By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
Republicans and the White House are at odds over the administration's claim that President Obama has increased federal spending at the slowest pace in 60 years.
The brouhaha was ignited earlier this week when White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters to "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."
Carney pointed to a column by MarketWatch's Rex Nutting that explained federal spending to its federal spending is rising at its slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end. Nutting claims that government spending under Obama, including his signature stimulus bill, is rising at a 1.4% annualized pace - slower than at any time in nearly 60 years. Obama repeated the column's claims at campaign events on Thursday in Iowa and California.
But Nutting's analysis-as the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler explains it and GOP aides have been highlighting-takes Obama off the hook for much of 2009 spending. The government's fiscal calendar starts on Oct. 1, and remember that in 2009 the U.S. was in the midst of recession and government spending was being ratcheted up.
Kessler also quibbles with Nutting citing Obama plans to spend $3.58 trillion in 2013, citing the Congressional Budget Office budget outlook. Nutting uses the CBO baseline budget, which assumes no laws are changed. Kessler argues the correct figure to use is the CBO analysis for 2013, which predicts $3.72 trillion in spending.
Overall, spending has increased by 5.2% under Obama, Kessler argues, not the 1.4% icnrease that Nutting claims.
It is also worth noting, Kessler argued, in the 2010-2012 budgets Obama proposed spending more than lawmakers eventually enacted.