I'm Swinging Around to the Belief that the Reappointment of Ben Bernanke Was Barack Obama's Biggest Unforced Error
Ta-Nehisi Coates Appeals for Help...

Paul Krugman vs. John Taylor

I score this one 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 for Paul Krugman. Barack Obama has not shifted the course of the American government to produce markedly bigger spending and bigger deficits in the long run.

Paul Krugman:

2021 and All That: Taylor... claimed that there had been a huge expansion in government under Obama; I pointed out that about half the rise in the ratio of spending to GDP reflected low GDP, not high spending, and that the other half was basically safety net programs.... Taylor now claims that Obama must have expanded government, because his budget projected spending of 24 percent of GDP in 2021, up from 19.6 percent in 2007, before the crisis struck. But the great bulk of this projected rise has nothing whatsoever to do with Obama’s policies.

Let’s compare the CBO projections for 2021(pdf) with the historical data (pdf) for 2007. The projections shows spending rising from 19.6 percent of GDP to 24 percent.... So, Social Security is up. That has nothing to do with Obama, who hasn’t changed the program at all; it’s just demography, the baby boomers retiring. Medicare is also up. Obama actually cut funds from Medicare, a fact trumpeted by Republicans. Nonetheless, projected spending is up, both because of demography and because of rising health costs. Medicaid is up. Some of that is due to the expansion in the Affordable Care Act, but much of it is just more demography — most Medicaid funds are spent on the elderly and disabled — plus health care costs. And net interest is up because of recent and current deficits, largely the result of the Great Recession....

The whole reason we’ve been having a debate about entitlements is that spending on those programs was projected to rise dramatically even under pre-Obama policies; the fact that they’re still projected to rise says nothing about what Obama did...

Of course, George W. Bush--whom Taylor worked for--did shift the course of the American government to produce markedly bigger spending and bigger deficits in the long run. And I have never found anyone to claim that Taylor uttered a peep of complaint about these policies while in the Bush administration.