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Is President Obama a Big Spender?

There are some things that are so apparent that they’re not even worth mentioning. What goes up must come down. The earth is round. President Barack Obama is a big spender. But this week, some in the media and in the White House are denying one of these totally obvious truths. It shouldn’t be a big surprise which one it is.

On Tuesday, MarketWatch’s Rex Nutting wrote that claims of Obama’s big spending ways are overblown and that the “Obama spending binge never happened.” In a press gaggle on Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney picked up on the argument and claimed that “this President has been–has demonstrated significant fiscal restraint and acted with great fiscal responsibility.”

But sure as the sun rises in the east, not in the west, claims of Obama’s supposed “fiscal restraint” are just plain wrong. Heritage’s J.D. Foster explains:

Federal spending as a share of the economy will average over 24 percent during Obama’s term, and each and every year of that term will see a higher share than during any year since the Second World War. That apparently qualifies as ‘significant fiscal restraint’ Obama-style.

Fiscal responsibility? Obama has had by far the largest budget deficits, driven in large part by the eruption in spending.

Heritage’s Alison Fraser and Emily Goff thoroughly dismantle of the Nutting-Carney claim and point out that President Obama’s near-trillion-dollar stimulus “drove spending to a record 25.2 percent of the economy in 2009 and deficits topped $1 trillion for the first time in the nation’s history.”

You can see the proof for yourself in Heritage’s 2012 edition of the Federal Budget in Pictures. Of the last ten presidents, going back to John F. Kennedy, president Obama’s budget deficits as a percentage of GDP have exploded. And if you take a look at where spending is headed under President Obama’s budget, you’ll see that the country’s debt crisis just keeps getting worse. The President’s FY 2013 budget would increase the debt to 76.5 percent of GDP by 2022, despite $2 trillion in tax hikes. That’s not “fiscal restraint,” no matter how you slice it.

As bad as spending is today, President Obama wants to spend more, especially on transportation, infrastructure, education and research. He says that more spending, paid for with higher taxes, is the key to getting the U.S. economy back on track — even though that strategy has failed miserably over the past three years. Here’s the president’s problem. The American people don’t want Washington to spend more, they want it to spend less. They don’t want Washington to tax more, they want it to tax less. According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, 53 percent of voters believe that tax cuts help the economy, and most say that more government spending has a negative impact.

The president wants to have it both ways. He’d like to be viewed as someone who cuts taxes and has demonstrated fiscal restraint, but he also wants to keep on taxing and spending. But sure as apples fall from trees and go down, not up, President Obama is a big spender who has done anything but show fiscal restraint. There are some laws of nature that just can’t be denied.

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