Obama's spending denial problem
...The White House has a deeply conflicted relationship to its own record. It is saddled with a bad case of spender’s denial, a rare psychological disorder afflicting committed Keynesians facing re-election at a time of record debt.
On the one hand, spending is the lifeblood of “Forward.” It saved us from another Great Depression. It is forging a glorious new future of green energy. It is the only thing standing between the American public and the untold devastation of the Paul Ryan budget.How do we know? Because President Obama says so.
On the other hand, the deficits and the debt that come with all this spending are alarming and unpopular. So Obama calls himself the most fiscally conservative president in over half a century.When the president isn’t extolling his transformative expenditures, he has a Walter Mitty life as the second coming of Dwight Eisenhower. He needs to consult an accountant and a therapist, and not necessarily in that order.
If you torture the numbers just the right way — the Office of Management and Budget meets the Spanish Inquisition — you can come up with a 0.4 percent rate of spending growth during the Obama administration. To get there, you have to ignore part of the stimulus (on grounds that Obama didn’t have complete control of the budget in 2009) and play games with the bailouts (crediting Obama with spending cuts when they are paid back). Even fact-checkers with mainstream media outfits have merrily stomped all over the statistical legerdemain.You can sense the desperation in this ploy. It also is rather ad hoc and based on a media report that cooked the books in his favor rather than actual analysis by the OMB. The failure to vet the suggestion of a media analyst makes Obama look less than Presidential.
As a share of GDP, spending has been at post-World War II highs throughout his term. If fiscal probity is truly his aim, Obama is a miserable failure of a skinflint.