Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oh, my: even the Associated Press mocks Obama's deficit hawk claims

When you're running a Democrat campaign and you've lost the Associated Press in one of their so-called 'fact checks', you know you've got big, big troubles. Someone in the Axelrod household woke up extra-cranky this morning.

FACT CHECK: Obama off on thrifty spending claim

Associated Press

...The problem with [Obama's] rosy claim is that the Wall Street bailout is part of the calculation. The bailout ballooned the 2009 budget just before Obama took office, making Obama's 2010 results look smaller in comparison. And as almost $150 billion of the bailout was paid back during Obama's watch, the analysis counted them as government spending cuts.

It also assumes Obama had less of a role setting the budget for 2009 than he really did.

Obama rests his claim on an analysis by MarketWatch, a financial information and news service owned by Dow Jones & Co. The analysis simply looks at the year-to-year topline spending number for the government but doesn't account for distortions baked into the figures by the Wall Street bailout and government takeover of the mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

...Taken together, TARP and the takeover of Fannie and Freddie combine to give Obama an undeserved $317 billion swing in the 2010 figures and the resulting 1.8 percent cut from 2009. A fairer reading is an almost 8 percent increase.

...There's also the question of how to treat the 2009 fiscal year, which actually began Oct. 1, 2008, almost four months before Obama took office. Typically, the remaining eight months get counted as part of the prior president's spending since the incoming president usually doesn't change it much until the following October. The MarketWatch analysis assigned 2009 to former President George W. Bush, though it gave Obama responsibility that year for a $140 million chunk of the 2009 stimulus bill.

But Obama's role in 2009 spending was much bigger than that. For starters, he signed nine spending bills funding every Cabinet agency except Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. While the numbers don't jibe exactly, Obama bears the chief responsibility for an 11 percent, $59 billion increase in non-defense spending in 2009. Then there's a 9 percent, $109 billion increase in combined defense and non-defense appropriated outlays in 2010, a year for which Obama is wholly responsible.

...If one assumes that TARP and the takeover of Fannie and Freddie by the government as one-time budgetary anomalies and remove them from calculations - an approach taken by Holtz-Eakin - you get the following picture:

-A 9.7 percent increase in 2009, much of which is attributable to Obama.

-A 7.8 percent increase in 2010, followed by slower spending growth over 2011-13. Much of the slower growth reflects the influence of Republicans retaking control of the House and their budget and debt deal last summer with Obama. All told, government spending now appears to be growing at an annual rate of roughly 3 percent over the 2010-2013 period, rather than the 0.4 percent claimed by Obama and the MarketWatch analysis.

That's not even counting the catastrophic deficits Obama rang up.

The only people who believed Obama's claim to be a deficit hawk -- after signing the Stimulus bill and driving more deficit spending than all previous presidents combined -- are either morons or just not paying attention. In the former case, we're talking about the hard-core members of the Democrat base anyhow. There's nothing that can sway the stupid, except maybe Flowers for Algernon-style medication and electroshock therapy.

Kinda like the lady who had her mortgage and car loans paid off by President Obama after the 2008 election.

Related: The Five Charts You Must Show Every Undecided Voter You Know.


J.P. Travis said...

I still say the only way to look at federal spending is to look at who controls COngress, not who controls the White House. I charted the former ( using total U.S. debt - not the ridiculous and politically-charged official "deficit" - and the results are clear: the deficit balloons under Democrats and shrinks under Republicans. Yes, Obama made it extra easy for Democrats to overspend, and yes, a Republican president might have been able to use the veto threat to hold the line more, but Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were going to do what they did no matter who was in the White House.

Anonymous said...

>>The MarketWatch analysis assigned 2009 to former President George W. Bush,

It is important to note that (concerning the "temp. TARP) Bush Admin applied exec-pay limits 2 participating firms. Obama officials reversed & lifted curbs before unveiling...