In fact, in the first nine months of this year, federal spending was $120 billion higher than in the same period in 2010, the data show. That's an increase of almost 5%. And deficits during this time were $23.5 billion higher.
Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, wrote over the summer that "government spending cutbacks have been a large drag on growth in recent quarters and have led to sharp losses in state and local employment."
Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued in September that "the turn toward austerity (is) a major factor in our growth slowdown."