We have written several times about the Democrats’ claim that Barack Obama is somehow a fiscal conservative. The claim is doubly risible, in that 1) the Obama administration has run up spending and debt totals that dwarf those of any other presidency, and 2) Obama has never aspired to be a fiscal conservative, or to impose any sort of fiscal restraint. On the contrary, he has always pressed for as much spending and debt as he could wring out of Congress. His budgets are so ridiculous with respect to both spending and debt that in the last two years, not a single Congressman or Senator of either party has voted for them. So for Obama to now claim the mantle of a tightwad is one more sign of his campaign’s desperation.
Nevertheless, today, at a fundraiser in Baltimore, Obama returned to the theme that he is some kind of fiscal skinflint:
Spending under my administration has grown more slowly than under any president in 60 years. So this notion that somehow we caused the deficits is just wrong. It’s just not true.
As we pointed out here, here and here, the Democrats’ claim relies mainly on attributing the first year of the Obama administration, FY 2009, to President Bush. This was, of course, the year of the “stimulus,” as well as a huge jump in discretionary spending. Since then, even though the stimulus has expired, spending has gone up even higher. These are the federal budget deficits for fiscal years 2005 through 2012 (2012 is estimated):
The Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, one-third of the way through FY 2007.
Now we get to the Obama administration, which began one-third of the way through the 2009 fiscal year. The Democratic Congress did not pass a budget resolution until President Bush was gone and Obama had been sworn in. On top of the massive spending increase called for in that budget, the Democrats enacted the $800 billion “stimulus” bill; some, but not all, of that money was spent in FY 2009:
So Obama can disclaim responsibility for the largest (by far) budget deficits on record only if we assume that he has had nothing to do with events that have taken place subsequent to his inauguration. Which seems to be emerging as Obama’s broader campaign theme: Don’t blame me, I’m not the President. I am only a bystander!
At the same fundraiser today–does Obama do anything other than travel from one fundraiser to another?–he said:
You can pretty much put their campaign on a tweet and have some characters to spare. The challenge is because folks are still hurting right now, the other side feels that its enough for them to just sit back and say, “Things aren’t as good as they should be and it’s Obama’s fault.”
Hey, he’s only the President! The reality is that Obama has a record, and it is terrible. His record is so bad that he can’t run on it. Instead, he misrepresents his record and claims credit for virtues (e.g., fiscal conservatism) which, until now, he has never espoused. November can’t come soon enough.