Despite the bothersome talking points of the Republican Party pundits and conservatives editorialists, President Obama is not a socialist with a failing economic plan of the most far-left variety. There has, in reality, been only minor variance with the economic policies employed by past administrations.

Like his predecessors, from President George W. Bush to President Ronald Reagan, the Commander-in-Chief has employed a rather conservative economic plan — basic Keynesianism.

It is a matter of fact that in our American two-party system, as John Cassidy of The New Yorker writes, “The real policy debate isn’t about Keynesianism versus the free market, it is about magnitudes and techniques: How much stimulus is necessary? And how should it be divided between government spending and tax cuts?”

When the economy hesitates and consumer-spending declines, government forces supplementary demand into the economy with a spend-then-tax policy. It offsets the decline in private spending with an increase in public spending.

The early 1980s saw President Reagan doing precisely this by increasing defense spending while simultaneously cutting taxes. In the first years of the new millennium, President W. Bush also utilized this method when he entered a couple of wars and launched extensive tax cuts.

In early 2009, President Obama introduced his stimulus. It’s important to note that the $800 billion stimulus program known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was smaller than many Keynesian economists suggested. According to Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the then chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, Christina Romer, initially advocated a $1.8 trillion deal.

The stimulus package accounted for 1.1 percent of GDP in 2009, 2.4 percent in 2010 and 1.2 percent in 2011. Cassidy continues, “So far, some $750 billion in stimulus money has been paid out: about $300 billion went to tax breaks for individuals and firms; roughly $235 billion was dispersed in the form of government contracts, grants and loans and another $225 billion was spent on entitlements — unemployment benefits, Medicaid, food stamps and so on.”

Nothing catastrophic. No draconian changes. Just good, old-fashioned, Keynesian, free-market economics.

Chase Wilson is a UCSB alumnus who majored in political science.