Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cutting Through the Crap: Which President Was the Biggest Spender in Recent American History?

The Cato Institute helps refute the laughable administration claims that President Obama is some sort of deficit hawk. That could be true, but -- if so -- it's only in some sort of alternate universe, like the one where Mr. Spock wears a Fu Manchu mustache.

...the main debate is about which president was the biggest overall spender. So I’ve run through the numbers... and here’s a new table looking at the rankings based on average annual changes in inflation-adjusted primary spending, minus the distorting impact of deposit insurance and TARP.

Obama is still in the second-to-last position, but spending is increasing by “only” 5.5 percent per year rather than 7.0 percent annually. This is obviously because defense spending is not growing as fast as domestic spending.

Reagan remains in first place, though his score drops now that his defense buildup is part of the calculations. Clinton, conversely, stays in second place but his score jumps because he benefited from the peace dividend after Reagan’s policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

Let’s now look at these numbers from a policy perspective. Rahn Curve research shows that government is far too big today, so the goal of fiscal policy should be to restrain the burden of government spending relative to economic output.

This means that policy moves in the right direction when government grows more slowly than the private sector, as it did under Reagan and Clinton.

But if government spending is growing faster than the productive sector of the economy, as has been the case during the Bush-Obama years, then a nation eventually will become Greece.

Hey, Axelrod -- here's a helpful hint: when even the Associated Press shreds your propaganda, you may want to switch your line of attack. Cause it's definitely not working.

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