Figure 1 shows the average increase in total spending under recent presidents. Bush II was the biggest spender since LBJ. His spending increases were far larger than the three prior presidents.
Of course, presidents share spending power with Congress and it is easier for presidents to control discretionary spending than entitlement spending. Nonetheless, the results in these charts reflect the general spending approach taken by the presidents quite well. For example, Bush II was instrumental in adding the Medicare drug benefit, which by 2009 was adding more than $60 billion a year to federal spending.