Throwback Thursday: Budget Edition

Remember this pledge from then-candidate Barack Obama from the 2008 debates? 

So we're going to have to make some investments, but we've also got to make spending cuts. And what I've proposed, you'll hear Senator McCain say, well, he's proposing a whole bunch of new spending, but actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut.

Obama also accused his opponent of wanting to take a hatchet to the budget, while he himself would instead prefer to use a scalpel.

How has that worked out?

  • In 2008, the federal government spent $2.98 trillion. In FY 2015: $3.69 trillion.
  • In 2008, total outlays were 20.2 percent of GDP, exceeding the 20 percent level for the first time since 1995. From 2009 through 2015, annual spending has averaged over 22 percent of GDP.
  • Since 2008, the gross federal debt has swelled from $10 trillion to over $18 trillion. (And by the elections next November, it will likely be near or over $19 trillion.) 
  • Although annual budget deficits have decreased over last few years, the trend will not last.
  • As a percentage of the economy, the total debt has risen from 67.7 percent to 103.6 percent.