Federal Spending, Taxes, and Deficits Are Lower Today Than When Obama Took Office

Michael Linden presents this clever, smart graph that shows spending, taxes, and the deficit all lower today, as a share of GDP, than in Obama's first year:
Screen Shot 2012-05-16 at 12.36.09 PM.png

This is an inconvenient truth. It is inconvenient for Mitt Romney that spending, taxes, and the deficit are all lower today than when President Obama took office.

It is inconvenient for liberals (not to mention, really inconvenient for the unemployed) that we've been overly aggressive in paring down our deficits even with high unemployment and huge cuts to state and local government.

It is inconvenient to tax reformers seeking to raise revenue, since Obama has compounded the extension of the Bush tax cuts with yet more tax credits and a payroll tax cut.

And, if you buy what Keynesianism is selling, it is inconvenient to the White House that the deficit has shrunk, since with higher budget deficits, the economy would be stronger today if more under-utilized capacity in the private sector had been activated by government spending.

The White House hasn't been shy to point out that government and taxes as a share of the economy have shrunk under Obama. The big question is: For whom is that fact most inconvenient?
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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