I think that this may be a little to easy on the administration. Still when you think of the widely asserted spending explosion, how many major new social programs can you really think of?
…The Obama stimulus didn’t contain a lot of public works — and those works, such as they are, have only partially come on line. Meanwhile, aid to state and local governments wasn’t enough to prevent substantial cuts. So by this measure, government spending has gone nowhere.
Now, the picture looks a little different if you look at all government spending, a number that includes Social Security, Medicare, and other transfer payments:
This has gone up — but why? There haven’t been any large new social programs — health reform, which actually isn’t that big anyway, won’t start spending in earnest until 2014. As best as I can tell, the main cause of the rise in total spending is a surge in spending on safety net programs, which are spending more because more people are in distress. Unemployment insurance alone seems to account for almost half the rise:
The bottom line is that notions of a vastly expanding [SIC] government are highly overblown.
The New Republic – Jonathan Chait Feed
via What Spending Surge?.