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FLASHBACK--Obama’s First Speech to Congress: I Don’t Believe in Bigger Government

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 11, 2016 | 5:28pm EST
President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009. (Screen capture)

Seven years ago in his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama declared that he did not believe in “bigger government.”

“As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President's Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government--I don't--not because I'm not mindful of the massive debt we've inherited--I am,” said Obama in his Feb. 24, 2009 speech to a joint session.

A week before this speech, Obama had signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1), which the Congressional Budget Office estimated at that time would add $787 billion to the deficit.

“Combining both spending and revenue effects, CBO estimates that enacting the conference agreement for H.R. 1 would increase federal budget deficits by $185 billion over the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, by $399 billion in 2010, by $134 billion in 2011, and by $787 billion over the 2009-2019 period,” CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said in a Feb. 13, 2009 letter to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In 2010, Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare.

In fiscal 2008, which was the last full fiscal year before Obama became president, the federal government spent approximately $2,978,664,000,000, according to the U.S. Treasury.

That equals $3,283,485,130,000 in constant 2015 dollars.

In fiscal 2015, according to the Treasury, the federal government spent $3,687,622,000,000 in 2015 dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

During the Obama years, inflation-adjusted annual federal spending has increased by $404,136,870,000—or 12.3 percent.

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