WaPo: Five Pinocchios for Obama in two days on economic claims

posted at 12:41 pm on July 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

A few days ago, I criticized the usually reliable Glenn Kessler for refraining on assigning his Pinocchios to clearly false representations about the meaning of the Hobby Lobby decision. Over the last couple of days, though, the Washington Post fact checker has become very productive in reviewing claims from Barack Obama. Today, Kessler gives Obama two Pinocchios for claiming that Republicans were putting 700,000 jobs at risk by holding up a bill dealing with the Highway Trust Fund:

If Washington were working the way it’s supposed to, Congress would be fixing that.  We’d be investing in the things that help America bring more good jobs to our shores.  Instead, here’s what’s going on in Washington.  There’s something called the Highway Trust Fund — I suspect this crew is familiar with it.  It helps states support transportation projects.  If Congress fails to fund it, it runs out of money.  That could put nearly 700,000 jobs at risk, including more than 17,000 right here in Virginia.  More than 100,000 active projects across the country — projects where workers as we speak are paving roads and rebuilding bridges and modernizing our transit systems — those projects would be slowed or stopped.  And some states have already had to put some projects on hold because they don’t trust Congress to get its act together.  So remember that the next time you see a job site sitting idle.

There are actually two issues at play with the Highway Trust Fund — reauthorization and funding a revenue gap. Reauthorization has to take place at the beginning of the next fiscal year, but that’s a foregone conclusion; Congress won’t kill the golden pork goose any time soon, and it’s broadly popular with public as well. The acute issue is about adding funds to make up for a shortfall in federal gas-tax revenue caused in part by federal pressure to improve gas efficiency in vehicles, as well as a fixed-amount tax per gallon rather than a percentage, which therefore doesn’t get indexed to inflation, as Kessler notes. This gap is what has prompted some in Congress to propose a mileage tax, a very bad idea with all sorts of privacy implications, not to mention collection and enforcement issues.

The funding gap in this case falls far, far short of impacting 700,000 jobs, though. In fact, even the progressive Center for American Politics, using the widest possible interpretation of CBO findings, only finds less than a third of that figure would be impacted:

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that $15 billion will be needed in fiscal 2015 to keep the trust fund solvent. Administration officials say that even before the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, payments to states may need to be slowed or curtailed as the trust fund gets close to the $4 billion mark.

Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, took the CBO estimate and calculated that a failure to provide that additional funding would result in as many 185,000 layoffs. Not all of these are construction jobs; the figure contains jobs “indirectly” created from the funding (such as suppliers to highway construction) and “induced” jobs, which are jobs created as construction workers and others spend their earnings.

That’s a lot of jobs, but it’s far fewer than 700,000.

So why is the administration’s number so much higher? That’s because the White House is assuming that the entire trust fund would not be authorized at all — even though just about no one in Congress supports that position.

Kessler gives Obama two Pinocchios for confusing reauthorization with stopgap funding and using old numbers despite newer data. That’s one less than Obama got yesterday from Kessler for claiming that House Republicans were blocking “every serious idea to strengthen the middle class“:

But here’s the odd thing: on the very day the president recorded his weekly address, the office of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) releasedthis photo under the happy headline of “What Working Together Looks Like.” It showed Boehner, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other lawmakers signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which streamlines job training programs,  so it could be sent to Obama for his signature.

“This morning, leaders of both parties in the House came together to get something done for the millions of Americans who continue to struggle to find work in today’s economy,” the news release said.

Obama had earlier said he looked forward to signing the bill. “This bipartisan compromise will help workers, including workers with disabilities, access employment, education, job-driven training, and support services that give them the chance to advance their careers and secure the good jobs of the future,” he said in a statement on July 9. “Today’s vote helps ensure that our workers can earn the skills employers are looking for right now and that American businesses have the talent pool it takes to compete and win in our global economy.”

Kessler goes on to list a number of bills passed by the House and entirely ignored by the Senate in this session. Perhaps one could quibble about whether they were “serious,” but most of them passed with some Democratic votes and have popular support outside of Washington DC. Kessler cites the Keystone XL pipeline bill as one such example:

But, let’s face it, the Republicans have their own list of bills passed in the House but which have failed to progress in the Senate, which they also claim are serious and enjoy popular support. For instance, one pending bill would approve construction of  the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found is supported by Americans by a 3 to 1 margin. The House list, displayed on Boehner’s Web site, includes nearly 50 bills, of which only a handful have been signed by the president into law.

Kessler gives Obama three Pinocchios for this claim, calling it “rhetorical overkill.” It’s part of the new White House strategy to paint Obama as a victim of Republican bullying, which falls apart on any kind of scrutiny — especially the kind Kessler supplies here. The unserious player in this drama is Obama.


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Really, does it matter, as long as he’s using his pen and phone at will?

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

WaPo: Five Pinocchios for Obama in two days on economic claims

Obama: Five Middle Fingers for WaPo/Kessler

Like he cares. At all.

Marcola on July 16, 2014 at 12:47 PM

There’s something called the Highway Trust Fund — I suspect this crew is familiar with it. It helps states support transportation projects.

I heard these transportation projects were more harmful to the environment than the Keystone Pipeline. Maybe Obama should have approved the pipeline to support less harmful job growth.

corkie on July 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

IRS to audit Kessler in 3, 2, 1 . . .

(remember when that was a funny joke? Good times, good times.)

rbj on July 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Really, does it matter, as long as he’s using his pen and phone at will?

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

WAPO finally figures out what we have all known all along – obaME! is a filthy bastard liar! All the time.

VegasRick on July 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM

The acute issue is about adding funds to make up for a shortfall in federal gas-tax revenue caused in part by federal pressure to improve gas efficiency in vehicles

Oh, look, social engineering on the federal level proves contradictory and self-defeating. Who could have predicted this?

Next we’ll talk about Republicans killing jobs because they’re loathe to invent new taxes to replace the cigarette tax revenues as more people quit (or are banned from) smoking.

The Schaef on July 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Obama: Five Middle Fingers for WaPo/Kessler

Like he cares. At all.

Marcola on July 16, 2014 at 12:47 PM

He will make note of the disrespect and have Holder send someone out from DOJ to have a cautionary word with them.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM

I wish Obama’s nose would grow like Pinocchio’s every time he lies. It might slow him down a little.

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 12:51 PM

obaME! is a filthy bastard liar!

VegasRick on July 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM

He really can’t help it. It’s just the way he was raised and mentored.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

They should just call him what he is, a pathological liar.

major dad on July 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

“…I criticized the usually reliable Glenn Kessler…”

I greatly respect you, Ed, and offer my disagreement with your assessment of Kessler within that context.

Drained Brain on July 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

What ever happened to the day when a president spoke you could expect to hear something presidential. All this president can do is spew partisan rhetoric. Over and over and over again.

supersport667 on July 16, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Pen and phone? I’m surprised its not a Crayola and a tin-can-on-a-string.

partsnlabor on July 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Same incoherence we’ve always heard from this Administration. As they tell it, President Obama is a brilliant scholar and masterful leader with a profound understanding of policy and history who is beloved by all the world, yet is a constant screwup because a couple of mouth-breathing redneck Republicans keep messing with him or something.

JeremiahJohnson on July 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Weren’t roads and their repairs supposed to be part of the shovel ready stimulus? Oh…maybe that was a lie too! Ya think?

Cowboy Girl on July 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

The high drama queen in chief, 0. Does anyone have at hand the total number of these Pinocchio awards he has received? Man o man I miss the Obamaturism of the day.

Bmore on July 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

“You lie” was the truest thing ever said about the Thug in Chief.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I told my wife this morning, “If the White House says it, it’s a lie.”

davidk on July 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Whatever. But by all means, let’s keep rearranging the deck chairs…

Midas on July 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I want to amend the Constitution, to add a fourth Branch of government: The PunchMaster.
(credit, BTW to whosoever invented the ‘Punchmaster’ satirical comic somewhere in the Web).

Punchmaster is authorized to mete out ‘corrective measures’ to any member of the other three branches that is either clearly and unequivocally lying, or clearly saying something blisteringly stupid.

I see the Punchmaster going home every night with sore hands.
And DogEater, McConnell, Reid and Boehner (et al) going home with icepacks on their face. A lot.

I know, I know: It’s crazy. But it just…might….work.

orangemtl on July 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Weren’t roads and their repairs supposed to be part of the shovel ready stimulus? Oh…maybe that was a lie too! Ya think?

Cowboy Girl on July 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Yes, because all the real “shovel ready” projects were already funded.

davidk on July 16, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Ed, here’s your perfect picture.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 1:02 PM

If one half of one third of the federal government can bully president Mom Jeans, is it any wonder that Putin and the rest of the world leaders regularly give Obama crotch punches?

We don’t want a victim as president, we want a leader. We won’t have hope of one until January 2017.

jukin3 on July 16, 2014 at 1:02 PM

When Joe Biden said “Obama has a very big stick”, he obviously meant his nose.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

the Washington Post fact checker

Ed loves the Left’s memes.

Good Lord, man. Have you no shame?

faraway on July 16, 2014 at 1:04 PM

The Agitator is absolutely clueless about capitalism….he dies not understand free market principles….risk….return….supply…..
demand…..
He’s an expert on killing jobs and of course agitating

Privatize It on July 16, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Barack Obama LYING?????? C’mon guys…Barack would NEVER lie to us, would he??

Mm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that all must lend a hand
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said we must be fair today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said red, yellow, black or white
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

Yes!
Mmm, mmm, mm
Barack Hussein Obama

Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say “hooray!”

Hooray, Mr. President! You’re number one!
The first black American to lead this great nation!

Hooray, Mr. President we honor your great plans
To make this country’s economy number one again!

Hooray Mr. President, we’re really proud of you!
And we stand for all Americans under the great Red, White, and Blue!

So continue —- Mr. President we know you’ll do the trick
So here’s a hearty hip-hooray —-

Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!

bimmcorp on July 16, 2014 at 1:10 PM


If Washington were working the way it’s supposed to, Congress would be fixing that.

If Washington were working the way it’s supposed to, you’d still be back in South Chicago trying to agitate racial hatred among poor blacks. Are you seriously suggesting that the GOP got together and decided that it isn’t interested in “investing in the things that help America bring more good jobs to our shores?” Is that what you’re saying you lazy stupid rat-eared tyrant?

That Kessler didn’t give you but two pinocchios for this lie demonstrates what a dishonest crap weasel he is when it comes to “fact checking” statements by Obama. The same statement by Romney during the 2012 election would have garnered turbo-Pinocchios. In other words, the only thing “usually reliable” about Kessler is his bias and seperate scales for fact checking conservatives and liberals.

Happy Nomad on July 16, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Only 5?

Both lies were rather blatant and easily fact-checked.

It’s getting so that we can’t even expect the thin-skinned, petulant, lazy, feckless, sociopathic narcissist to lie effectively. Only the sycophants, apparatchiks, and shills are giving him a break these days. I suppose all of his energy for lies is spent when he completes his golf scorecard.

Athos on July 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

So remember that the next time you see a job site sitting idle.

You mean like the West Wing?

Happy Nomad on July 16, 2014 at 1:17 PM

It’s getting so that we can’t even expect the thin-skinned, petulant, lazy, feckless, sociopathic narcissist to lie effectively.

Athos on July 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

But Kessler will never be honest in his fact checking. The administration had a massive hissy fit recently when time he got the full four for lies so big that even Kessler couldn’t spin it as excessive rhetoric.

Happy Nomad on July 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Given how disconnected Obama is for doing any hard work on the border, or any other tough issue, in favor of playing golf and holding White House parties with celebs, the WaPo should probably not just give him Pinocchios for his statements, but give him a few Lampwicks too, for his desire to perpetually be the head donkey on Pleasure Island

jon1979 on July 16, 2014 at 1:20 PM

I want to amend the Constitution, to add a fourth Branch of government: The PunchMaster.
(credit, BTW to whosoever invented the ‘Punchmaster’ satirical comic somewhere in the Web).

Punchmaster is authorized to mete out ‘corrective measures’ to any member of the other three branches that is either clearly and unequivocally lying, or clearly saying something blisteringly stupid.

I see the Punchmaster going home every night with sore hands.
And DogEater, McConnell, Reid and Boehner (et al) going home with icepacks on their face. A lot.

I know, I know: It’s crazy. But it just…might….work.

orangemtl on July 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

The founders intended us to be the punchmasters. Unfortunately too many among us like the pork more than the liberty.

wifarmboy on July 16, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Kessler gives Obama three Pinocchios for this claim, calling it “rhetorical overkill.”

Where I come from, it’s called lying.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Man o man I miss the Obamaturism of the day.

Bmore on July 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

I do too. Lately it could just be a permanent open running thread.

Brat on July 16, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Way cool, all of it.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 1:34 PM

King Barack isn’t ‘serious’. He’s phoning it in.

GarandFan on July 16, 2014 at 1:38 PM

…his nose should be way bigger than his ears!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 16, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Wonder what his wife thinks of his complaining??? Can you imagine living with him?? or visa versa. I heard that they sleep in different bedrooms. Trying to think here who the biggest complainer is whether its barry or mooch.

garydt on July 16, 2014 at 1:47 PM

perhaps the feds shouldn’t be so heavily involved in the state roads???
take money from states….fight over it….give it back to states to use.
just keep it in the damned states to begin with.

dmacleo on July 16, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Pinocchio is one of his staff, in charge of press briefings.

DWoDiego on July 16, 2014 at 2:09 PM

shortfall in federal gas-tax revenue caused in part by federal pressure to improve gas efficiency in vehicles

“in part”-good dodge there, but there may be some truth to that. Of course, a lot of that fuel efficiency is coming from making vehicles without the added weight of that silly spare tire (even a “donut”) included and making the vehicles lighter (I think Ford is coming out with an all aluminum body F-150?) and smaller. Part of the get less pay more model…like how many products on store shelves are shrinking but we pay the same prices—or more.

I’m not an engineer, so I can’s say how many gallons a year are saved by fuel injection and engine tweaks controlled by computer programs. I do know something about the laws of thermodynamics and chemistry, so I believe that there’s only so many miles you can get per gallon per pound of weight carried at speed X.

But my simplistic thought patterns are based upon the silly notion that a vehicle sitting in a drive way uses no fuel whatsoever, thus cutting back on U.S. consumption and increasing the annual fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

I’d say that millions no longer having jobs, no longer having high-paying jobs they once commuted long distances to, and not having the money to spend joy riding (because of their tight finances and the high price of gas) are the main reasons.

Lastly, this whole transportation budget is yet another way to get more money from us. And if they go through with a national transponder system, another way to see where we’re going and what we’re up to. But I can see pluses and minuses with that-the minuses come from the fact that we can’t trust those in government. These things would be useful in tracking down thieves, stolen vehicles, “silver alert” elderly, and nailing those who think they’re really NASCAR drivers or on the set of a Fast and Furious movie.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 16, 2014 at 2:26 PM

perhaps the feds shouldn’t be so heavily involved in the state roads???
take money from states….fight over it….give it back to states to use.
just keep it in the damned states to begin with.

dmacleo on July 16, 2014 at 1:55 PM

It’s called extortion, and it is mainly how the federal government stays in power. The other way was by nationalizing all the state militias into the national guard. That removed most states ability to militarily oppose the jack booted fascist thugs in DC.

earlgrey on July 16, 2014 at 2:30 PM

If our illustrious politicians allowed us to drill for our oil and gas was under $2.00 a gallon as when Bush left office, Americans would likely be much more open to an increased gas tax, but with the price of gas today, no increase will be tolerated.

RJL on July 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The WaPo calling Choomie out?

Say it ain’t so!

formwiz on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Honeybadger Don’t Care.

Tard on July 16, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Honeybadger Doesn’t Give A $hit.

Tard on July 16, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Someone who can be “in your face”, say Sean Hannity, should have a show that covers the controversial issues about which the president (small p until BO is gone) has ben truthful.

I honestly cannot think of one controversial issue about which BO has told the truth, even to the point of him creating dishonest strawmen to represent the views of his opposition.

But his target audience eats up the crap he spews.

ha_tspc on July 16, 2014 at 6:46 PM

A few days ago, I criticized the usually reliable Glenn Kessler for refraining on assigning his Pinocchios

So much wrong with that statement. The one time you actually take a fact checker to task for their thumb-on-the-scale presentation of “facts,” and you take it back?

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 16, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Lying. It’s what he does — and the only thing he’s good at.

wagnert in atlanta on July 19, 2014 at 9:32 PM