After he signed a law last week authorizing the U.S. Treasury to borrow an additional $1.9 trillion, President Barack Obama delivered a characteristically sanctimonious speech. It was about his deep commitment to frugality.
"After a decade of profligacy, the American people are tired of politicians who talk the talk but don't walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility," he said. "It's easy to get up in front of the cameras and rant against exploding deficits. What's hard is actually getting deficits under control. But that's what we must do. Like families across the country, we have to take responsibility for every dollar we spend."
To put Obama's Olympian hypocrisy in perspective, one need only examine the federal budget tables posted on the White House website by Obama's own Office of Management and Budget.
They reveal these startling facts: When calculated by the average annual percentage of the Gross Domestic Product that he will spend during his presidency, Obama is on track to become the biggest-spending president since 1930, the earliest year reported on the OMB's historical chart of spending as a percentage of GDP. When calculated by the average annual percentage of GDP he will borrow during his presidency, Obama is on track to become the greatest debter president since Franklin Roosevelt.
Obama will outspend and out-borrow the admittedly profligate George W. Bush, a man Obama and his lieutenants routinely malign for fiscal recklessness and who, when in office, was often hailed even by his allies as a Big Government Republican. Obama will even outspend -- but not quite out-borrow -- his fellow welfare-state liberal FDR, who had to contend with both the Depression and World War II.
In determining this was the case, I credited the presidents prior to Obama with the federal spending and borrowing that occurred during the fiscal years that started when they were in office. I credited Obama with the spending and borrowing that his own OMB estimates will occur during the fiscal years from 2010 to 2013, which are the four fiscal years starting during Obama's four-year term. (Before fiscal 1977, fiscal years ran from July 1 to June 30. Since then, they have run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.)