Donald Lambro
Recommend this article

For the record, total budget outlays under Eisenhower inched up from $76.1 billion in 1953 to $76.6 billion in his first four years. He left office with his budget at a modest $92.2 billion.

Meantime, Carney's May 23 scolding caught the eye of The Washington Post's fact checker, Glenn Kessler, who knows budget numbers can be "easily manipulated" and thinks that's what is going on here, too.

Kessler dug into Nutting's numbers and cited the data above, along with another measurement of the fast rising federal budget: how large a bite it takes out of the overall U.S. economy.

Using the White House's own statistics that measures spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy's gross domestic product (GDP), Kessler shows how that share has grown overall under Obama:

2008: 20.8 percent of GDP; 2009: 25.2 percent; 2010: 24.1 percent; 2011: 24.1 percent; 2012: 23.3 percent; and 2013: an estimated 23.3 percent.

"In the post-war era, federal spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy has hovered around 20 percent, give or take a couple of percentage points. Under Obama, it has hit highs not seen since the end of World War II -- completely the opposite of the point asserted by Carney," Kessler said.

As for Nutting's column, Kessler said, "The data in the article are flawed, and the analysis lacks context" that can be found in available budget documents.

But what about the president's bombastic statement that he has slowed the pace of spending?

Stanford business school economist Keith Hennessey tears that whopper apart on his web site that the Wall Street Journal said was one of the top 25 blogs on the Internet. Among his points:

"The president argues his fiscal stimulus law, enacted in February 2009, had a big positive effect on the growth rate of the economy," Hennessey points out. Thus, Obama maintains his policies didn't significantly hike spending but did increase growth.

But Keynesian fiscal stimulus theory is based on raising federal spending. Indeed, Obama spent nearly $1 trillion on his jobs stimulus, though he got little economic growth in return.

Hennessey found a number of flaws in Nutting's figures along with statistical errors and "gimmicks" like assuming Obama has nothing to do with the budget when he takes office in January until the new fiscal budget year begins in October.

Thus, Nutting "skips all spending increases in the first eight months of the Obama administration, including the early implementation of the stimulus law, he says.

Hennessey's conclusion: Obama's fiscal policies have "have maintained an extraordinarily high level of spending through his first term, and he proposes to continue to do so if he is elected to a second term."

"If his latest budget were enacted in full and he were elected to a second term, the [spending] average over his tenure would be 23.4 percent of GDP," he said.

Under President George W. Bush, federal spending averaged 19.6 percent of GDP before the economy fell into the recession in fiscal 2009. Even if you include fiscal '09, "Bush's average is 20.1 percent."

What Obama is presiding over is clearly "a spending binge," he says.

A spending binge that is recklessly pushing America toward another long-term recession and its future insolvency.

Recommend this article

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.