President Obama shocked us the other day when he said, "Since I've been president, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years." Having heard him champion the "multiplier effects" of deficit-financed stimulus spending, we saw him as an enthusiastic supporter of throwing other people's money at just about any problem.
Thus began our quest to see where we had strayed from the straight and narrow. Here's the picture.
In the chart nearby we've plotted federal government spending on a National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) basis as a share of total U.S. GDP from 1990 to the present. The NIPA numbers are used here as opposed to appropriations or outlays to capture the actual periods when production occurs. The stories the chart tells are amazing.