Growth In Government Spending Under President Obama Slower Than During Bush, Reagan Administrations

Republicans have continually decried the Obama Administration’s “runaway spending” since he took office, blaming him for growing deficits and a mounting national debt. But a quick glance at the facts show that, compared to George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, Obama is actually embracing fiscal conservatism more than any other president in recent history, with the exception of fellow Democrat Bill Clinton.

The Atlantic crunches the numbers:

For all the talk you hear about Obama’s historic spree, government spending actually hasn’t increased so dramatically under this president. The stimulus was big, but it’s over. It’s been replaced by, if not austerity (which has struck our states and cities) then a hard correction to the center.

Evidence of the cost-cutting measures employed by Obama can be found in the last several jobs reports. While the overall number of jobs created has steadily increased for the last several months, those advances have all come entirely in the private sector. Public sector jobs have actually been on the decline for much of the last year as government spending on some agencies and programs have been cut.


Economics Professor Mark Thoma provides a helpful chart on his blog that puts President Obama’s per capita spending into context, comparing it with the spending of every president in the last 40 years.

That’s likely a hard pill to swallow for Obama’s critics, who have spent years hammering his administration for record spending and fiscal irresponsibility. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson put it best: “Going by federal expenditures…it would seem that if Obama’s a socialist, Ronald Reagan is Karl Marx with an ICBM.”