Chart: Obama’s austerity problem

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Brian Beutler explains President Obama’s austerity problem:

Where the federal government stepped up to prevent states and municipalities from laying off teachers and other government workers in previous recessions, it’s fallen on its face under Obama. More broadly, government spending at all levels rose steadily under Presidents Reagan and both Bushes, but was mostly flat under Clinton and has gone negative under Obama. How does this phenomenon contribute to current economic woes? It’s impossible to know for sure. But if like the Wall Street Journal you imagine that the massive government job losses in Obama’s first term had never happened, then, all else equal, the unemployment rate right now would be down near 7 percent, a full percentage point below where it actually is.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.