After taking office in 2009, with spending and debt already at record high levels and the deficit headed to $1 trillion, President Obama proceeded to pass his own $830 billion stimulus, auto bailouts, mortgage relief plans, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms and the $1.7 trillion ObamaCare entitlement (which isn’t even accounted for in the chart). While spending did come down in 2010, it wasn’t the result of spending cuts but rather because TARP loans began to be repaid, and that cash was counted against spending.
In 2011 and 2012, the pace of spending was slowed when a new emboldened breed of Republicans took back the House promising to end the binge. The House Budget Committee, headed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, has identified about $150 billion of new spending Mr. Obama wanted in 2011 and 2012 that Republicans would not approve. As the chart shows, government spending as a share of GDP fell, and taxes were not raised. But to attribute this drop in government spending to the president or congressional Democrats would be dishonest.