A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Reid Twice Wrong on $2.6 Trillion ‘Cuts’

Sen. Harry Reid was doubly wrong when he claimed that Congress already has cut $2.6 trillion from projected future deficits by reducing “non-defense programs” alone.
In fact, legislation he refers to applied to both security and non-security spending. Furthermore, a good chunk of the deficit reduction came from tax increases, not spending cuts.
Reid made the claim — twice — on ABC’s “This Week” on Feb. 3, in support of his argument that further deficit reduction should include more tax increases and cuts in military spending.

Chained Explained

Using a more accurate cost-of-living adjustment for federal benefit payments and tax brackets would cut the federal deficit by perhaps $300 billion over the next 10 years. But it faces opposition from both right and left. Economists generally agree …

Facing Facts on Fiscal Cliff

The U.S. faces the possibility of another recession — the third in 11 years — if President Obama and Congress cannot find a way to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The one-two combination of massive tax increases and spending cuts …

Facts Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff

In press conferences on the so-called fiscal cliff, House Speaker John Boehner greatly exaggerated the negative effect on the economy of raising taxes on upper-income individuals.

Boehner erred when he said that “the problem with raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is that more than half of them are small-business owners.” That’s incorrect. Boehner’s spokesman said the speaker simply misspoke, but Boehner is a repeat offender with this bogus claim.
Boehner repeatedly cited an Ernst &

The ‘Facts’ According to Obama and Romney Ads

In dueling ads, the Obama and Romney campaigns claim the factual high ground on deficits and taxes while, ironically, distorting the facts.

An Obama ad uses a truncated quote that makes NBC’s Andrea Mitchell seem to contradict Romney’s statement that his tax plan doesn’t amount to a $5 trillion cut. In fact, she went on to say Romney “said again tonight that his plan would be paid for.”
A Romney ad claims Obama is “adding almost as much debt as all 43 previous presidents combined.”

Obama’s Deficit Dodge

President Obama is falsely claiming that his administration’s policies are responsible for “about 10 percent” of the deficits “over the last four years.” The cumulative deficit during that time is nearly $5.2 trillion. Obama signed two bills — the 2009 stimulus and the 2010 tax cut — that alone cost $1.6 trillion during that time, or nearly a third of the cumulative four-year deficit.
How could he have been so wrong? Although he said “the last four years,”

Ryan’s VP Spin

TAMPA, Fla. — Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention contained several false claims and misleading statements. Delegates cheered as the vice presidential nominee:

Accused President Obama’s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.
Accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.

Did Gingrich ‘Slash’ Federal Spending?

Winning Our Future’s new TV ad falsely claims Newt Gingrich “slashed” spending in his four years as House speaker. Federal spending went up 18 percent from 1995 to 2000, the time frame mentioned in the ad.
In addition, the ad credits Gingrich for “record-breaking surpluses.” There were surpluses for four straight years — from fiscal years 1998 through 2001 — but Gingrich already had left Congress in January 1999. The largest of those surpluses came in fiscal year 2000,

Junkie Math

All sides agree that the federal government borrows too much, so why exaggerate? In the latest example, a national TV ad shows an actor portraying a drug addict and claiming that the U.S. is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar spent, which isn’t true.
As shown in this chart, which we’ve produced from the most recent official figures from the Congressional Budget Office, the true figure was 36.1 cents of every dollar for fiscal year 2011,

Fiscal FactCheck

Washington’s spending has recently been higher as a percentage of the nation’s economic output than at any time since World War II. But by the same measure, Washington’s revenues are the lowest in more than 60 years. …