Harry Reid: Insufficient Government Spending Hurts U.S. Economy

July 8, 2013 - 4:37 PM
Harry Reid

Sen. Harry Reid (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a press release Friday that insufficient government spending, caused by Republican "austerity policies" is hurting the U.S. economy and preventing a quicker recovery.

“We need to continue advancing policies that spur growth and create jobs," Reid said. "It's time for Republicans to let go of their failed austerity policies that weigh down our economy and prevent a speedier recovery. We simply can't cut our way to prosperity."

During President Barack Obama's first three years in office (2009, 2010, and 2011), according to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the federal government spent 25.2 percent, 24.1 percent, and 24.1 percent of GDP. That level of federal spending was unprecedented during a period when the nation was not in a World War.

During the eight years that George W. Bush was president for example (2001-2008), the federal government spent 18.2 percent, 19.1 percent, 19.7 percent, 19.6 percent, 19.9 percent, 20.1 percent, 19.7 percent, and 20.8 percent of GDP. At no time, during the Bush years, did federal spending hit even as high as 21 percent of GDP.

In 2012, under President Obama, federal spending was 22.8 percent, down from the 24.1 percent the federal government spent in 2011, but still at a very high level. Since World War II, there have been only two years--other than when Obama was president--that the federal government spent more than 22.8 percent of GDP. Those years were 1982 and 1983, when the government spent 23.1 percent and 23.5 percent.

Despite the high level of federal spending during the Obama administration, the U.S. has also experienced an unprecedented stretch of high unemployment. As CNSNews.com recently reported, May was the 54th straight month that the national unemployment rate, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 7.5 percent or higher. Those 54 months began in January 2009, the month Obama was first inaugurated. That is the longest stretch of unemployment at 7.5 percent or higher since BLS started reporting the monthly national unemployment rate in 1948.