Fact-checking Obama: Math required

posted at 10:01 am on September 7, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

During Barack Obama’s speech last night, my good friend Kevin McCullough made this observation on Twitter:

I responded:

So far, the fact checkers don’t seem to have had a field day, but they did show up … and a few even brought their calculators.  National Journal and ABC News both offered nearly-immediate fact checks in the wake of the speech, and all three focused on one of the biggest whoppers Obama told:

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion.

Here were their fact checks:

  • NJ - “As The Washington Post’s fact checker pointed out after former President Clinton made the same claim on Wednesday night, “The $4 trillion figure, for instance, includes counting some $1 trillion in cuts reached a year ago in budget negotiations with Congress. So no matter who is the president, the savings are already in the bank.” Furthermore, Obama has been roundly criticized for counting $700 billion in savings from war money that no one expected to be spent anyway now that the wars are winding down.”
  • ABC – “The first $1 trillion in cuts are already on the books. The president, as he noted in his speech, negotiated them with Congress last summer. More cuts are banked by letting the Bush tax cuts expire (the top marginal rate would return to 39.5 percent from 35 percent) and closing a number of arcane loopholes, all of which, in theory, would have a multiplier effect as the resulting interest payments on the national debt would be lessened. Then there’s the issue of military spending. The Congressional Budget Office has already worked nearly a trillion dollars of war expenses into its long-term deficit projections. President Obama, by ending the war in Iraq and winding combat operations in Afghanistan (by 2014), is subtracting that as-yet-unspent money from the future debt load.”

Actually, the issue is much simpler than that.  Obama claimed to be reducing the deficit, but his plan actually projects deficits of nearly $10 trillion over the next ten years.  The worst budget deficit signed by his predecessor was slightly over $500 billion.  Obama is talking about reducing the increase in deficits, not real reductions or elimination of deficit spending.  The lowest deficit in his 10-year projection is higher than the highest Bush-signed deficit.  (To a certain extent, Republicans do the same thing, but we’re not fact-checking Republicans today.)

 The AP picked up on another deficit claim with better success.  Obama tried to argue in the same breath that the war he plans to end in Afghanistan will both reduce the debt and pay for another massive stimulus.  As their fact-check noted, that would be a neat trick, since the war spending and Obama’s stimulus plans all rely on increasing debt:

OBAMA: “I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges, schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.”

THE FACTS: The idea of taking war savings to pay for other programs is budgetary sleight of hand, given that the wars were paid for with increased debt. Obama can essentially “pay down our debt,” as he said, by borrowing less now that war is ending. But he still must borrow to do the “extra nation-building” he envisions.

He made a similar statement in his State of the Union address, and it is no less misleading now than in January. And the savings appear to be based at least in part on inflated war spending estimates for future years.

ABC also scoffed at the “terribly flawed” logic:

This statement gives the impression that money “saved” from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is sitting idly in our back pocket, just waiting to be spent on the “right” stuff. It’s as if you decided to cancel $10,000 in plane tickets to Barcelona, then got up the next day and used your “savings” to put a down payment on a car. The logic is terribly flawed. One of the main reasons the debt has soared like it has in the past decade is that the government has paid for its military adventures with borrowed cash. This money the president is speaking about here doesn’t exist unless it’s added, again, to the overall debt load.

And while promising to cut deficits.

CNN’s fact checker called Democrats out on jobs math as well on Wednesday, scolding speakers for repeating Obama’s claim of having added 4.5 million jobs, a claim Obama repeated last night:

The number Castro cites is an accurate description of the growth of private-sector jobs since January 2010, when the long, steep slide in employment finally hit bottom. But while a total of 4.5 million jobs sounds great, it’s not the whole picture.

Nonfarm private payrolls hit a post-recession low of 106.8 million that month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure currently stands at 111.3 million as of July.

While that is indeed a gain of 4.5 million, it’s only a net gain of 300,000 over the course of the Obama administration to date. The private jobs figure stood at 111 million in January 2009, the month Obama took office.

And total nonfarm payrolls, including government workers, are down from 133.6 million workers at the beginning of 2009 to 133.2 million in July 2012. There’s been a net loss of nearly 1 million public-sector jobs since Obama took office, despite a surge in temporary hiring for the 2010 census.

Let’s be fair and count from the recovery, since the free-fall that occurred in January didn’t come from Obama’s presidential policies.  Overall employment in June 2009 was 140.003 million, according to the A-1 table of the BLS.  Employment as of August 2012 is 142.101 million, an increase of 2.098 million in 39 months.  That works out to an average monthly growth of just 53,795 jobs per month, far below the 125K-150K level needed to keep up with population growth.  In the private sector,  the difference between June 2009 and August 2012 is 3.258 million, which comes to an average jobs growth of 83,538.  Either way, it’s not keeping up with current population growth, let alone making up those jobs that were lost in the Great Recession.

National Journal also questions his jobs-addition math in manufacturing:

OBAMA: “We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.”

THE FACTS: Obama has claimed an increase of some 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 29 months. But this is cherry picking by the president. From the beginning of Obama’s term 3 1/2 years ago, manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 500,000, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing jobs have been on a steady decline for nearly two decades.

Even though there has been a modest uptick in manufacturing jobs this year, unless there is a major turnaround, it seems unlikely that Obama’s goal of 1 million new manufacturing jobs can be reached by his target date of 2016.

In other words, even in those few areas where Obama offered some specifics, they were just like the rest of his speech.  They didn’t add up … just like Obamanomics in general.


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Barack Obama has had the Fifth Column Treasonous Media so far in the tank for his for so long that he simple cannot conceive of them actually checking anything he says for accuracy.

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Uggg… I better fact check some coffee before posting anything else…

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Can his American flag pin be any smaller?

Urban Infidel on September 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Clint was on the right track last week. Zero isn’t just Prezzy Empty Chair, he’s Prezzy Empty Stadium, and Prezzy Empty Ideas, who pulls numbers out of thin air or Vals’ hat or oh, heck, I can’t keep up anymore.

Kissmygrits on September 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Urban Infidel on September 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM

You just know it was Made in China. Obama wouldn’t dare splurge on American-made patriotic-wares.

andy85719 on September 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Math is racist.

steebo77 on September 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

The 4 million new jobs added number has always sounded suspicious. And a lot of new jobs added are low paying McJobs.

bayview on September 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Obama can only win if he gets illegal aliens to the polls to vote, and that has been his plan since day 1.

If Obama loses he will not agree that he has lost, and will force a Constitutional crisis by refusing to give up the White House and claiming he still is the president. Look for challenges to every state outcome he loses, no matter how large the vote spread.

If Obama wins, he will attempt to run for a third term, and dare Justcallitatax Roberts and the rest of the Supreme Court to stop him.

That is all.

doufree on September 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

They fumbled the “pay down debt” fact check on FNC this morning.

You can’t “pay down debt” until completely eliminating the annual deficits which have been about $1.3 trillion under BO.

Stopping all spending on wars will not even come close to eliminating the deficit let alone “pay down debt”.

Obama is flat out flagrantly lying every time he says the phrase “pay down debt”.

forest on September 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Red State had a good analysis on job creation the other day. If you cherry pick Bush’s job creation just during the recovery phase like Obama did then Bush has better job creation numbers. What makes this even worse for Obama is that the Bush recession in his 1st term was not as deep so there weren’t as many people out of work that could juice the job creation numbers when they came back into the job market.

Wigglesworth on September 7, 2012 at 10:16 AM

the difference is that when Ryans speech was “fact checked” it was introduced as a speech filled with “lies”. I doubt you will see the MSM referring to Obamas speech as filled with lies (even though they could) …only typical politician slight of hand. For the low information voter, saying “lie” can really influence.

lostinjrz on September 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Math

redridinghood on September 7, 2012 at 10:18 AM

“Thou darest to question the claims of thy KING?”

–Dumbo

search4truth on September 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

What is this strange “math” thing of which you speak; what are you people, necromancers?

Bishop on September 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Truth deficits

0′s real expertise..

Bmore on September 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Fact-checking Obama: Math required

But math is hard. Monopoly money from the Fed is easy.

We just have to make sure ODebtBomb can’t pass GO and collect 5 trillion dollars.

For what he’s done to this country, he should Go Directly To Jail.

Steve Z on September 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM

The only thing I saw yesterday before the speech (which I didn’t watch) in the way of leaked excerpts, was that Obama would address entitlement reform.

http://news.yahoo.com/president-speech-tackle-entitlement-reform-aides-085600709–politics.html

Did this happen?

BKeyser on September 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

yup….the UE6 number is a bridge too far for the Old School Lib Media…

they are gonna throw choom under the bus

harlekwin15 on September 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Did this happen?

BKeyser on September 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Define the terms… “Did” and “This” and “Happen”…

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I think that I can save some time for the fact checkers.
EVERYTHING he said/says is a lie.

You’re welcome.

justltl on September 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

OT: Fire at will!

Romney unleashes offensive in swing states beginning today

jazzmo on September 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM

It’s great they are finally fact checking what Obama says 60 days out from the election. Do they hope this will establish their credibility afterwards, when they plan to do a rectal exam on every word uttered by Romney/Ryan? Too little, too late, media.

Night Owl on September 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM

yup….the UE6 number is a bridge too far for the Old School Lib Media…

they are gonna throw choom under the bus

harlekwin15 on September 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Nope, perhaps the only thing you can absolutely count on right now in America is that the Fifth Column Treasonous Media will absolutely not throw Choom under the bus. They have invested so much of what pathetically little souls they have in him that in the end, they will throw themselves under the bus for Choom.

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:26 AM

“It was my understanding that there would be no math.” – MSM

teke184 on September 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM

http://www.mittromney.com/news/press/2012/09/what-theyre-saying-about-president-obamas-disappointing-dnc-speech1
Romney’s campaign summaries the reactions to Barry’s big speech.

bayview on September 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Mitt Romney slammed President Obama over a disappointing August jobs report in a statement Friday, declaring that “if last night was the party, this morning is the hangover.”

right2bright on September 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM

But Eva Longoria said…

redzap on September 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

http://www.mittromney.com/news/press/2012/09/what-theyre-saying-about-president-obamas-disappointing-dnc-speech1
Romney’s campaign summaries the reactions to Barry’s big speech.

bayview on September 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM

CNN’s Brianna Keilar: “Don’t Think I’m Going Out On A Limb To Say Clinton Was Wayyyyyyy Better Than Obama.” (Twitter.com, 9/6/12)

Heh heh heh, as Mutt over at Temple of Mut points out, as I myself pointed out elsewhere, Bill Clinton’s speech seems to have been designed not to praise Caesar, but to bury him.

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Bragging about the 4.5 million jobs, is like going to a casino, loosing $1000 the first hour, but you win $800 of it back the next hour. Would you turn to your friend and claim you’re up $800?

Salukidog on September 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM

the difference is that when Ryans speech was “fact checked” it was introduced as a speech filled with “lies”. I doubt you will see the MSM referring to Obamas speech as filled with lies (even though they could) …only typical politician slight of hand. For the low information voter, saying “lie” can really influence.

lostinjrz on September 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

The difference is that with Paul Ryan’s speech they were splitting hairs over timeframes to come up with the lie. The rat-eared bastard’s claim are simply untrue. But you are right, don’t expect the MSM to call the rat-eared bastard a liar.

Happy Nomad on September 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Clint was on the right track last week. Zero isn’t just Prezzy Empty Chair, he’s Prezzy Empty Stadium, and Prezzy Empty Ideas, who pulls numbers out of thin air or Vals’ hat or oh, heck, I can’t keep up anymore.

Kissmygrits on September 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM

..speaking of which, Clint had a lot to say to a local Carmel paper on the subject of his appearance at the RNC:

AFTER A week as topic No. 1 in American politics, former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood said the outpouring of criticism from left-wing reporters and liberal politicians after his appearance at the Republican National Convention last Thursday night, followed by an avalanche of support on Twitter and in the blogosphere, is all the proof anybody needs that his 12-minute discourse achieved exactly what he intended it to.

President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” Eastwood told The Pine Cone this week. “Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that’s what everybody needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle.”

The War Planner on September 7, 2012 at 10:41 AM

rebuilding roads and bridges, schools and runways.

How is this temporary work going to save the economy and solve the unemployment problem? It may help a few healthy young men but it is not going to help women or anyone over the age of 50.

This trickle down ‘roads and bridges’ economy is the real war on women.

HellCat on September 7, 2012 at 10:41 AM

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I’ll take that as a “no”.

BKeyser on September 7, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Math is haaarrrrrd

/TeamLiar

JohnGalt23 on September 7, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Heh heh heh, as Mutt over at Temple of Mut points out, as I myself pointed out elsewhere, Bill Clinton’s speech seems to have been designed not to praise Caesar, but to bury him.

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:38 AM

..speaking of burying, seems the NFL opener buried The Cohibatator.

The War Planner on September 7, 2012 at 10:43 AM

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:38 AM

..speaking of burying, seems the NFL opener buried The Cohibatator.

The War Planner on September 7, 2012 at 10:43 AM

ROTFLMAO… Yes, and rumor has it that news made Allahpundit weep like a baby… ;p

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Math is racist.

steebo77 on September 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

heh.funny

BettyRuth on September 7, 2012 at 10:49 AM

OT: Fire at will!

Romney unleashes offensive in swing states beginning today

jazzmo on September 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Team Mitt, a little early morning rock ‘n’ roll, going straight out to you…

JohnGalt23 on September 7, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Even Glenn Kessler at Wapo is “getting it” from his liberal readers.

“Wow, as bad as Kessler had been it got worse today”

These poor folks “can’t handle the truth”.

Rovin on September 7, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Wow, where are the FB comments? I need my Toby fix!

Ward Cleaver on September 7, 2012 at 10:59 AM

WaPo, ABC, CNN, and National Journal all found factual errors in Teh One’s speech and went so far as to publish them? The temperature in hell must have just dropped a degree or two.

farsighted on September 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Barack Obama has had the Fifth Column Treasonous Media so far in the tank for his for so long that he simple cannot conceive of them actually checking anything he says for accuracy.

SWalker on September 7, 2012 at 10:07 AM

…and I hold the media MORE RESPONSIBLE than I do any liberal politician!…They are destroying this country…and half of us have caught on.

KOOLAID2 on September 7, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Note: that ain’t a “hat” Obama’s pulling his figures out of.

Midas on September 7, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Ed,

“Let’s be fair and count from the recovery, since the free-fall that occurred in January didn’t come from Obama’s presidential policies.”

I understand your attempt to be fair but you should point out that this is a VERY GENEROUS position to take from BO’s standpoint.

Businesses make hiring decisions not only on what the current situation is but also on what they expect it will be in the future. So it would not be surprising to find that many businesses chose not to hire replacement for workers who left IN EXPECTATION that BO would put policies in place(Obamacare, Regulations, etc) that would make it less profitable in the long run to expand or maintain payroll levels.

The same applies on other fronts. I managed to do pretty well in ’08 by betting that the markets would tank as BO became a near certain winner. He was not yet the Pres, but the markets saw what was coming and moved in expectation.

OBQuiet on September 7, 2012 at 11:56 AM

But Eva Longoria said…

redzap on September 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Yep, and I’m still trying to identify that Army Base in Corpus Christi, Texas.

DDay on September 7, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Yeah, he’s going to save us so much money the national debt will is only projected to hit $21TRILLION n less than 8 years – according to his own numbers which you know are lowballed,

The guy is such a liar.

KMC1 on September 7, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Barack doesn’t lie, he just reads whatever they put in front of him. He’s not that smart. He really doesn’t know if we have 57 or 58 states. He in it for the jet, the stars and the cars.

StevC on September 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM

But Eva Longoria said…

redzap on September 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

She was talking? I didn’t notice.

BobMbx on September 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

But Eva Longoria said…

redzap on September 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

She was talking? I didn’t notice.

BobMbx on September 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

…weren’t those her lips moving …under her neck?

KOOLAID2 on September 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM

What Obama Doesn’t Know About Math Will Hurt You
http://www.colony14.net/id659.html

Colony14 on September 7, 2012 at 9:03 PM