On May 24, President Barack Obama said, “Federal spending since I took office has risen at the slowest pace of any president in almost 60 years.”

On May 25, The Washington Post — not noted for its conservatism — said the claim “falls short of reality.”

This is because Obama included the 2009 $151 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program and made the 2010 budget look smaller by counting the $110 billion in repayment of TARP as spending “cuts.”

Obama’s analysis makes his administration look $261 billion thriftier than it was.

Here’s a fair comparison: If I lent $151 to my neighbor, can I really claim that my budget decreased by the $110 repaid?

When considering the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the result is similar.

In 2009 and 2010, $96 billion and $40 billion, respectively, was spent in the process. Using Obama’s calculations, that’s $56 billion in cuts. Reality is the latter was merely the second payment. To claim it was a reduction in spending is false. If factored appropriately, deleting that total $317 billion figure results in an increase of almost 8 percent.

Plus, the calculation includes future events — which may or may not occur — such as the 2013 $65 billion drop for across-the-board spending, decreases in Medicare and refundable tax cuts set to expire.

He also proposed $470 billion more in 2010, 2011 and 2012 budgets than actually were approved.

How does his claim explain the 75 percent increase in national debt, from $9 trillion to nearly $16 trillion?

Finally, how does one reconcile Obama’s dual claims of thriftiness and Republican spending obstructionism?

Greg Paquet


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