A common excuse from liberals over the past year or so for the complete and utter failure of Obamanomics to create jobs and revive the economy has been blaming the House Republicans, which hold a grand total of half of Congress, for imposing harsh austerity provisions on the Federal government, which in their minds, has restricted federal spending, and therefore, decrease the rate of growth.
A July article in USA Today, for example, claimed that “Already in 2011, softer government spending has sapped growth.”
Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, wrote over the summer that “government spending cutbacks have been a large drag on growth in recent quarters and have led to sharp losses in state and local employment.”
Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued in September that “the turn toward austerity (is) a major factor in our growth slowdown.”
As usual, this liberal claim is completely unfounded by the facts. $15 Trillion in debt, no significant cuts in sight, and the Democrats are whining about austerity. It is a mad, mad world.
The Federal government, in the first 9 months of calendar year 2011, spent approximately $120 billion more than in 2010. That is right…spending has increased since Republicans took power. Deficit spending, which was supposed to be restrained, is $23.5 Billion higher. Even for the last fiscal year, ending on September 30th, the Federal government spent $3.6 Trillion…or more than the $3.52 Trillion that was spent in 2009, in the zenith of the financial crisis.
More over, liberals have claimed that the halting of Federal stimulus has decreased state government spending. That too is false. Overall state funding is expected to grow by 5.2% in 2011, and another 2.6% in 2012. So even on the state level, there is no austerity.
A third and final claim by liberals when ever Republicans slow spending is that the rate of increase of spending does not keep up with inflation, and thus is an imaginary cut. Even this does not hold true. The inflation rate using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 1.6% in 2010, and for 2011 is averaging around 3%. This is still lower than the 5% growth of spending. We are still increasing spending at a rate greater than inflation. http://www.cnbc.com/id/44942965
So virtually every liberal complaint linking Republican policies to the failure of Obama’s economic plans is a fallacy.
Now, this is a double edged sword. This shows that House Republicans attempts to restrain federal spending has largely failed. This should surprise no one, considering that we need the agreement of Senate Democrats as well as President Obama to pass anything. And those two entities do not support fiscal responsibility at all. And with the supercommittee completely abdicating its role in fiscal restraint, it does show us one simple reality: without holding the Senate and the White House, our dream of fiscal sanity in Washington, D.C. is a prayer in the wind.