In response to my “Why We’re Forced to Choose Between a Bad President and an Even Worse President,” a reader said that Obama “has just one fault he cannot quit spending,” and said that, consequently, “he MUST GO!”This basic Republican charge against Obama is a blatant Republican lie, as I shall here document conclusively.
The document, “Fiscal Year 2013 Historical Tables,” was recently published by the Federal Government, and it shows (pages 22-23) that the Government’s actual “Outlays” have remained essentially flat since the 2009 budget, which was submitted under George W. Bush. In fact, Obama’s first budget, 2010, even went down 1.7% (following a year in which there had been 2.7% inflation, so the real increase was -1%); the 2nd, 2011, then increased 4.3% (following a year in which inflation was 1.5%, so the real increase was 2.8%).
That’s what was actually spent. What had been proposed by the President was, of course, a bit different. George W. Bush had proposed 2009 expenditures of $3.1 trillion, but the Federal Government actually spent $3.5 trillion, because of the crash, which Bush caused. Barack Obama proposed 2010 expenditures of $3.6t, but again $3.5t were spent – virtually the same amount as in 2009 – because of the need to re-start “demand.” (Moreover, since the inflation-rate was 2.7% in 2009, federal expenditures actually went down 2.7% from 2009 to 2010, despite the Keynesian need that year to boost spending.) Obama then proposed for 2011 $3.8t, but $3.6t ended up being spent – a 4% hike from the prior year. (But the inflation-rate was 1.5% in 2010, so the real spending-increase proposed in 2011 was only 2.5%.)
All of the unusually large Obama expenditures had been due to Bush’s 2008 crash, and furthermore the crater that was opening up in the future federal debt was due entirely to the crash and to the need to reverse it. Obama shouldn’t have continued Bush’s Wall Street policies, but he did – including Bush’s bank policies. However, Obama also instituted some benefits for non-aristocrats, and the Republicans fought against those tooth-and-nail (such as by holding everything hostage to their blocking any tax-hike on the rich), which partially explains the meager increases during this period when enormous temporary spending increases were actually needed, in accord with macro-economics or “Keynesianism.”
Politifact.com bannered, on May 22nd, “Viral Facebook Post Says Barack Obama Has Lowest Spending Record of Any Recent President,” and Politifact rated it “Mostly True.” They presented the actual numbers, and documented that, “Using raw dollars, Obama did oversee the lowest annual increases in spending of any president in 60 years. … Using inflation-adjusted figures, Obama had the second-lowest increase.” They chose to rate this “Viral Facebook Post,” but not to rate the following claim on the Romney campaign’s website, which this “Post” had referred to and upon which it was based: “Since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history.” Instead, the Politifact report noted this Romney-campaign claim only in passing, and didn’t say whether it was either true or false, because they didn’t want to nail the Romney campaign on a blatant lie – precisely the sort of thing that naive people would think that a website such as Politifact would be aiming to do. Consequently, even this Politifact report was heavily slanted Republican – it hid a core blatant Romney-campaign lie.
However, this was better than factcheck.org, which didn’t even so much as refer to (much less evaluate the truthfulness of) that lie from Romney.
Virtually all of the major “news” media are slanted Republican (and this is the reason, for example, why they failed to report that George W. Bush was outright lying when he said that he possessed proof that Saddam still had WMD, and why he wasn’t seriously challenged on that blatant lie, which produced this disastrous unnecessary invasion), but some are more sophisticated about their slant than others, and so fool the public into thinking they are “liberal” – which most reporters are, but which the aristocrats who hire them and who own and control these media companies are definitely not. By seeming “liberal,” while actually being conservative, these “mainstream media” cause the public to interpret the news as if the Democratic Party must be worse than it seems, and the Republican Party must be better than it seems. Thus, the outright Republican media, such as Fox “News,” can take advantage effectively by railing against “the liberal media” and drawing the many viewers who think that something more to the right of what they are being offered elsewhere will probably be more “fair and balanced.” A complicated market-positioning game is thus being played with our politics, and also with the crucial government favours that are granted to media conglomerates.
For example, the Roberts family, the owners of Comcast, wanted to buy NBC-Universal including NBC and MSNBC, and Obama’s FCC approved it on 18 January 2011, so those channels are not slanted Republican, and MSNBC is actually slanted Democratic. MSNBC, however, as a Democratic Party mouthpiece, doesn’t need to lie like the Republican Party’s channel, Fox “News,” does, because the facts are overwhelmingly on the side of the Democratic Party, and therefore MSNBC’s slant is merely their censoring out or not reporting on Obama’s bad actions (like his ongoing protections of banksters), whereas Fox’s slant requires them to outright deceive their viewers, which Fox routinely does. Eight separate studies have been performed of people’s knowledge of current events, and of the news-media that they watch, read, or hear; and each of these eight studies shows that Fox “News” viewers are the most misinformed of all. This is because the Republican Party needs to deceive, and to deceive extensively, in order to win votes, since that Party’s actual historical record is terrible.
Be that as it may, the Romney claim that “Since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history” is itself a blatant lie; and anyone who believes it is a fool, because the record on this matter is documented abundantly, and because (as I have documented in “Mitt Romney’s Three Big Lies”) Romney’s entire campaign is fundamentally based upon lies. Such fools as those believers don’t harm the nation if they do not vote, but they collectively wreak havoc on the nation (just as the voters for Herbert Hoover, and for George W. Bush, did) if and when they do go, with those prejudices and that misinformation, into polling places, and actually vote these misconceptions, which have been manipulated upon them by aristocrats. No democracy can survive where the power of money is unrestrained, as it now increasingly is.
This is the situation. This is the reality. It’s not a theory; it’s a frank description of the United States today.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity
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