Runaway Spending Under Obama? Look at the Facts

Jared Bernstein questions the common assumption of “runaway spending” under President Obama’s tenure.

“The figure [(Source: CBPP analysis of OMB and BLS data)] shows significant spending growth in only one year: 2009, as outlays rose to meet the deepest recession since the Depression … Since then, outlays have fallen, adjusting for inflation and population growth.  From 2009 to 2013, they’re down 12 percent … not quite the spending spree that is often suggested in partisan debate.”

“Moreover, as the figure below reveals, 77 percent of the savings that come from policy changes (i.e., excluding technical and economic changes) are from spending cuts to government programs; less than a quarter come from revenue”



  1. But the debt!!! It has mushroomed under Obama and that is completely under his control! If only he would sit down at his kitchen table like an American and figure out how to live within his means.

    1. Someday the early 21st century American right wing will be studied as a fascinating case of mass delusion.

      That is, if civilization survives the early 21st century American right wing.

      1. It may be studied in some obscure liberal brainwashing center, but it’ll never be in a public school textbook as long as the Texas School Board has anything to say about it. Of course, they may achieve their dream of secession by then.

    2. No the debt isn’t completely under Obama’s control.
      Did you even TRY thinking before you wrote that?

  2. From 2004 through 2007, total government spending fluctuated around 34% of GDP, in 2008 it exceeded 36%, in 2009 41%, then declined to just under 40% for the following few years then slowly dropped to around 36.5% and it is projected to continue around that number through the end of the decade. So, from 2007 to 2009 it increased by over 20%, only to drop back by only 5% for two years, then by a further 5% for the subsequent period, and never returning to the pre-Obama era percentage of the GDP. Runaway? Well maybe so from 2007-2009, but declining since, but never back to what it was before.

  3. I’m not siding with anyone since I am not American nor do I live in the US. But I’d just like to point out that economy isn’t so simple, it lags, even for years. So judging everything by current inflation rates, deficits and so on without giving it a second thought is silly. Everyone would like monetary/fiscal policies to just change everything within a day. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way! And pressuring politicians to make it that way will only lead to tragic outcomes in the long run.

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