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Three Pinocchios For Carney’s BS

RNC Communications - May 25, 2012

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters to “not buy into the BS” concerning Obama’s record of reckless spending and touted a column by Rex Nutting at MarketWatch which claimed that Obama has increased federal spending at the slowest pace in 60 years. Obama repeated the column’s claims at campaign events on Thursday in Iowa and California.  After Carney urged the press to “check it out,” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker did and found deep flaws in Nutting’s methodology. Carney’s spin earned Three Pinocchios and reaffirmed that Obama’s spending has reached the highest levels since World War II.

President Obama Claimed “Since I’ve Been President, Federal Spending Has Actually Risen At The Lowest Pace In Nearly 60 Years.” OBAMA: “My opponents won’t admit it because it runs contrary to, I guess, the only argument they have -- but since I’ve been President, federal spending has actually risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years.” (President Obama, Remarks By The President At A Campaign Event, Redwood City, CA, 5/24/12)

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker: Three Pinocchios For Obama’s Claims On Federal Spending

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker: “Carney suggested the media were guilty of ‘sloth and laziness,’ but he might do better next time than cite an article he plucked off the Web, no matter how much it might advance his political interests.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)

  •  “First Of All, There Are A Few Methodological Problems With Nutting’s Analysis — Especially The Beginning And The End Point.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)
  • “The Data In The Article Are Flawed, And The Analysis Lacks Context — Context That Could Easily Could Be Found In The Budget Documents Released By The White House.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)
  • “The Picture Is Not As Rosy As He Portrayed It When Accurate Numbers, Taken In Context, Are Used.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)
  • See A Rundown Of The Problems In Nutting’s Analysis At Political Math Blog.

Every Year In Office, Obama Has Wanted To Spend More Money Than Congress Would Allow. “So in every case, the president wanted to spend more money than he ended up getting. Nutting suggests that federal spending flattened under Obama, but another way to look at it is that it flattened at a much higher, post-emergency level — thanks in part to the efforts of lawmakers, not Obama.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)

  • Obama Signed Most Of The Appropriations And The Stimulus For FY2009. “In theory, one could claim that the budget was already locked in when Obama took office, but that’s not really the case. Most of the appropriations bills had not been passed, and certainly the stimulus bill was only signed into law after Obama took office.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)
  • “At 5.2 Percent Growth, Obama’s Increase In Spending Would Be Nearly Three Times The Rate Of Inflation.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)

Obama’s Spending “Has Hit Highs Not Seen Since The End Of World War II — Completely The Opposite Of The Point Asserted By Carney.” “In the post-war era, federal spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy has hovered around 20 percent, give or take a couple of percentage points. Under Obama, it has hit highs not seen since the end of World War II — completely the opposite of the point asserted by Carney. Part of this, of course, is a consequence of the recession, but it is also the result of a sustained higher level of spending.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Facts About The Growth Of Spending Under Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/25/12)

Obama’s Spending Is Well Above Historical Norms

Federal Outlays Have Increased By 20.4 Percent Since Obama Took Office. The federal government spent $3.1 trillion in FY2008 in inflation adjusted dollars. Under Obama, in FY2012 the federal government spent $3.8 trillion dollars. (“Table 1.3 – Summary Of Receipts, Outlays And Surpluses Or Deficits In Current Dollars, Constant (FY2005) Dollars, And As Percentages Of GDP: 1940-2016,” Office Of Management And Budget, Accessed 5/16/12; “Budget Of The United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013,” Office Of Management And Budget, 2/13/12)

  • Obama Proposed FY2013 Budget Calls For Increasing Government Spending Well Above Historical Norms. From 1969 To 2008 The Federal Government Spent An Average Of 20.6 Percent Of GDP, Obama’s Proposed FY2013 Budget Calls For Spending 22.8 Percent Of GDP By FY2022. (“Table 1.2 – Summary Of Receipts, Outlays And Surpluses Or Deficits As Percentages Of GDP: 1930-2016,” Office Of Management And Budget, Accessed 5/16/12; “Budget Of The United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013,” Office Of Management And Budget, 2/13/12)
  • Since President Obama Took Office, The Federal Government’s Workforce, Excluding The Postal Service, Has Increased 6.8 Percent, Adding 140,700 Jobs. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 5/8/12)

“Government Spending As A Share Of The Economy Has Hovered Around 24% During The Obama Administration…Elevated From The Historical Average Of 20.7% Over The Past 40 Years.” “Government spending as a share of the economy has hovered around 24% during the Obama administration, several percentage points higher than under President Bush, according to Congressional Budget Office data. It's also elevated from the historical average of 20.7% over the past 40 years.” (Tami Luhby, “Did Obama Really Make Government Bigger?” CNN Money, 1/25/12)

  • Once In Power, “The White House And The Pelosi Congress Then Blew Out The American Government Balance Sheet.” “In the name of saving the economy from panic, the White House and the Pelosi Congress then blew out the American government balance sheet. They compounded the problem of excessive private debt by adding unsustainable public debt. They boosted federal spending to 25% of GDP in 2009, 23.8% in 2010 (as TARP repayments provided a temporary reduction in overall spending), and back nearly to 25% this fiscal year. Meanwhile, debt to GDP climbed to 53.5% in 2009, 62.2% in 2010, and is estimated to hit 72% this year—and to keep rising. These are all figures from Mr. Obama's own budget office.” (Editorial, “America Gets Downgraded,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/8/11)

Obama Has Racked Up Three Record Deficits And Is Set For A Fourth

President Obama Has Racked Up The Three Largest Deficits In U.S. History. “The U.S budget deficit for fiscal year 2011 is $1.299 trillion, the second largest shortfall in history. The nation only ran a larger deficit for the 2009 fiscal year, which included the dramatic collapse of financial markets and a huge bailout effort by the government.”(Erik Wasson, “Treasury Announces 2011 Deficit Is Second Highest In History,” The Hill’s "On The Money", 10/14/11)

  • FY2009: The Federal Budget Deficit Was $1.413 Trillion, The Highest In U.S. History. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2011: The Federal Budget Deficit Was $1.299 Trillion, The Second Highest In U.S. History. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2010: The Federal Budget Deficit Was $1.294 Trillion, The Third Highest In U.S. History. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)

“Obama's Spending Blueprint For The Budget Year That Begins Oct. 1 Projects A Deficit For This Year Of $1.33 Trillion. That Would Mean Four Straight Years Of Trillion-Dollar-Plus Deficits.” (Martin Crutsinger, “The Fight Begins: Obama’s Budget Going To Congress,” The Associated Press, 2/12/12)

“Obama Is The Undisputed Debt King Of The Last Five Presidents”

Politifact: “Obama Is The Undisputed Debt King Of The Last Five Presidents.” “So by this measurement -- potentially a more important one -- Obama is the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents, rather than the guy who added a piddling amount to the debt, as Pelosi’s chart suggested.” (Louis Jacobson, “Nancy Pelosi Posts Questionable Chart On Debt Accumulation By Barack Obama, Predecessors,” Politifact, 5/19/11)

  • Congressional Budget Office: “The Amount Of Federal Debt Held By The Public Has Skyrocketed In The Past Few Years …” “The amount of federal debt held by the public has skyrocketed in the past few years, rising from 40 percent of GDP at the end of 2008 to reach an estimated 67 percent by the end of this year.” (“The Budget And Economic Outlook: An Update,” Congressional Budget Office, 8/24/11)
  • The Washington Post’s Fact Checker: “[Obama’s] Record On The Growth Of National Debt Is The Worst Of Recent Presidents.” “But the fact remains that under basic economic measures, not phony ones, his record on the growth of the national debt is the worst of recent presidents.” (Glenn Kessler, “A Bogus Chart On Obama And The Debt Gets A New Lease On Life,” The Washington Post's "The Fact Checker", 9/29/11)

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