We rarely get to vote for the perfect candidate for president. Every candidate has some flaw. But, even if that perfect candidate appeared, he or she would still have to answer to the party to which they belong. That candidate’s policies would likely look much like the policies espoused in the past by that party. So, if one decided that total government spending, federal, state and local, were important, then you would want to know the historical performance of that party when it controlled the office in question. In this case, the presidency. Mark Sadowski, a frequent commenter on Mark Thoma’s blog put a chart together for us. It looks at total government spending under each of the last 7 presidents. It adjusts for population growth.
If you are concerned about total government spending, and you do not want it to increase, you should probably want to avoid a GOP president. Those interested can verify numbers at Table 15.2 for spending numbers. For population numbers, use Google.