Amid a White House claim that federal spending grew at the slowest rate in 60 years under President Obama, the relationship between government outlays and economic growth was being debated.
Art Laffer, chairman of Laffer Associates, criticized Obama for being just as bad as his predecessor.
“Frankly, he’s no different than George W. Bush. They both ruined the economy, in my mind,” he said on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.” “It’s not liberal or conservative, left-wing or right-wing, it’s economic policies, and spending is the problem.”
Laffer co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed article taking Obama and Bush to task for federal spending.
“Sadly for fiscal conservatives, the biggest surge in government spending came during the last two years of President George W. Bush's eight years in office (2007-2008),” he wrote. “A weakened Republican president dealing with a strident Democratic Congress, led by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, resulted in an orgy of spending.”
Laffer saved his praise for President Bill Clinton, who was “great on spending,” adding that he cut spending as a percentage of GDP from 23.5 percent to 19.5 percent.
“It was a great period, and I think he was a great president,” he said.
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner and author of “The Price of Inequality,” pointed out one flaw in the argument linking spending and growth.