Republicans say he is, and Democrats say he isn’t. And they both use numbers and past presidents’ records to make their point.
Trouble is, “you can make the numbers tell you what you want if you torture them enough,” said Rudolph Penner, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Here’s what we know about spending and deficits during the Obama administration: They started climbing sharply in late 2008, even before he took office, and have remained high since.
In fact, both spending and debt have been far above their historical norms as a percent of GDP. Revenue, meanwhile, has been treading near 60-year lows.
But those numbers alone don’t fully address the question. The context matters. Among the factors to consider: