Let’s get something straight from the off. Obama is not a socialist, neither in words or in deeds. These are an empirical facts.
However, for many people, there is a gut feeling that he is.
However, Derek Thompson of the Atlantic has compiled a few handy graphs which unequivocally show that not to be the case.
Measuring per capita growth in government spending for the last seven presidents’ first term in office we find the following:
As Mr. Thomson points out:
For all the talk you hear about Obama’s historic spree, government spending actually hasn’t increased so dramatically under this president. The stimulus was big, but it’s over. It’s been replaced by, if not austerity (which has struck our states and cities) then a hard correction to the center.
In fact, President Obama has presided over one of the “greatest periods of government austerity in recent memory”. Total government employment - that’s federal, state, and local — has indeed fallen by the sharpest annual rate since the 1940s. It’s now at 2006 levels and declining:
Total government spending has fallen by the sharpest rate since the 1970s. It is now at 2008 levels and declining:
At the same time “federal spending (which has grown every year since then 1960s) is increasing at its slowest pace in half a century, and federal employment is in true decline”:
But wait, you might reply!
What about my taxes! Obama is taking more than ever before!
Well, actually, no he isn’t. In fact:
“The tax burden on middle-class Americans has decreased during Obama’s presidency. More than one-third of the 2009 stimulus bill consisted of tax cuts, including expanded tax credits for workers, people with children, college students, homebuyers, and the unemployed. In 2010, Obama proposed and Congress accepted a substantial temporary reduction in the payroll tax, which was recently extended through 2012. Meanwhile, the Bush-era income tax cuts were also extended through 2012.”
This will of course not end the myth, or the hysterical calls that President Obama is a stealthy Marxist loon hell-bent on turning America into the Soviet Union or North Korea.
But it is important to remember that, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts.”
The plunging green line tracks change in nondefense state and local spending since Obama took office: