A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obama’s Economic Speech

We’re always alert for signs that the president (any president) is overselling his programs. Here’s what we heard in President Obama’s speech on Tuesday announcing new efforts to create jobs: He highlighted a Congressional Budget Office estimate that “up to” 1.6 million jobs …

Health Care and the Economy

Would the House-passed health care bill make a tough economy worse and wipe out more jobs, as claimed in a TV ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Or would it help small business and encourage economic growth, as claimed in an ad sponsored by a big labor union …

Michelle’s European Vacation

Q: Did Michelle Obama and her daughters use taxpayer money to take a European vacation?
A: The first lady, her mother and her children did stay in Europe for a private vacation after the president completed an overseas trip on official business. However, no taxpayer money was used for the first family’s personal expenses.

Virginia Unemployment Clarification

In our article "Virginia Myths and More," we wrote that some of the federal stimulus money available to Virginia came with a requirement to change the state’s unemployment eligibility rules to give "benefits to part-time workers for the first time." However, an alert reader who works at the Virginia Employment Commission told us that the state has always extended unemployment benefits to part-time workers. We checked in with the VEC, and our article could use some clarification.

More Unemployment Blues

If you’re the glass-half-full type, you might think it’s good news that the nation’s unemployment rate was largely unchanged from May to June. It crept up just 0.1 percentage points to 9.5 percent. But that also means that the original projections from President Obama’s economic advisers on what would happen with and without the stimulus plan are still off — and significantly so.
In mid-June, we wrote about the large discrepancy between the jobs that actually have been lost and what administration economists had predicted in January.

Blame It on the Governor

Two new Republican ads targeting New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine contain a few misleading claims. One ad suggests that Corzine is responsible for New Jersey’s business climate being “among the worst in the nation.” But the survey cited as the source of the claim shows that the perception of …

Making Sense of Stimulus Spending

With the economy continuing to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, Republicans are stepping up attacks on President Obama. They claim that the massive “stimulus” spending isn’t working very well. A Republican Party Web site classifies as “fiction” the president’s repeated claim that the spending already has “saved …

Privately Owned Gun Tax?

Q: Would Senate bill 2099 put a yearly $50 tax on each privately owned firearm?
A: There is no such bill. A chain e-mail containing bogus claims refers to a bill that died more than eight years ago.

‘Dealergate’: Mistaking Anecdotes for Data

Ever since Chrysler announced that it wanted to shed 789 of its 3,188 nationwide dealerships, speculation and outright accusations have circulated to the effect that Republican donors were being singled out. The list of dealers slated for closing contained some who had given to Republican candidates, and far fewer who had given to Democrats. One blogger’s early tabulation, based on the first five pages of the 40-page list of closed dealers, showed $120,000 had been given to GOP candidates and $34,350 to Democratic candidates in 2004 and 2008 (exclusive of presidential candidates).

Tax Cut Ads Clip Some Details

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced on June 1 a radio ad and robo-call campaign against several congressional Republicans for voting against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. the stimulus bill). However, the attacks don’t tell the whole story.
For instance, the ad aimed at Republican Rep. Peter King claim that he "opposed an $800 tax cut and opposed creating or saving 215,000 New York jobs." But King, like many Republicans, never said that. Rather,