President Obama bragged during his Tuesday speech in Phoenix, Arizona, that “Our deficits are coming down at the fastest rate in 60 years.”
And it is true: deficits as a percentage of gross domestic product are falling faster under Obama than they have at any point since the end of World War II.
However, when the federal government’s deficit fell from 30.3 percent of GDP in 1943 to a 4.6 percent surplus in 1948, the change was almost entirely due to deep spending cuts. In 1943, federal government spending made up 43.6 percent of the economy. By 1948, that spending sunk like a rock to 11.6 percent. And yet, despite forecasts of economic doom by Keynesian economists, the U.S. economy boomed after WWII. Taxes actually fell during this period too, from 20.9 percent of GDP in 1944 to 16.2 percent in 1948.
Fast forward more than 60 years to today, and taxes are rising faster now under Obama than they have under any other president since WWII.
When President Truman came into office in 1945, federal taxes were 20.4 percent of the U.S. economy. When he left office in 1953 they made up just 18.7 percent.
President Eisenhower then lowered taxes even further to 17.8 percent by 1961, and President Kennedy lowered them further still to 17.6 percent.
President Johnson then raised taxes for his wars on Vietnam and poverty to 19.7 percent.
President Nixon then cut taxes to 17.9 percent by 1975, before President Ford raised them t0 18.5 by 1977.
President Carter, of course, raised taxes even further to 19.6 percent, before President Reagan cut them to 18.4 percent and President Bush cut them to 17.5 percent.
President Clinton then raised taxes to 19.5 percent of GDP by 2001 before President Bush cut them to 17.6 percent in 2008. The financial crisis then sunk the economy lowering tax collection to a post-WWII low of 15.1 percent.
President Obama’s many tax hikes will send taxes as a percentage of GDP as high as 19.3 percent in 2015, before falling to 18.9 percent in 2017.
From 2009 to 2017, taxes as a percentage of GDP will have risen 3.8 points, a larger tax hike than any other American president since WWII.
Is it any wonder that the Obama recovery has also been the weakest recovery since WWII?