The below chart, via Buttonwood of The Economist, compares the growth of total government employment during the first four years of the past five presidencies. If Obama is a big government liberal, then what does that make Reagan?
Less government under Obama is mostly a story less teachers and cops at the state and local level -- but it isn't that entirely. As Buttonwood points out, Obama has only added 16,000 federal government jobs. Reagan added 192,000 over two terms.
But what about the spending? We do have record-setting peacetime deficits. Well, those are the result of the rotten economy rather than redistribution gone wild. Tax revenues have dried up and safety net spending has surged due to the Great Recession.
The chart below looks at safety net spending -- unemployment insurance, food stamps, and Medicaid -- as a percent of GDP, going back to 1980.
Safety net spending has shot up roughly 50 percent since 2007. In other words, a good bit of Obama's spending hasn't been a choice. It's been automatic.
None of this is what socialism looks like. This is what America looks like when there aren't enough jobs.
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