In March 2009, at a time when President Obama was basking in the glow of the honeymoon with the public every new president enjoys, I asked, “Will Barack Obama be a one-term president?” What prompted me to pose so impertinent a question at so hopeful a time was that the Office of Management and Budget was projecting that that year the federal government would spend 28% of gross domestic product (GDP). This amounted to a 7% point increase compared to the previous year, the largest peacetime one-year jump since 1930. The most recent estimate for 2012 is that federal outlays will take up 24.3% of GDP, up 3.5% points since 2008. This is the second-largest peacetime increase from one election year to the next since 1880, edged out only by Franklin D. Roosevelt's first-term surge of 3.6% points.
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