Government Spending

Spending: A Bipartisan Love Story

The truth about Republicans, Democrats, and growing government

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As Nobel Prize winner and freedom fighter Milton Friedman often reminded us, the true size of the government is measured by how much it spends rather than by how much we pay in taxes. As we enter Barack Obama's second term, a look at government spending patterns during the last few decades offers some relevant—and surprising—insights.

With the one clear exception of President Dwight Eisenhower, all Republican and Democratic administrations between 1945 and 2013 have increased spending from their predecessor's final fiscal year in office. (Fiscal years run from October 1 to the end of the following September, making presidential ownership tricky during transition years, though generally the federal government operates under the departing executive's budget.) What's more, during the last 30 years, Republican administrations have spent taxpayer money at a much faster rate than Democratic administrations. Even Obama has kept spending relatively flat compared to the likes of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

During his two terms in office the second President Bush increased total spending by 53 percent in real terms, compared to 12.5 percent under Bill Clinton and a 2 percent reduction so far under Obama (when giving his predecessor full credit for FY2009, as we do for all departing presidents in this exercise). Some say Bush had no choice but to expand military spending to combat terrorism at home and abroad. But he also increased nondefense spending and presided over the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation under LBJ. 

And it's Republicans, not Democrats, who were almost entirely to blame for these 21st- century expansions, because during the first half of 2001 and all of the 2003–07 period the GOP maintained full control of both the White House and Congress. With Washington unified, the purported party of limited government increased total spending by more than 20 percent in real terms, an average of 5 percent a year.

The record of Ronald Reagan, that eloquent spokesman for limited government, doesn't look too great either. During his first term, the man who had said "it is my intention to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment" fattened the budget by 22 percent in real terms, including a 41 percent increase in defense. 

In March the turncoat Republican economist Bruce Bartlett tweeted that "history books will say Obama was the 2nd most fiscally conservative president since Eisenhower (after Clinton)." He has an argument: Spending under Obama has not increased as fast as it did under the previous administration and has even dropped a bit from a high in FY2009 (even though some of that spending was due to Obama's policies). This flat-lining is due in part to the lack of an actual budget for the last four years and the expiration of some stimulus provisions. If the sequestration cuts that just went into effect are not reversed, Obama's numbers will look even better, despite the fact that he opposed those cuts.

Obama is nobody's fiscal conservative. His signature legislative achievement, ObamaCare, will trigger major new spending, most of which will kick in after his presidency is over—meaning that his fiscal irresponsibility will show up in someone else's numbers. Yet there is no doubt that spending so far has flattened under Obama in a way most of us did not anticipate. 

Why does the federal government grow at some times and not others? It could be that spending slows down when Washington is divided. Under both Clinton and Obama, Republicans regained control of Congress during the first midterm election and may have restrained the president from indulging his desire to spend more. 

Republicans Nixon and Eisenhower both faced Congresses controlled by Democrats. Although Nixon presided over large expansions of government power, real total spending rose by only 5 percent during his time in office. Under Eisenhower it shrank by 4 percent.

In a 2004 paper presented at the annual meeting of the Public Choice Society, Cato Institute economists Bill Niskanen and Peter VanDoren wrote that "the rate of growth of real federal spending in the years since World War II was lower during administrations in which at least one house of Congress was controlled by the other party." In November 2010, my Mercatus Center colleague Matthew Mitchell produced a chart showing that during the post World War II era inflation-adjusted per capita spending grew almost twice as fast under united governments than under divided governments. While there isn't enough data to declare the matter settled, it does illustrate an interesting trend. 

President Clinton is an exception to this rule. In the first two years of his first term, he and his Democratic Congress increased spending at a lower rate than during the following six years when Republicans controlled Congress. 

Wars also impact spending dramatically. Government was cut dramatically after the end of World War II under Harry Truman and the Korean War under Eisenhower. Nixon's budgetary restraint can be traced to the end of the Vietnam War, which resulted in a 30 percent reduction in defense spending. Both George H.W. Bush and Clinton oversaw large defense cuts at the end of the Cold War.

Republicans constantly remind us of their devotion to expanding the defense budget and their commitment to cutting nondefense spending, but the historical data show that the only thing they are actually willing to cut is military spending. They are as eager to increase nondefense spending as their friends on the other side of the aisle. (An exception to that rule is Reagan, who managed to cut nonmilitary spending by 10 percent during his time in office.)

When trying to understand the differences in spending between administrations, the president's ideology or party is a very poor predictor of how much the government will grow. Obama ran for re-election as a big-government Democrat, but his spending pattern (until now) did not quite fit his ideology. By contrast, Reagan ran as a fiscally conservative candidate and George W. Bush claimed to believe in small government, but both oversaw large spending increases. 

Out-of-control spending is a bipartisan problem. With a few exceptions, no matter who occupies the White House, the government tends to become larger and more expensive. But in recent years history suggests that it's likely to grow faster with a Republican president. Ideology predicts very little when it comes to spending. For this reason, libertarians need to continue fighting on both sides of the aisle. We must not be fooled by Republicans' small-government rhetoric.  

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  1. Comparing Presidential Administrations is really stupid when you consider it is Congress that controls the budget. Of course spending always grows (that is until the day that it can’t grow anymore, but that is a different topic). Go back and look at spending growth compared to which party controls Congress and specifically the House. That to me is would be much more useful information. The President regardless of party almost never gets what he wants on the budget. So I fail to see how correlating spending to the party controlling the Presidency is very illuminating.

    1. And it’s Republicans, not Democrats, who were almost entirely to blame for these 21st- century expansions, because during the first half of 2001 and all of the 2003?07 period the GOP maintained full control of both the White House and Congress. With Washington unified, the purported party of limited government increased total spending by more than 20 percent in real terms, an average of 5 percent a year.

      Red Tony! Go TEAM!

      1. And what was the increase from 07 to 11?

        And this

        Spending under Obama has not increased as fast as it did under the previous administration and has even dropped a bit from a high in FY2009 (even though some of that spending was due to Obama’s policies).

        There was no election in 2010 that switched control of the House that may have had something to do with that?

        It was all Obama’s commitment to cut government? That is some pretty big news there. Rather than looking at who controlled the House for the entire time, De Rugy picks and chooses when it is the Congress’ fault and when it is the President’s fault. Somehow, it was Congress who spent more from 01 to 07 but President Obama who cut spending after 11.

        Stop and think about that for a bit and come back and talk to me.

        1. You brought up a specific question, Red Tony, and all I did was quote from what you apparently hadn’t read.

          De Rugy picks and chooses when it is the Congress’ fault and when it is the President’s fault

          Yeah, Red Tony. That’s why she says it’s a bipartisan problem.

          1. Yeah, Red Tony. That’s why she says it’s a bipartisan problem.

            No. It says that DeRugy is not making her case with consistent facts. It makes no sense whatsoever to blame the increase in spending in the 00s on Republicans because they controlled Congress but then give the President all of the credit for the reductions in spending that occurred after 2011. That is just her cherry picking facts to fit her narrative. The facts are pretty obvious.

            When you have a Republican Congress and Republican President spending a lot.

            When you have a Democratic Congress and a Republican President, spending increases even more.

            When you have a Democratic Congress and Democratic President, spending increases by an insane amount.

            When you have a Republican Congress and a Democratic President, spending begins to come under control.

            That is what has happened in the last 30 years. What that says about the two parties I leave to you to decide.

            1. President Clinton is an exception to this rule. In the first two years of his first term, he and his Democratic Congress increased spending at a lower rate than during the following six years when Republicans controlled Congress.

              Yeah, Red Tony. Whatever you say.

              1. And yet they tried to expand spending greatly, with Hillarycare.

              2. Yeah Sarcasmic, that had nothing to do with the end of the Cold War and the end of the S&L bailout ending. Go look at non-defense discretionary spending during that time. It went through the roof. It just doesn’t show up in the overall because of the defense cuts and the expiration of the S&L bailout. Again, Derugy is cherry picking facts and ignoring history.

                I generally like DeRugy but this is a sorry article where she decided up front what the answer was and then cherry picked facts and took them out of context to make her case. It is not up to her usual standards at all.

                Put the crack pipe down, stop screaming red tony and just calm down a little bit. Don’t worry, you have enough libertarian street creed that it is okay to think about an article and coming to conclusions that don’t fit the party line. You can do it.

            2. Are you illiterate?

              The article proves all that wrong.

              1. Are you illiterate?

                The article proves all that wrong.

                Red Tony doesn’t care about silly things like facts when it comes to defending the Republican party and the right wing narrative.

                1. Sarcasmic,

                  You do realize you are not only talking to shreek but screaming like a monkey over this? You still haven’t made a cogent point or done much of anything but scream Red Tony. Calm down already.

                  1. Go TEAM!

              2. Are you illiterate?

                The article proves all that wrong.

                Gee, you think someone with the username “Palin’s Buttplug” might be a wee bit BIASED?

        2. What new permanent spending bill did the Pelosi House pass that has gone into effect?

            1. Answer the question. Obamacare goes into effect in 2014.

              1. so you’re saying no money has been put towards that program at all? Amazing that.

                1. Some set-up costs. Maybe $500 million. A pittance when looking at overall federal spending.

                  1. try a couple of billion there, shreek.

                    The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said in budget documents Wednesday that it expects to spend $4.4 billion by the end of this year on grants to help states set up new insurance exchanges. HHS had estimated last year that the grants would cost $2 billion.

                    but whatever…

              2. Answer the question. Obamacare goes into effect in 2014.

                RTFA:

                Obama is nobody’s fiscal conservative. His signature legislative achievement, ObamaCare, will trigger major new spending, most of which will kick in after his presidency is over?meaning that his fiscal irresponsibility will show up in someone else’s numbers.

                So you agree with DeRugy that Obamacare spending won’t kick in until much later. And dipshits will continue to claim that Obama wasn’t the big spending liberal that EVUL RIGHT WING RETHUGLICUNTS like to claim he was. And you’ll have data to “prove” your case, and anytime someone points out that Obamacare’s spending didn’t truly ratchet up until after he left office you’ll scream “RIGHT WING MEME!@!!11!!!” and start flinging your shit like a retarded little spider monkey.

          1. A giant federal bill looming just over the horizon has no effect on the economy, I guess.

            And why the hell does it matter if the bulk of spending goes into affect a year from now rather than now?

    2. And it’s Republicans, not Democrats, who were almost entirely to blame for these 21st- century expansions, because during the first half of 2001 and all of the 2003?07 period the GOP maintained full control of both the White House and Congress.

      Fail on your part.

    3. Spending correlates with both the executive and legislative branches. Sure, congress “writes the laws blah blah blah”. Presidents usually don’t give a shit what they sign and rarely veto anything, and of course the fucking president comes up with all kinds of shit he would like to spend money on and tries to get congress to do these things. The president writes the laws as much as congress does as far as I care.

    4. The fucking president influences laws and spending just as much as congress.

      1. That will come as a hell of a surprise to Obama and Clinton and Bush before them. They have some influence when their own party controls the Congress. But when the other party controls the Congress, they don’t control shit.

        Just exactly what influence on spending has Obama had in the last two years or Bush have in his last two years in office? Next to nothing.

        1. There’s enough overlap that they do plenty of damage together. Like agricultural subsidies.

          1. That is a good example. The President doesn’t write the ag bill, Congress does. And it is passed in one giant bill and put on his desk and he is told to sign it or else. The President deserves blame for not vetoing it and just not having an Ag bill. But the President has virtually no power over the specifics in the bill. That is a Congressional pork fest.

    5. I fail to see how not correlating spending to both parties in both the administrative and legislative branches isn’t illuminating. Seriously, it’s been a marriage made in Heaven for these two parties, spend, point and blame – rinse and repeat.

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  2. OT

    http://www.businessinsider.com…..-it-2013-5

    I am not sure what to think of the idea of the feds forcing cable companies to price by the channel. On the one hand, I love the idea of being able to not pay for all of the cable channels I don’t watch. On the other hand, who is the federal government to tell the broadcast industry how they can price their product? And don’t tell me it is the result of collusion because I don’t agree with anti-trust law either.

    1. I actually DO agree with anti-trust law, and view it as the solution to too-big-to-fail. However, I don’t agree that Disney can’t tell cable providers that the Disney Channel, ABC, and ESPN are package deals. Time-Warner or Comcast could tell Disney to go fuck themselves and engage in a Mutually Assured Distruction scenario with Disney’s broadcast division. Comcast has more choices than Disney in that scenario

      1. Disney has satellite options. Where else will Comcast get ESPN?

        1. Maybe. What does ESPN do when it loses 20% of its revenue?

          1. It airs more curling at 3AM. Guaranteed eyeballs on the screen.

          2. Probably ride it out until enough people leave Comcast for satellite or another provider, where that’s an option. If enough don’t, Comcast might win, but it would be because Disney overestimated the attractiveness of ESPN more than lack of options.

          3. ESPN makes money?

            1. I’m trying to think of when I ever have any need for anything from Disney, including ESPN. Oh yeah, never.

      2. It’s not like these weird, non-marketesque issues aren’t largely attributable to government monopolies, regulation, and other meddlings.

      3. Fuck anti trust law and the FTC.

    2. What’s stopping Dish or DirectTV from pricing by the channel?

      1. The entertainment industry. They won’t sell them rights to broadcast anything unless they agree to broadcast all channels in a bundle.

      2. Typically media companies own multiple channels, and sell them to providers by the bundle. So if the provider is to carry one, it must carry them all.

        1. Which seems to be to be something within their rights. I don’t see where the feds have any right to say otherwise.

          1. “General welfare… regulate commerce… necessary and proper.”

            I think the feds will find an excuse and the the courts will back them up.

            1. The More Perfect Union clause.

        2. Yeah, but why not offer a Disney bundle (ABC and ESPN to me)? Plus all the other Disney channels.

          Then Viacom.

          Then NBC. And CBS. And Fox.

          Then 4-5 others.

          That is enough granularity.

        3. Typically media companies own multiple channels, and sell them to providers by the bundle. So if the provider is to carry one, it must carry them all.

          Couldn’t Dish and DTV simply say to the media companies we won’t bundle and if you don’t like it we won’t broadcast ANY of your shit?

          The money to be made by catering to the customer’s demand to buy a la carte, must be less than the money to be made by catering to the media company demands. IOW, the customer, though they would like an a la carte option, doesn’t want it bad enough to do without Disney programming.

          1. No, they really couldn’t. The entertainment industry would just say fine, good luck keeping your customers without any channels to offer. The entire cable and stalactite market would have to unite and demand ala carte pricing. But even then, it is hard to see how they would have much influence if the entertainment companies stuck together. The cable and satellite providers have to have content. What are they going to do? Threaten to shut down? And as long as the media companies sell it in bundles, they are pretty hard pressed to do anything about it.

            1. I can turn that around on you.

              The entertainment industry needs to have their content shown.

              What are they going to do? Threaten to shut down?

              This is basic supply and demand. The customer wants a la carte, but doesn’t want it bad enough to go through the pain of not having ESPN for a few months till the industry comes around. And the providers realize they’ll make more money providing all the channels than by forcing the entertainment industry to comply with the customer’s demand for a la carte.

              1. Yes. The providers really are not hurt by bundling. So they have no reason to demand alacarte.

              2. And the providers realize they’ll make more money providing all the channels than by forcing the entertainment industry to comply with the customer’s demand for a la carte.

                The irony is that they’d probably have better customer retention and increased subscription if they did a la carte.

                I have no motivation to use cable or dish networks when I have to pay for a shitload of channels I don’t watch. I’m better off financially just going with over-the-air and getting stuff I want to see on Hulu or Netflix. the cable series I enjoy, like Spartacus or Game of Thrones, I can rent or buy myself.

                But if I only had to pay, say, $10 per premium channel and $1-2 per regular channel? THAT might motivate me enough subscribe and maybe even get some of the lesser-watched channels like ESPNU or H2 because they have shows I’d normally watch.

                1. You mean you don’t watch “Ancient Aliens” on the HISTORY channel?

                  I used to love the History channel back when they had shows about history.

    3. You know what irks me? Whenever I hear a progressive use (misuse?) the term “free market.” Because when has there ever been one, one that’s even been tried? The Feds are involved in just about every economic transaction. Fucking eh, you can’t produce and sell anything without their damn approval.

      This is just another example.

    4. Apparently, Netflix accounts for nearly 1/3rd of all downstream web traffic in North America at certain times of night. I think this problem is fixing itself.

      Honestly, if ESPN/ABC were to sign a sports deal with XBox, I’d drop all my cable.

      1. ^THIS^

        As Netflix, Hulu, and misc. other on-demand streaming services become more popular, eventually cable and satellite providers will go the way of the whale blubber and buggy whip industries. Unless they reform themselves. It would be smart of them and the entertainment industry to read the writing on the wall and start offering ala carte pricing options on their own.

        Of course, the smart choice and the choice they’ll end up making are likely to be 2 different things.

    5. It’s going to lead to a lot of niche channels getting shafted, and less choice at higher prices for everybody.

  3. AEI fretting a potential budget surplus before the 2016 election.

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/…..t-surplus/

    1. Call us crazy, but if the economy finally lifts off in 2014-2015, with GDP growth in the 4% neighborhood ? with the sequester still in place ? a surplus by fiscal 2015 is not totally out of the question.

      You’re crazy.

      1. Yeah. I am thinking there is this 800 lbs gorilla known as Obamacare that is likely to prevent that.

      2. As if the Senate won’t immediately pass a budget the day they don’t have to worry about voting for a debt-limit increase before their next election.

    2. It’s always a big mistake is to take short term results and project them far into the future.

  4. Of course it’s the fault of both parties. Neither has done anything to reduce spending in decades. If the GOP had been serious, it had from 2001 – 2006 to gut Leviathan. It didn’t.

    It’s not entirely symmetrical, as the GOP can be anti-spending when it’s out of the White House and may have some slightly greater sympathy for something sort of free-markety, but not enough so to make a substantive difference.

  5. “I’m shocked. SHOCKED to discover deficit spending going on here.”

  6. If the GOP had been serious, it had from 2001 – 2006 to gut Leviathan. It didn’t.

    Gut it? They force fed it like a French goose.

    1. Precisely. Thanks, guys!

    2. Or this woman.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/fem…..-star.html

      ‘I force-feed myself 5,000 calories a day through a funnel’: Meet the 23-year-old desperate to reach 30st (420lbs) – so that men with a fat fetish will PAY to watch her eat

      Tammy Jung, 23, is increasing her weight by over 3st every 6 months
      She currently weighs 16st – halfway to her goal weight of 30st
      She spends ?70 a day on takeaways
      Encourages her boyfriend to pour milkshakes down her throat with a funnel
      Already earns ?1,000 a month online, some people pay to watch her eating

      (a st or stone is 14lbs)
      I wonder if John is one of her customers…

      1. People are weird.

    3. I thought they cut gov to the bone to give money to TEH CORPORASHUNS and engaged in DERGULASHUN?

    4. And when the Dems took over the Congress in 07, that all ended right?

      1. No one said that Red Tony

        1. Then what happened? Did spending go up? Did it stay the same?

          Those would seem to be relevant questions wouldn’t they? But whatever you do, don’t ask them or think though the issue. Just scream red tony and end all doubt what a dumb ass you are.

          1. It continued to go up. What’s your fucking my point? No one disputed that. The Late P Brooks wasn’t shilling for the Democrats by criticizing the Republicans. Before you start calling people dumb asses learn a little bit about reading comprehension and logic.

            1. Speaking of reading comprehension, where did I ever say PBrooks was shilling for anyone? And where did I criticize anyone? I asked a question. And yeah, the answer of course is spending went through roof. It didn’t stay the same. Didn’t keep the same rate of increase. It exploded.

              And that puts lie to the idea that the two parties are the same. I know pox on both parties is like crack to some of you dumb mother fuckers. But just because sides suck, doesn’t mean they are equally bad. If that fact makes you uncomfortable, tough shit.

              1. Amen, John. Every time I hear some lame motherfucker say “both parties are just as bad as each other!”, I want to slap them upside their stupid head. Drivel like that is an excuse for not thinking.

  7. Alleging that the Obama administration is more fiscally conservative than nearly all of its predecessors strikes me as BS. Keeping baseline spending where it’s been since Bush’s abysmal last year in office does not equate to fiscal restraint.

    1. It is fiscal restraint in the sense that a smaller spending increase is a cut.

      1. If Obama actually did at least propose real spending cuts (i.e., ones that would actually lower long-range spending projections), then I could let him have that title. The measly “sequester” doesn’t count.

      2. But the restraint, such as it was only occurred because it was forced down his throat by a hostile House. Had the Dems held the House and 59 votes in the Senate in 2010, do you honestly think spending would have restrained?

      3. What a weird world DC is where words mean something totally contradictory to themselves.

        It’s interesting how the administration and its advocates are simultaneously blaming the Republicans for the world-ending sequester and taking credit for the spending cuts. Which is it, good or bad?

        1. Well the progtards do sometimes acknowledge that the limited government fiscal conservatism of the GOP is a lie only to then condemn the GOP as a bunch of anarchist radicals who want TEH POOR, TEH WEMUNZ and TEH CHILLUNS to die in the streets.

        2. Fuck dude, when I saw some article titled “Sequester leaves Head Start Program Gutted,” I thought, what total bull-fucking-shit.

          Where I live, the local Head Start, in response to the ravaging sequester cuts, had to – get this – end the school year TWO DAYS sooner. AHHHH!!! BRUTALITY HAS NO NAME LIKE SEQUESTER!!133!!23

          We are truly, utterly fucked.

          1. Since Head Start has never once been shown to have any lasting positive effects, we can only hope sequester gutted it.

  8. Wasn’t Bartlett the fellow who went from bitching about Medicare Part D to cheerleading Obamacare?

    What’s next a former Catoite protesting against Levy’s pro-gun control arguments and in turn starts supporting full on gun confiscation?

  9. Dear Veronique: it appears you are looking at total spending, rather than spending as a percentage of GDP. Wouldn’t that tell a very different story? Additionally, regulation and monetary inflation should be viewed as a taxes, making things more complicated still. Before deciding if Ds or Rs are worse we need to see the whole spending picture.

    1. Actually no, her numbers are adjusted for inflation not simply spending in nominal dollars

  10. One problem with this sort of analysis is that most spending is on programs created decades or generations ago. Democrats love to claim credit for Social Security and Medicare, but when the bills come due (often under a Republican President, or even a Republican Congress), suddenly the spending is entirely the fault of the GOP.

    1. Derugy blames Republicans for not killing off entitlements and gives the Democrats a pass for creating them.

      I guess the Republicans also get a pass for all of the spending on the Iraq war and the Democrats get the blame for not ending the war immediately upon taking power?

    2. Agreed. And that’s what makes those kinds of spending bills so popular: the pain is not immediate, while the gain is. Pushing the negative effects out into the future while showering voters with the rewards is a sure winner in electoral politics.

      1. And isn’t saying it is a “bi partisan” problem really just saying it is a “national problem”. Clearly voters on both sides like the government to spend money. The difference is what they want it spent on. But it is not like either party is doing anything but what their supporters wants. De Rugy acts like the political class is acting in defiance of some great political groundswell for reduced government spending. I wish.

        1. I agree with your assessment of the tone of DeRugy’s article, John, in that it seems to skewer Republicans much more fiercely than their Democratic counterparts for outrageous government spending.

          That Bartlett quote is pretty ridiculous; comparing the percentage increase of federal spending during Obama’s terms to Bush’s only presents a part of the picture. The fact that baseline spending has remained at such an elevated level for so long is a pretty damn big deal, one that Obama should be damned for, like Bush rightfully was for his increases in spending. Yet the article’s tone seems rather soft on this administration in that it doesn’t even mention this fact.

          You know, I will say I’m glad Obama hasn’t presented a budget in the sense that I never thought it was appropriate for a president to demand spending in any sort of way – that power rests solely with Congress.

  11. OT
    Because, swallowed by a Hippo, that’s why:

    “There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest,” Paul Templer said, recalling the moment he realized he had been swallowed by a hippopotamus.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..ostpopular

    1. Hippos really are terrifying creatures.

    2. I assume he got out of the hippo the Jim Carey way.

  12. I’m surprised by this. Does QE1, 2, and 3 count in this analysis?

    1. QE is not considered federal spending.

  13. Fail on methodology. I agree that typically a new president operates under the previous administration’s budget. I agree that Republicans spend way too much.

    BUT, to say that GWB was responsible for the stimulus bill of 2009 and the Obama gets credit for only holding the line on that ridiculously enormous spending Bacchanalia is a complete fail. This isn’t a defense of GWB (other than to keep from blaming him for spending that clearly belongs to Obama).

    File this one under figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.

    1. Exactly. This whole article reads like it was written by Dalmai rather than the usually reliable DeRugy.

    2. The stimulus was supplemental – not part of the calculation de Rugy uses.

      1. So that means it shouldn’t count? Idiot.

  14. It was supposed to be supplemental but has clearly been baked into the baseline as spending has NOT fallen 2% under Obama. Spending
    is at record levels and the only way to get the baseline that high it to include the stimulus.

    1. Didn’t TARP repayment end up in the black this side of 09? That would also tweak numbers more than a bit

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  16. That was a waste of an article. To include military spending is
    ridiculous if you want to make a judgement on the expansion of Federal government spending. Most of the observations made on “spending” had to do with the ebbs and flows of military spending.

    There were some valid points in the piece, but too much flotsam to be of any real value. Pull out defense spending and do it again.

    1. Agreed; the inclusion of defense spending confuses the issue. Yes, to a degree defense spending is optional, but that degree is beyond definition. So reprint the story with defense displayed but as a separate item.

  17. I consider myself a small L libertarian. I found Reason. com. in a Libertarian website search. I like the articles. They are well thought out and written. What has disappointed me is the comment section. Same old team red and team blue. The gist of this article is our elected representatives are not fiscally responsible. Not team red/red, not team blue/red. Not team blue/blue, not team red/blue. Yet the commenter’s here argue who is incrementally better or worse. What a disappointment. I will continue to read the articles, but the level of commentary here leaves me wondering about a lot of you. I think a lot of you would just be better off listening to the lies at MSNBC or Fox. Why challenge yourself with though provoking articles and discussions?

    1. Agreed, They sound like the same old red vs blue fuckers that are on msnbc and fox

  18. Say this louder! In case after case, the duopoly mimics the worst of each other. Libertarians can prevail, but we need a passionate core to carry our message. Perhaps the Tea party? After all, they often claim their moniker means TaxedEnoughAlready. Seek them out with this message!

  19. federal government operates under the departing executive’s

  20. during transition years, though generally the federal government

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  29. And it’s Republicans, not Democrats, who were almost entirely to blame for these 21st- century expansions, because during the first half of 2001 and all of the 2003?07 period the GOP maintained full control of both the White House and Congress.

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