For example, suppose that President Bush had spent $1 trillion in his last year, and that President Obama had spent $10 trillion in each of his first three years, finishing off his term with $1 trillion in the fourth year. Nutting’s study would simply compare Bush’s final year ($1 trillion) with Obama’s final year ($1 trillion) and conclude that Obama increased spending by 0% — ignoring the three years of $10-trillion spending in between.
But it gets worse. Nutting takes a given president’s first budget and gives it to his predecessor. For example, Fiscal Year 2009 began October 1, 2008, when George Bush was still president, and ended September 30, 2009, by which time Obama had been in office eight months. Nutting credits FY 2009 to Bush, since he began that year’s budget, even though it was the Pelosi/Reid Congress that loaded it with appropriations and stimulus bills and put them on Obama’s desk to be signed into law.