Obama’s phony falling deficit claim

Deficits Falling (From Way Up)

Factcheck -Robert Farley- Posted on August 1, 2013

In recent speeches, President Obama has repeatedly claimed that “our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.” The White House says he’s referring to the decline in the deficit as a percentage of the nation’s economy from 2009 to 2012. But that’s not the “fastest rate” of deficit reduction in 60 years. It fell at a faster rate from 2004 to 2007.

Obama has dropped the talking point into no fewer than five speeches focused on “Jobs for the Middle Class” during the course of a week.

July 30 in Tennessee: Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.
July 24, in Illinois: And our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.
July 25, in Missouri: And our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.
July 25, in Florida: And our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.
July 27, weekly address: Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.

It sounds like an impressive accomplishment to bolster the president’s case that the economy is getting better. And if the official White House transcripts are any indication, it is a reliable applause line.

To back it up, the White House press office points to historical data showing that deficits, as a percentage of gross domestic product, fell from 10.1 percent in 2009 to 7 percent in 2012. (See Table 1.2.) That’s a 3.1 percentage point drop, and the last time the U.S. saw a larger drop over an equivalent period of time was 1946 to 1949, when the deficit went from 7.2 percent of GDP to a surplus of 0.2 percent of GDP (a change of 7.4 percentage points), White House spokesman Bobby Whithorne wrote to us in an email.

To be sure, that is a marked drop in the deficit. But it’s not the “fastest rate” of deficit reduction — which speaks to relative speed.  That may sound like a mathematical technicality, but it reveals a large contextual difference.

Due to the recession, the deficit as a percentage of GDP spiked in 2009 to a level not seen since the mid-1940s. So it had further to fall than usual.

When Obama took office in 2009, he inherited a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion. He added another $200 billion in deficit spending to that. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit in fiscal year 2009 came to 10.1 percent. That’s by far the highest percentage over the last 60 years (you have to go back to the World War II years between 1942 to 1945 to see higher figures). Over the last 60 years, deficits as a percentage of the GDP have averaged 2.4 percent. The deficit was 3.2 percent in 2008, the year before Obama took office; and it was 1.2 percent the year before that. In other words, it had a long way to drop from 2009.

“Think about it this way,” Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense wrote to us in an email. “I like to compare budget numbers to diets. Bob weighs 400 pounds and loses 60 pounds in a year. Ralph is 210 pounds and loses 40 pounds in a year. Bob has lost more weight than Ralph, but Ralph is losing it faster, at a 19% rate versus a 15% rate.”

Ellis noted, correctly, that the deficit as a percentage of GDP fell 31 percent from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2012. But he pointed to two other four-year periods when the deficit fell at a faster rate — in fact, more than twice as fast:

  • The rate of deficit reduction was 64 percent from fiscal 1993 to fiscal 1996, when the deficit fell from 3.9 percent of GDP to 1.4 percent.
  • Similarly, the rate dropped 66 percent from fiscal 2004 to fiscal 2007, when the deficit went from 3.5 percent of GDP to 1.2 percent.

“So anyone can play with the numbers,” Ellis said. “Obviously, it’s a significant reduction. But let’s face it there was a lot to reduce. The deficit was morbidly obese.”

Indeed, the numbers can be sliced many different ways. The White House chose a four-year window for its comparison, but the deficit as a percentage of GDP has fallen more over shorter periods of time. For example, it fell 3.2 percentage points in 1969 (from a deficit of 2.9 percent in 1968 to a surplus of 0.3 percent of GDP in 1969).

[…] – More at: Factcheck.org

– Robert Farley

What’s holding Obama approvals up? — hot air, that’s what.

What’s holding Obama up?

By Dick Morris – The Hill 06/05/13

Why does Obama boast an average approval rating of 48 percent when he scores terribly on each issue he is now handling? Here’s the rundown in the latest Bloomberg News poll:

Do you approve or disapprove of Obama’s handling of ______?

Approve: 42% Disapprove: 53%
Approve: 40% Disapprove: 56%
Budget Deficit
Approve: 32% Disapprove: 59%
Approve: 51% Disapprove: 40%
Economic Security
Approve: 42% Disapprove: 51%
Approve:40% Disapprove: 49%
Approve: 31% Disapprove: 51%

And the focus on Obama’s scandals is cutting deep with the American people.By 48 percent to 31 percent, Bloomberg found that Americans believe that the “extra scrutiny” the IRS gave to conservative groups was “politically motivated” and not “a product of bureaucratic shortcuts.”

Forty-seven percent of Americans said Obama “is not being truthful when he says he didn’t have prior knowledge of the extra scrutiny the IRS gave to conservative groups and that he learned about it through the news media.” Only 40 percent said he was “being truthful.”(also Bloomberg)

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that the majority of voters felt that “the Administration’s handling” of each of its three major scandals “raises doubts” about “the overall honesty and integrity of the Obama Administration.”

A. On Benghazi 58 percent said it raised doubts and 27 percent said it did not.

B. On the subpoena of journalists’ phone records, it was 58 percent versus 23 percent.

C. And on the IRS targeting of conservative groups, 55 reported doubts and 26 percent did not.

So it’s logical to ask what is holding Obama’s approval ratings up at 48 percent when his approval on key issues is down in the 40 percent to 42 percent range and his handling of scandals is so universally derided?

The answer is, of course, demographics. African-Americans, Latinos, gays, students, and single white women are so frightened of a world without Obama and so alienated from Republicans that they dare not give the president overall negative ratings.

Will they ever? Yes. When the scandals reach the point where they cannot avoid it and when the Republicans stop alienating these groups.

Immigration reform will [be] the first break in the ice because it will remove the single issue that most holds Latinos captive to the Democratic Party. On abortion, the administration’s ability to wave Roe v. Wade as its banner guarantees the 2-to-1 support of single white women, about 20 percent of the electorate.

But ObamaCare offers the best option for bringing down Obama’s popularity. This signature program, so closely identified with his presidency, is becoming more and more unpopular as it nears implementation. Obama’s efforts to shore up its approval ratings are only likely to identify him more with its failings. The premium increases, the taxes and fines on young people, and the rationing of care to the elderly will become ever more apparent. And who can believe now that it ought to be administered by this Internal Revenue Service?

Bringing down Obama will take time, but the polling shows progress. Keep at it.


Finding that point where his approvals reflect reality would be to find America’s ‘sweet spot’. Now that would be utopia.  That’s where reality and perception finally converge, where people admit his failures, where he is not shrouded in phony belief and perceptions, when honesty prevails. That’s when America awakes up from its slumber.

It would be a Eureka moment when America finally “gets it”, most of it at least.  Sure, there are  perpetual deniers but for the most part people would come clean about Obama. I won’t hold my breath.

That is a lot to ask of America currently, considering the hold Obama has had on it until now. We may need some anti-anxiety meds when that happens — when people realize he is not who he said he was.

All that unfounded belief of people is what made Michelle Obama “really proud of my country, for the first time in my adult life.”

Seems like the percentage who think Obama is full of BS, hypocrisy, deception, and corruption is growing daily.  But so far, the percentage that don’t care what the liar says or does seems locked… somewhere in La-La land.