Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FACT CHECK: Obama disowns deficit he helped shape

WASHINGTON (AP) - "That wasn't me," President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.

It actually was him - and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years - who shaped a budget so out of balance.

And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.

Obama met citizens at an Arnold, Mo., high school Wednesday in advance of his prime-time news conference. Both forums were a platform to review his progress at the 100-day mark and look ahead.

At various times, he brought an air of certainty to ambitions that are far from cast in stone.

His assertion that his proposed budget "will cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term" is an eyeball-roller among many economists, given the uncharted terrain of trillion-dollar deficits and economic calamity that the government is negotiating.

He promised vast savings from increased spending on preventive health care in the face of doubts that such an effort, however laudable it might be for public welfare, can pay for itself, let alone yield huge savings.

A look at some of his claims Wednesday:

OBAMA: "Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.... That wasn't me. Number two, there is almost uniform consensus among economists that in the middle of the biggest crisis, financial crisis, since the Great Depression, we had to take extraordinary steps. So you've got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package and we had to do something about the banks. Those are one-time charges, and they're big, and they'll make our deficits go up over the next two years." - in Missouri.


Congress controls the purse strings, not the president, and it was under Democratic control for Obama's last two years as Illinois senator. Obama supported the emergency bailout package in President George W. Bush's final months - a package Democratic leaders wanted to make bigger.

To be sure, Obama opposed the Iraq war, a drain on federal coffers for six years before he became president. But with one major exception, he voted in support of Iraq war spending.

The economy has worsened under Obama, though from forces surely in play before he became president, and he can credibly claim to have inherited a grim situation.

Still, his response to the crisis goes well beyond "one-time charges."

He's persuaded Congress to expand children's health insurance, education spending, health information technology and more. He's moving ahead on a variety of big-ticket items on health care, the environment, energy and transportation that, if achieved, will be more enduring than bank bailouts and aid for homeowners.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated his policy proposals would add a net $428 billion to the deficit over four years, even accounting for his spending reduction goals. Now, the deficit is nearly quadrupling to $1.75 trillion.


OBAMA: "I think one basic principle that we know is that the more we do on the (disease) prevention side, the more we can obtain serious savings down the road. ... If we're making those investments, we will save huge amounts of money in the long term." - in Missouri.

THE FACTS: It sounds believable that preventing illness should be cheaper than treating it, and indeed that's the case with steps like preventing smoking and improving diets and exercise. But during the 2008 campaign, when Obama and other presidential candidates were touting a focus on preventive care, the New England Journal of Medicine cautioned that "sweeping statements about the cost-saving potential of prevention, however, are overreaching." It said that "although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not."

And a study released in December by the Congressional Budget Office found that increasing preventive care "could improve people's health but would probably generate either modest reductions in the overall costs of health care or increases in such spending within a 10-year budgetary time frame."


OBAMA: "You could cut (Social Security) benefits. You could raise the tax on everybody so everybody's payroll tax goes up a little bit. Or you can do what I think is probably the best solution, which is you can raise the cap on the payroll tax." - in Missouri.

THE FACTS: Obama's proposal would reduce the Social Security trust fund's deficit by less than half, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

That means he would still have to cut benefits, raise the payroll tax rate, raise the retirement age or some combination to deal with the program's long-term imbalance.

Workers currently pay 6.2 percent and their employers pay an equal rate - for a total of 12.4 percent - on annual wages of up to $106,800, after which no more payroll tax is collected.

Obama wants workers making more than $250,000 to pay payroll tax on their income over that amount. That would still protect workers making under $250,000 from an additional burden. But it would raise much less money than removing the cap completely.


It's so lame it actually hard to believe people that eat that shit up. Not only did he vote for all the spending, he's now criticizing, he's spending more....

That Bush spent too much, so we are now going to triple it.


Blogger tom said...

How much debt did the Bush administation lay on us, was it 1.3 trillion? and was this because he told you we could wage war (rightous in Afghanistan) with OUT PAYING FOR IT? How do you do that?
or how about no bid contracts for war profiteers? You know in WW1 and WW2 the folks who made obscene profits off of War were investigated and made to pay for their criminal acts (see Truman and the committees he chaired to investigate the war profiteers) this was to get the Taxpayer a fair deal for the things we bought to prosecute the war in Europe and Asia.
If you think we are taxed too much, look again at the tax rates, and ask yourself, how much does it cost to maintain a Division in say Afghanistan, or a Carrier Group in the Indian Ocean, and if we don't pay taxes, or if corporations don't pay taxes who will pay for the body armor, or the meds the troops need. You can't run a war or a Democracy with out DEBT (remember Dick Cheney said "Regan taught us deficits don't matter"
So go ahead and blame Obama for the mess we are in, but the borrow and spend ways of the last 8 years can not be laid at the feet of his administration, or of the 2 feeble years the Dems had minimal control of the house......

10:47 PM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...

Bush made him do it. Easy to understand, doesn't require a lot of effort--- Learn it already! He's the only thing between you and the Swine flu--- you better learn it.

10:47 PM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...

We are taxed too much if all we are going to do is use it to further destroy what's left of the America we inherited. And that is what's happening. We could easily be paying a trillion dollars a year on interest alone in 8 years. That is, if we could. It isn't mathematically possible at current dollar values. If they can't manage to get us into double digit inflation, soon, the US government will have to default-- either by falling or printing us into hyperinflation, which is the same fucking thing as falling. If we don't take our medicine NOW and stop this idiocy, it will be over. It may be too late already.Best case, we are a third world economy for a decade until we claw our way out of debt. And it will take using the one thing we have left--- overwhelming military superiority. The Chinese and Russians and their accomplices will do their damnedest to keep us down while they kick the shit out of us. That would take genuine leadership, and O is the furthest thing from that we've had in my lifetime.

10:57 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Well no, Bush spent about 6 trillion over the base line.
And they all voted for it, both parties. Some claim to have been bamboozled. Those people should be thrown out.

Only congress can set tax rates and sign checks, you know congress, where Obama was a Senator.

10:58 PM  

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