Published November 24, 2009
President Obama has shattered the budget record for first-year presidents -- spending nearly double what his predecessor did when he came into office and far exceeding the first-year tabs for any other U.S. president in history.
In fiscal 2009 the federal government spent $3.52 trillion -- $2.8 trillion in 2000 dollars, which sets a benchmark for comparison. That fiscal year covered the last three-and-a-half months of George W. Bush's term and the first eight-and-a-half months of Obama's.
That price tag came with a $1.4 trillion deficit, nearly $1 trillion more than last year. The overall budget was about a half-trillion more than Bush's for 2008, his final full fiscal year in office.
That's a big increase. But compared with other presidents' first years in office, Obama is running circles around them.
Bush spent $1.8 trillion in 2001, according to government budget figures that have been adjusted for inflation based on 2000 dollars. Using the same formula, former President Bill Clinton spent $1.6 trillion in 1993.
The last president to clock in under $1 trillion was Gerald Ford, who logged a $982 billion budget in 1975. Post-war Dwight Eisenhower even brought Uncle Sam's tab down to $556 billion in his first year, 1953.
Obama's first-year budget, adjusted for inflation, is about five times that. His 2009 budget is also close to 21 percent of that for Clinton's eight years in office -- Clinton's spending added up to $13.5 trillion over his two full terms. Bush spent $16.8 trillion from 2001-2008.