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The imaginary spending surge, redux

Kevin Drum/Mother Jones

We talked yesterday about how demonstrably wrong Republicans are when they accuse President Obama of dramatically increasing government spending. The chart showing government expenditures over the last half-century tell an important tale.

Kevin Drum did a nice job taking this one step further, publishing a chart that breaks this down by president over the last 20 years.

Kevin Drum/Mother Jones

Those who continue to believe Republicans support fiscal restraint while Obama supports out-of-control government spending just aren't paying close enough attention. As Kevin added, "What we have isn't a spending problem. That's under control. What we have is a problem with Republicans not wanting to pay the bills they themselves were largely responsible for running up."

Paul Krugman had some related thoughts on this yesterday -- including some additional charts -- noting that spending levels sometimes appear exaggerated when GDP growth slows and mandatory spending programs grow.

The bottom line remains the same: federal spending in recent years has reached the "slowest pace since 1953-56, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president."