President Donald Trump has been holding daily press conferences to provide the latest information about the coronavirus from the federal government, but his rhetoric has sometimes been imprecise, misleading or outright incorrect.
The release of the House GOP budget by Rep. Paul Ryan has sparked a resurgence of false and misleading claims about the Affordable Care Act, which the budget seeks to largely repeal. On the Sunday talk shows, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, each distorted the facts regarding revenues raised in the health care law. And Ryan wrongly said the law would take money away from Medicare and ration benefits for seniors.
An ad from a fiscally conservative group makes a true but misleading claim that the sequester only amounts to “a 3 percent cut in federal spending.” A majority of federal spending is exempt from the sequester cuts, so the parts that are not will be cut much more deeply than that. For example, defense spending (other than for military personnel) will be cut by 8 percent across the board, and nondefense discretionary spending will be cut by between 5 percent and 6 percent.
House Speaker John Boehner claimed the federal government will take in more revenue this year than any other year in history. That’s true in nominal dollars, but not as a percentage of gross domestic product — a measure preferred by most economists that accounts for growth in population, inflation and earnings.
In fact, as a percentage of GDP, revenues this year are actually lower than the historical average since World War II.
In an interview on CBS Evening News on Feb.