- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2012

President Obama gave a speech in Iowa recently in which he told one of the biggest whoppers of his 2012 re-election campaign.

Under increasing attack from Mitt Romney’s campaign and Republican super PACs for the unprecedented trillion-dollar deficits and $16 trillion debt he has run up during his presidency, Mr. Obama claimed he has the best fiscal record of any chief executive in the past six decades.

Here’s what the president said with a straight face: “But what my opponent didn’t tell you was that federal spending since I took office has risen at the slowest pace of any president in almost 60 years.”

That’s a rather breathtaking statement from a president who came into office when his predecessor’s budget was $2.98 trillion and who is on track to finish his four-year term in January 2013 with annual expenditures heading toward nearly $4 trillion.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, here’s how spending has soared and will continue to climb under Mr. Obama’s fiscal policies: 2008, $2.98 trillion; 2009, $3.27 trillion; 2010, $3.46 trillion; 2011, $3.60 trillion; 2012, $3.65 trillion; and 2013, $3.72 trillion.

The numbers would be worse if Congress gave Mr. Obama what he sought: $3.67 trillion in 2010, $3.80 trillion in 2011 and $3.71 trillion in 2012.

There are other ways to measure how the government’s spending has exploded under Mr. Obama, and I’ll get to those in a minute.

But first, a little background on how the White House and its news-media cronies are pushing the myth that Mr. Obama is one of the most frugal presidents since Calvin Coolidge.

Late last month, Rex Nutting of MarketWatch wrote a column headlined “Obama spending binge never happened.”

In that column, Mr. Nutting wrote this: “Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4 percent.”

Not long after that piece appeared, White House press secretary Jay Carney was answering questions at his daily briefing about the president’s budgetary track record and the criticism it was getting from Republican TV campaign ads.

Mr. Carney pointed his questioners to Mr. Nutting’s column, saying that the attacks on Mr. Obama as a big spender were false.

“I simply make the point, as an editor might say, to check it out. Do not buy into the BS that you hear about spending and fiscal constraint with regard to this administration. I think doing so is a sign of sloth and laziness.”

Shortly after that, Mr. Obama made his unbelievable statement that he had the best record of any president going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration.

For the record, total budget outlays under Eisenhower inched up from $76.1 billion in 1953 to $76.6 billion in his first four years. He left office with his budget at a modest $92.2 billion.

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