‘We Have Made Historic Strides … to Cut Wasteful Spending,’ Obama Says, While Presiding Over Two Biggest Federal Budgets in 65 Years

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 1, 2010 | 11:28 PM EST

(CNSNews.com) - In his budget message to Congress Monday, President Barack Obama said, “Already, we have made historic strides … to cut wasteful spending.”  He made the comment while presenting a budget proposal that for the second year in a row would fix federal spending at a percentage of Gross Domestic Product that is higher than at any time in the past 65 years.

In both fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011, Obama’s budgets would have the federal government spend more than a quarter of the all the wealth produced by the nation in that year.

No president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has consumed such a large a share of the nation’s wealth through federal spending—and FDR did it in the midst of World War II.

According to the historical tables that the White House released with President Obama’s budget yesterday, the federal government will spend 25.4 percent of GDP in fiscal 2010, the federal budget year that will end on September 30. Under the new budget that Obama is proposing for fiscal year 2011, the federal government will spend 25.1 percent of GDP in fiscal 2011, which begins on October 1.

Both of these budgets fall wholly within Obama’s term of office and would be approved by a Democratic Party that controls both houses of Congress.

By comparison, in fiscal 2002 and fiscal 2003, the first two years in which President George W. Bush presented budgets to Congress, federal spending ended up being 19.1 percent and 19.7 percent of GDP, respectively.
In the first two Obama budgets, spending has averaged 25.25 percent of GDP. In the first two Bush budgets, spending averaged  19.4 percent of GDP. That means that Obama, so far, is spending 30 percent more of GDP per year than Bush.

In 2008, Bush’s final full year in office, federal spending was 20.7 percent of GDP.  According to the budget projections released by the White House on Monday, federal spending will be 23.2 percent of GDP in 2012, the lowest rate for any of the four years of President Obama’s term.  As the White House now calculates it,
Obama will easily be the biggest spending president since World War II.

By comparison, FDR spent only 10.7 percent and 9.2 percent of GDP in 1934 and 1935, his second and third years of office, during the Great Depression. 

This year, Obama will spend almost three times as much of the national wealth as FDR did in 1935.