“What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: “At one point several weeks ago,” Mr. Boehner says, “the president said to me, ‘We don’t have a spending problem.’”
…Under this scenario, federal spending would average 23% of GDP over the next decade — climbing as the decade drew to a close. Not only is that level of spending three percentage points higher than average federal spending from 1987-2007, it represents a sustained level of spending unheard of in US history. The only comparable period outside of World War Two was the 1980s military buildup, when spending averaged 22.7% of GDP from 1981-1986. But at least that budget binge set the stage for lower defense spending in the future. It was temporary.