Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Budget Spin? Is That Like White Lies for Dark Times?

FactCheck.org says that President Obama and the Republicans give different -- and less-than-factual -- takes on the president's 2012 budget. Excerpt:

Democrats and Republicans disagree strongly about elements of President Obama’s 2012 budget, but they are alike in one respect: Both sides are misrepresenting important facts.
  • Obama claimed that by the middle of this decade his budget “will not be adding more to the national debt.” But that’s not true. The debt will continue to grow by more than $600 billion even in 2015, the year with the least red ink projected.
  • The president also claims that the “discretionary” budget is only 12 percent of the total. It’s actually 36 percent. Obama, like President Bush before him, is referring to “non-security” spending that excludes not only the Pentagon but the Department of Homeland Security and veterans’ benefits.
  • Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee, repeated a false claim that Obama has increased domestic discretionary spending by 84 percent over the last two years. He hasn’t. That spending went up 27 percent, even counting stimulus spending, according to the official tally from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
  • Ryan’s committee also claims that Obama’s budget contains $1.6 trillion in “new taxes.” Actually, 44 percent of that total is made up of increases scheduled under current law, not proposed in the budget. And one big proposed increase is offset by Obama holding down a scheduled rise in the Alternative Minimum Tax.

We found several other false claims, too. Speaker Boehner claimed Obama has added 200,000 federal workers, when official figures put the total at 58,000, and Sarah Palin claimed in a bogus Twitter message that Obama’s cuts are only 0.1 percent of the deficit, when the true figure is 20 times higher. For the full story on those and more, please read on to the Analysis section.

You can read the whole unhappy thing here.

FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. UPenn is a 501(c)3 organization and your contribution is deductible from U.S. federal income taxes to the full extent allowed by law. You can donate here.

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