President Obama has shelled out more in federal spending than the five presidents that came before him.
A new chart by the Comeback America Initiative (CAI), a non-partisan group dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility by policymakers, shows federal spending by president as a percentage of GDP, and it doesn't reflect well on Obama.
"There has been a dramatic increase in spending under the Obama administration," David Walker, Founder and CEO of CAI, told Whispers. "Most of it is attributable to year one of his presidency and the stimulus... but President Obama has continued to take spending to a new level."
Federal spending was close to 20 percent under the Carter administration, dropped to 18 percent under Clinton, and is currently at an incredible 24 percent of GDP. According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal spending may hover around 22 percent for the next decade.
Federal spending is also higher this year than any year since 1949. The last time spending was higher—in 1946, it was 24.8—the country was just coming down from the exorbitant rates of spending during World War II.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he would cut federal spending down to just 17 percent of GDP.
President Obama is facing some heat over the economy Friday after a depressing job report showed the jobless rate climbed to 8.2 percent in May.
Update, Friday, 5:19 p.m.:
Some readers have pointed out that although Obama passed the stimulus plan, federal spending under his administration has risen at a very slow pace -- the slowest pace, in fact, "since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950's," Marketwatch reported last month.
Update, Monday, 9:47 a.m.:
The Washington Post's FactChecker, however, gave the Marketwatch article "3 pinocchios" for its veracity, writing: "We are talking about the federal budget here. That means lots of numbers -- numbers that are easily manipulated." Factchecker points out some of the methodological issues in Marketwatch's analysis. Read more about them here.
Bottom line: This is a complex debate. Federal spending as a percentage of GDP is not necessarily the best way to reflect a president's spending -- it's just one of them.
View the federal spending chart in a larger size here.