see the perfect proportions of this cute little thing.

    A phenomenon on both YouTube and YouPorn – she is yin and yang, the best of two worlds. Sexy and innocent, sweet and arousing, and she loves shopping for shoes.

    Maria Ozawa is a unique Japanese icon and celebrity, in many different ways. And now she appears here, on Hegre-Art.

    1. I don’t usually follow up on these diversions. Today I did. Thank you….oh thank you!

    2. Ran a train on a sorority girl in college with some of the guys in my frat. Probably the gayest thing I have ever done, but worth it so that I can appreciate the immense amount of talent these women have. Bukkake for the win; the Japanese take degradation to a whole new level.

      1. It’s not gay as long as there’s a woman anywhere within 2,000 meters. That’s my standard, anyway.

      2. Sorry, man. You and PornBot 69000 are in the wrong place. Trains, bukkake, and degradation go in the Lindsey Lohan thread.

        No, no, I keed. You are in the right place. Welch was discussing Obama’s broken promises to cut spending, and of course nothing could be more degrading than Obama’s fiscal policy (except maybe Ben Bernanke’s efforts to douse us all with his buckets of warm, sticky liquidity). Tim Geithner has penetrated us in places we did not know could be penetrated. We taxpayers are mere schoolgirls to be humiliated for the pleasure of the aging perv in the White House.

        1. Let’s extend the analogy:

          Want to see what the MSM/Obama relationship is like? Go to your favorite video site and search for “bukkake news”

    3. She looks a little retarded. Just a little bit.

      1. Maria Ozawa is a Goddess. Don’t you DARE speak ill of her.

  4. “…despite the candidate convincing a majority of voters of his superior credentials as a fiscal steward….”

    I’m not sure this is true.
    His campaign was very professionally packaged; devoid of any specifics, it was nothing other than a blank canvas upon which voters could paint an image they thought might be there.
    Bush II wasn’t as horrible as he is currently depicted, but he was bad enough that anything someone imagined was presumed by the imaginer to be better.
    Obama certainly claimed to be ‘fiscally responsible’, but he also claimed to ‘grow hair on bald men’ and ‘cure cancer’; none of that mattered. What mattered was:
    “I’m not Bush”.
    And that was enough to get an incompetent power-seeker elected. What allows him the damage is the degradation of the Constitution.

    1. “Incompetent power-seeker”?

      Besides Obama, doesn’t that describe GWB? In some ways, GWB is much more of a loser than Obama. After all, the brown bolzhevik was not born on third base whereas the caucasian commie from Crawford was.

      1. “After all, the brown bolzhevik was not born on third base whereas the caucasian commie from Crawford was.”

        LM, I would expect nothing less from you than this sort of bullshit.
        Care to tell me why being born a certain way is reason to judge culpability?

      2. doesn’t that describe GWB?
        who gives a shit? Bush is not running; Obama is, dressed in a cloak of hubris that makes Donald Trump looks like Mr Peepers.

  5. The Teddy Roosevelt speech that Obama was attempting to update for the 21st century contained enough freedom-constricting, bureaucracy-enhancing verbiage to make libertarians shudder,

    This is strange, Matt. Just this morning I was reading a certain “libertarian” website and they had an article which indicated that Obama’s speech wasn’t about class warfare at all but actually quite moderate.

    Is this an official admittance that Chapman isn’t a libertarian? He wasn’t “shuddering” at all.

    1. why don’t you go back, then, and read the transcripts of the speech and form your own opinion…the osawatome speech is FULL of really negative language directly casting the blame for this mess we’re in on greedy super-wealthy bankers…divisive language that casts the middle-class as the victim irresponsible finance…he left out, however, his (as senator) and his compatriots in barney frank(fanny and freddie are just fine), former speaker pelosi, harry reid and every other big-spending, ‘government-is-the-solution-not-the-problem’ washington politician that forced banks to lend money to buy houses to $20,000/year credit-risk americans…sure, these companies have responsibility – especially regarding bundled mortgage-backed securities, but they were in self-preservation mode as well, since they knew the bundles they held were junk and they had been cajoled into the giveaway of bad credit…when the price of oil went through the ceiling in 2007/2008, the people who had borrowed beyond their means went under…where, in this grand speech, does the president proclaim any responsibility or direct attention at the congressional leadership crafted the legislation that lit the 2008 fuse??? NOWHERE…the entire speech is a fluff-job to big-government policy and a demonization of the middle-man (bankers forced – through government lending rules – to give out billions and billions to people on the financial fence…+$1/gallon of gasoline away from insolvency)…

      1. The bankers wern’t forced to give those loans, though. If you actually actually studied what you speak about, you’d be less partisan moron, more intelligent. The banks gave loans to make huge fees on a collateralization process that left them reponsible for profit but not responsible for declines. It’s too bad people like you keep lying, you’re like child molestors in your compulsion to exploit these lies.

        1. It’s because they had reason to think they would be bailed out.

          If, tomorrow, you said shoplifting would no longer be prosecuted, most people still would not steal. But some would and it would inevitably happen more and more. Those with the inclination would be attracted by the moral hazard created.

          This is exactly what happened. You can blame the thieves all you want but until the natural checks on the market are put back in place, no more bailouts and no more buyouts nothing will or can change.

  6. For those who TL;DR’d this article: Obama is a liar. Shocking.

  7. Whine, whine, whine.

    Don’t forget that most of the Reason writers voted for Obummer. You got what you asked for.

  8. Whine, whine, whine.

    Don’t forget the most of the Reason folks voted for Obummer in 08. You got what you asked for.

    1. Speak for yourself idiot. I didn’t vote for either of them and, since you obviously have no reading comprehension, the point is that the man lies. Whatever Reason folks voted for him did so on the chance that he might actually mean what he said. How on Earth does voting for someone based on promises that he breaks in any way getting what they asked for? They got exactly the opposite of what they asked for.

      1. They should have known better. They are idiots and deserve heaping scores of scorn.

      2. They should have known better. They are idiots and deserve heaping scores of scorn.

      3. They voted for a guy who clearly said that he wanted to spread the wealth around and that he wanted to use regulation to eliminate all coal powered electric plants. He was rated by the most liberal member of the US Senator in 2007 by the National Journal.

        Any Reason writer who voted for him thinking he was NOT a big government socialist wasn’t paying attention so I think it’s a little disingenuous to complain now that he broke a promise about cutting spending.

  9. [*] Fridge full of beer and steak
    [*] Blow job at least once a week
    [*] Parties every friday/saturday
    [*] Football or Horseshoes Sunday
    [*] Punk Rock

    Yeah, fuck politics.

    1. Those horse shoes could have been lawn darts instead at one time. And another time, there was no beer in your refrigerator. Any day now, someone may ruin your party because its too loud or there’s too many cars parked outside or because someone’s not getting a cut of the money your friends are exchanging over a card table. Have fun.

      1. So I should care about politics? Damn dude, way to be a buzzkill.. like a Christian telling me about hell. fucking asshole.

        1. Except politics, police, and prison are real.

  10. This is the true legacy of Bush, I’m afraid.

    Despite massively expanding government and regulation and spending, somehow his legacy is perceived by the left and media (which basically controls the narrative) that somehow he was a de-regulator and heartless monster that cut spending and taxes and that the only reason the debt grew was because of the wars.

  11. Fiscal 2009 started in October 2008 under George W Bush. Obama didn’t become president until 1/3 of the fiscal year was over.

    You’re a fucking hack, and a stupid one at that.

    1. Might check yourself, Derider.

    2. “Fiscal 2009 started in October 2008 under George W Bush. Obama didn’t become president until 1/3 of the fiscal year was over.”

      Bozo, it’s *2011* now!
      Care to offer the budgets your fave ignoramus has passed?

      1. But it is still Bush’s fault.

        1. Can that line get any older?

    3. In 23 days it will be Two Thousand Twelve. Nobody cares about 2008 anymore.

    4. The budget for Fiscal 2009 was $3.1 trillion. That the government spent considerably more was due in no small part to the Democratic president and congressional majority, passing things like ARRA and the omnibus spending package.

    5. Fiscal 2009 started in October 2008 under George W Bush.

      But the $800BB stimulus that really cranked the deficit in FY 2009 was signed into law by Obama.

      You stupid hack.

    6. Yeah, dumbass, and Obama not only passed the deficit-laden budget Bush proposed, he added another $400 billion to the tab.

      1. And that the Democratic Party controlled Senate deliberately delayed passing the last budget precisely so it would be signed by Obama, not Bush. Yet now it’s Bush’s budget year.

  12. Remember, sensible people:

    A “cut” would be “we’re going to spend *less* money NEXT year than we spent *this* year”.

    A cut is not “we were originally going to increase spending by 5 percent next year, but we’re only going to increase spending by 4 percent instead”.

    Even the Derider and Tony should, in theory, be able to understand simple English sentences… not so sure about Jason Godesky, though. He’s pretty stoopid.

    1. you left me out!

    2. You give T and The Derider WAY too much credit for being intellectually honest.

      1. I did specify “sensible people”, MLG.

    3. be able to understand simple English sentences

      1. Good call, neo. We do live in the Orwelliest of times.

  13. Is it just me, or do both Barry and MacAttack seem scared of the spending cuts question?

  14. “…an astounding, record high $455 billion”

    Hahaha! And Obummer wanted us not to return to our ‘profligate’ spending ways.

    Note to Repubs – just run this clip and you’ll win.

  15. I don’t understand why anybody believes any promise that any presidential candidate makes.

    It’s not just a matter of the candidates being liars, or the fact that most of them are mediocre morons who just say what their handlers tell them to say.

    It’s just the simple fact that the president of the U.S. is not an omnipotent god. The promises are worthless because they’re nearly always beyond the president’s power.

    For instance, when a candidate thumps the podium and declares that “Iran won’t get a nuclear weapon on my watch”, why doesn’t somebody ask “Really? Just what are you going to do about it?”

    This is why libertarians, contrary to being the “utopians” as the statists claim, are actually the realists. We understand that the president isn’t a god.

    1. “But Stan, don’t you know, it’s always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. Nearly every election since the beginning of time has been between some douche and some turd. They’re the only people who suck up enough to make it that far in politics.”

      Sad but true.

  16. So you clowns gave yourselves a choice between Obama or Obama Lite and picked the former.

    Deal with it.

    1. Can I have mine with a lime?

  17. Bush’s tax cuts ? along with a rapid increase in defense spending, a prescription drug plan for the elderly and other big-government policies ? saddled the country with some $8 trillion in publicly-held debt by 2009 [as of April 2011, that figure has risen to $10.4 trillion, according to the Washington Post ( — not including several trillion dollars the government effectively owes itself]. A separate analysis by the NY Times ( tallies Bush’s contribution to the debt at $5.07 trillion, and Obama’s (including projections through 2017) at $1.44 trillion.

    Incidentally, estimates of Obama’s stimulus’ contribution run between $711 billion (the NY Times) and $830 billion (Congressional Budget Office). While not a small number, it’s a fraction of the debt problem, and about half of what the US has spent on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Tarring Obama for spending a fortune to restore the economy conveniently ignores the fact that the Great Recession was hatched on Bush’s watch, not Obama’s. The financial meltdown has forced the government to shell out about $400 billion in unemployment benefits over the past few years ? a problem that Obama clearly inherited.

    1. How the fuck is a 5-cent on the dollar tax cut = fucking fiscal armageddon?

      Answer: It isn’t.

      What about the problems Obama’s successor will inherit? Will those be Bush’s fault, too?

      Fuckin’ idiot.

    2. roflmaso. Do you think everyone here are liberals who went to NEA controlled schools, therefore can’t add? The stimulus was 840 billion, the omnibus spending package was 429 billion, cash for clunkers 8 billion, mortgage relief (3 times a failure) cost 45 billion and add another 23 billion for the NEA bailout (AKA Cash for Flunkers) and the fact that the average Obama budget is 1.3 deficit per year and it reveals you to be a liar and a poor one at that. Also, you conveniently ommitted what the final word from the CBO was on the public union bailout which by the way cost 840 billion and could rise according to the CBO. Elmandorff testified in front of congress that the unstimulus plan (AKA The publicv union bribery plan enacted by the Shop Steward in Chief) actually saved possibly (possibly doesn’t sound promising to me) 700,000 jobs, mostly in the public sector and had little or no effect on the public sector, while amassing debt that will be a drag on the economy for decades.…..rew-stiles

      yeah, Obama took off the gloves……..and now the voters will bitch slap him with them.

      1. Now add 48.5 billion to GM which the CBO says will cost taxpayers 39 billion (but Obama promised every penny would be paid back……..) and then bailed out Chrysler at 12 billion and Chrysler only has 8 billion in assets. And who benefitted from the bailouts? The UAW which got 55% of Chrysler at the government (re: taxpayers) expense. They also got 17.5% of GM which has built Obama’s pride and joy, the exploding Volt. And for those of you that don’t know, GM had a choice of a S Korean firm or an American firm to build their batteries. They chose S Korea. Then the Obama regime gave the S korean company half of the 3 billion needed to build a plant here so they could manufacture exploding batteries. Another slap in the face to taxpayers is after we gave GM 48.5 bn they announced they would be opening an engine plant , hiring 4500 workers and spending 534 million to build it……….in Mexico. But that’s in keeping with the Obama policy of killing jobs in the US while giving taxpayer money for jobs in other countries (but just for large bribers…………er, I mean contributors to his campaign. He gave 2 billion to george Soros to drill offshore for oil in Brazil, while preventing US companies from doing the same thing and losing tens of thousands of jobs. He gave Al Gore 529 million to build electric cars………in Finland. The electric car has a larger carbon footprint than the Ford Explorer SUV.

        Jeff Foxworthy announced a new game show called “Are You Smarter Than a Community Organizer?” Tryouts will be held at a polling place near you on Nov 6th, 2012.

        1. Your Community Organizer comment brings to mind my question to voters. Have they done research about Obama’s four years as a community organizer and how he learned to be one? Google Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – Crossroad

          Voters will find out that he chose a job in Chicago knowing he would be trained to use Alinsky’s radical rules. He also knew that Alinsky was a Marxist. He stayed on that job for four years and used some of Alinsky’s rules to get himself elected to the Illinois senate. Then he used those rules to get elected to the presidency. Now he is using those rules to change our country. Alinsky’s definition of change is disorganization of the old and organization of the new. That explains why he continues to make short-term decisions. He needs to drag his feet to give him the time to organize the new.

          The article is not lengthy, but it contains information that you will be able to identify which rules he has been using to change our country. Obama is no friend of the United States.

  18. You have to remember, Obama is going for the undereducated vote. (liberals) Facts don’t matter to these voters because they can barely repeat the talking points and independent thought is but a dream to them. One that they can never achieve.

    1. they have no desire for independent thought. they are lemmings of moderate to low intelligence. they want to be directed, and lied to, by a dictator with a pleasing voice.

    2. Odd that average IQ and education level favors Democrats, why don’t you believe in facts?

  19. if i ever ran across michael tomasky, i’d probably be motivated to spit in his face. the progressives in media are a vile, partisan class of total hacks. and obama is their deluded narcissistic dictator in waiting. people still can’t seem to realize that this guy has a clinical personality disorder, and that nothing that comes out of his mouth is anything but momentarily expedient.

  20. Speaking of Maria Ozawa, how many of you people were on the “Liberaltarian” crazy train to hell that the Democrats ran against the LP in 2007 and ’08?

    How many of you actually fell for that garbage, aside from faux libertarians like Sullivan?

  21. This arrogant wolf in sheeps clothing is hell bent on destroying our country. I saw him rip off his phoney
    mask during his channeling of Teddy R. He makes no bones that he is not done TRANSFORMING our nation. Excuse me sir, i love my country the way it is, and want Obama out on his @**.

  22. Obama said in 2008 O my friends, it should be truest of all in political life. A broken promise is bad enough in private life. It is worse in the field of politics. No man is worth his salt in public life who makes on the stump a pledge which he does not keep after election; and, if he makes such a pledge and does not keep it, hunt him out of public life.

    Print this and put in your wallet or purse and on election dat pin it on you your garment.

    Obama, our liar-in-chief, cannot remember all the lies to tells to enable him to ‘fundamentally transform this great Republic into a bankrupt nation

  23. Here’s recap of Hope and Change SINCE President Obama took office in Jan 2009. Comparing economic indicators starting in Jan 2009 to present day:

    1. Federal debt has increased by 43% from $10.6 trillion to $15 trillion.
    2. Americans living in poverty have increased by 16% from 39.8 million to 46.2 million.
    3. Total unemployment (U6) has increased by 68% from 13.7 million to 23 million.
    4. Price of gasoline has increased by 80% from $1.86/gal to $3.35/gal
    5. Americans on food stamps have increased 42% from 31.8 million to 45.2 million
    6. Home foreclosures per year have increased by 34% from 850,000 to 1,140,000
    7. Total bankruptcy filings per year have increased by 42% from 1,117,641 to 1,593,081.
    8. Median Household incomes has declined by 4% from $50,939 to $48,950
    9. Median value of existing homes has declined by 17% from $197,233 to $162,500.
    10. US dollar compared to foreign currencies has declined by 8.7%. [US dollar index of 85.9 in Jan 2009 to 78.5 in Dec 2011.]
    11. US dollar compared to gold has declined 105%. [ $855/ounce to $1750/ounce]
    12. US credit rating downgraded by S&P for first time

    1. Congrats on cherry picked data. Must be hard to just pull out numbers that mean very little as to what occured. The gasoline item is the most amusing, since it was at 4.00 in 2007 before the recession the people you voted for started. Is it hard being a fraud?

  24. you’d think people who write about politics for a living would know that the 2009 budget was actually enacted by Bush as all budgets are completed the year before.

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  27. We would write about the 2010 and 11 budgets if the Proggs had enacted them.

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