Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
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Larry had Peter on the program for a few minutes to bust the myth that President Obama is the most fiscally conservative president since Eisenhower — the subject of Peter’s latest widely read piece at Forbes.com. (Listen to the podcast at the bottom of this post.)
Common sense suggests that claim is just absurd on its face, but Peter smashes it to pieces with facts that are worth memorizing.
Says Peter on Kudlow’s show:
- Obama’s latest budget — which was submitted in February and got not a single “yea” vote in Congress — planned to spend $3.8 trillion, “more than any other government has spent [in one year] in world history.”
- Obama’s budget plan proposed spending $47 trillion over the next 10 years, another record for any government ever. Says Peter: “[Obama] is the biggest government in world history by his own words.”
What about the idea that federal spending in 2009 is Bush’s fault, because he submitted a budget for that year? Though Peter is no apologist for Bush’s profligate spending, the claim is nonsense.
In February 2008, Bush submitted a 2009 budget that increased spending by 3 percent. But, as Peter points out: “The previous president proposes the budget, but the previous Congress passes the budget.” And that previous Pelosi-led Congress (with a Democrat-controlled Senate) didn’t adopt Bush’s budget, and passed almost no appropriations bills in the proper fashion. They simply adopted a continuing resolution that hiked spending by 18 percent.
And then, on top of that, the Pelosi/Reid Congress added up more goodies — after Obama was elected — that they put on his desk to sign. All told, spending rose 27.9 percent from 2008 to 2009 — and none of that was Bush’s doing.
So, if you add in the $410 billion supplemental bill Obama signed, an the $867 billion “stimulus” bill (which did nothing to encourage economic growth), you’re left with $1.2 trillion in spending for 2009 before Obama had time to change the drapes in the Oval Office.
Getting to the election, Larry asks why Mitt Romney isn’t making more hay over these facts. Peter notes that Romney has endorsed the budget by Paul Ryan, and that budget fixes a lot of the problems created by Obama’s spending binge. It gets spending back to its historical post-WWII norms: 20 percent of GDP. Obama’s spending is currently 25.8 percent of GDP, and the Congressional Budget Office projects that Obama’s spending will consume 30 percent, 50 percent, and eventually 80 percent of GDP in future years.
Peter also claims that Ryan’s budget eventually pays off the national debt. Listen to Larry and Peter — both veterans of the Reagan administration — lay out the facts in the MP3 below.