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.