The Romney campaign continues to falsely claim that the rate of spending has increased under President Obama, a myth that has been repeatedly debunked by independent fact checkers.
Obama for America Policy Director James Kvaal clearly lays out the facts about spending and the difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to the deficit.
In recent days, fact-checkers of different stripes have debated whether federal spending under President Obama has grown very slowly or just slowly. But you don’t have to slog through the numbers to know that there is no truth to the Romney campaign’s claim that, “[s]ince President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history.”
Rex Nutting of MarketWatch got the ball rolling by noting that “federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since President Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.” He calculated annual spending growth at 1.4 percent over the course of the President’s term, which includes the Recovery Act. PolitiFact wrote that “the math simultaneously backs up Nutting’s calculations and demolishes Romney’s contention.”
Critics have been quick to point to alternative calculations that make different assumptions about how to attribute spending associated with the response to the financial crisis—including measures taken before President Obama took office. But these alternative calculations don’t make the Romney campaign’s claim about an acceleration of spending any less false. Based on their own adjustments and particular judgment calls, fact-checkers at the Associated Press and the Washington Post calculated alternative growth rates for spending growth beginning in 2010—the first year where the president set the budget—at about 3 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. But no matter which of those numbers you find most plausible, spending growth under President Obama over this period would still be at the slowest rate for any president since Eisenhower. As Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson put it, Romney’s claims are “utterly false. The truth is that spending has slowed markedly under Obama.”
Going forward, President Obama has proposed a balanced plan to cut the deficit by over $4 trillion over the next decade. It reduces government spending to levels similar to those during the Reagan Administration as a share of the economy, while making investments in education, innovation, infrastructure, and clean energy. By contrast, Mitt Romney’s plan would add as much as $5 trillion to the deficit, largely as a result of deep tax cuts weighted towards millionaires and billionaires.