A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Cap-and-Trade Cost Inflation

Leading Republicans are claiming that President Obama’s proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions would cost households as much as $3,100 per year. The Republican National Committee calls it a “massive national energy tax.” But the $3,100 figure is a misrepresentation of both Obama’s proposal and the study from which the …

Drop in the Bucket? See for Yourself.

In our "What’s in a Number" post on May 7, we noted a clever video by Salt Lake City software developer Matt Shapiro, showing how little $100 million in savings would amount to when compared with the $3.6 trillion in federal spending being proposed by President Obama (about one-quarter of a penny on the scale of the budget being equal to $100.)
Now Matt has come up with a second video to help us wrap our brains around the latest figures.

What’s in a Number?

On April 20, President Barack Obama caused a bit of a splash when he gathered members of his Cabinet and directed them to cut (collectively) $100 million in expenses within the next 90 days. Now that sounds like a lot of money. And we’re not ones to complain about cutting costs when the Congressional Budget Office estimated the deficit to be $1.2 trillion in 2009 alone — and that was before accounting for the cost of the stimulus bill.

Fantasy Jobs?

At President Obama’s April 29 news conference, he claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has "already saved or created over 150,000 jobs." Wait a minute. Isn’t the number of jobs actually plummeting?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy lost more than 1.3 million jobs in the two months after he took office, and it has probably lost at least another half-million in April. The day after Obama spoke, the Department of Labor announced that another 631,000 workers (seasonally adjusted) had filed new claims for unemployment insurance the previous week.

100 Days of Spin

After 100 days in office, we find President Obama is sticking to the facts – mostly. Nevertheless, we find that the president has occasionally made claims that put him and his policies in a better light than the facts warrant. He has claimed that private economists agreed with the forecast in …

Obama’s Prime Time Pitch

President Obama sometimes strayed from the facts or made dubious claims during his hour-long evening news conference March 24. He said his budget projections are based on economic assumptions that “are perfectly consistent with what Blue Chip forecasters out there are saying.” Not true. The average projection by leading …

More Upstate Insults

The campaign to fill the vacant House seat in New York’s 20th congressional district is the race that keeps on giving – giving false and misleading ads, at least. Two new spots, one from Democratic businessman Scott Murphy and another from his foe, Republican state Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, both …

Obama and the Deficit

During a speech on Tuesday, President Obama promised to reduce the budget deficit:
Obama: Now, this budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue because of the massive deficit we inherited and the enormous costs of this financial crisis. We have made some tough choices that will cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term and reduce it by $2 trillion over the next decade.
To start, we want to clarify that Obama is talking about the budget deficit (the amount of money the government spends in a given year minus what it takes in),

Will Work for Small(ish) Businesses

In his remarks to small-business owners March 16 at the White House, President Obama repeated a statistic we’ve heard from both Democrats and Republicans. (Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
used it this month
on "Fox News Sunday.")
Obama said small businesses are responsible for creating "roughly 70 percent of all new jobs in the past decade."
That stat is one put forth by the Small Business Administration. The SBA says that small businesses "have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade."

Stimulus for Illegal Immigrants?

Q: Will 300,000 illegal immigrants get construction jobs through the stimulus package?
A: There’s no way of knowing how many illegal immigrants may or may not end up with a job from stimulus funds. But this inflated estimate comes from conservative groups concerned about the absence of employee verification requirements in the final bill.