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December 08, 2009

Obama's Misstatements on the Economy So Bald Even AP Gags on Them

Progress. We've gone from fact-checks of SNL parodies of Obama speeches to fact-checks of genuine Obama speeches.

Hey, it's something.

In President Barack Obama's hands, the $700 billion financial rescue fund offers a bit of bookkeeping magic: an opportunity to pay down the deficit while also spending more—thereby adding to it.

Under law, any paybacks to the bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program must be used to reduce the deficit. But in an economic speech on Tuesday, the president sought to have it both ways. Increased repayments from banks to the Treasury will reduce the deficit all right, but it will give Congress the budgetary room to spend more—and the president encouraged just that.


"There are those who claim we have to choose between paying down our deficits on the one hand, and investing in job creation and economic growth on the other," Obama said. "But this is a false choice."

To be sure, governments spend money during recessions to prime the economy, and they must be wary not to pull back too soon or to spend too long. But TARP returns are required by law to be used for deficit reduction. Yet if banks can help lower the deficit through one program, Congress can bump it up elsewhere.

What's more, even under Obama's rosier expectations the $700 billion TARP would still add $141 billion to the deficit.

It wasn't the president's only attempt at having his cake and eating it, too, in his speech.

Slublog, I think, posted that on Twitter; Mary Katharine Ham remarked, "Is he still doing that 'some say' thing?"

Oh yes. Oh yes oh yes oh yes.

AHFF Geoff sends this recap:

[Obama] takes aim at his opposition party, blasting Bush-era deficits created by "many of the same people who are now waxing political about fiscal responsibility while opposing our efforts to reduce deficits by getting health care costs under control." (11:48 a.m.)

Uh huh. Right, right. The, uh, health care bill will, er, save us money. Still putting the eggs in that basket, I see.

The last year's economic failure, Obama says in closing, has also been a political failure, brought about by succumbing to "the bitterness of partisanship, to the prosaic concerns of politics, to ever-quickening news cycles, and to endless campaigns focused on scoring points instead of meeting our common challenges." (11:49 a.m.)

Indeed, it has brought about succumbing to all that, as Obama should well know. He is Patient Zero.

So, to recap:

1. Obama has some budgetary magic beans. These can be spent multiple times, in multiple fashions. First, to pay down the deficit, then, to increase spending.

2. He also has some health-care magic beans. Once again, these beans can be used to increase spending on health care, and also magically reduce spending on health care.

3. "Some say" there is no such thing as magic beans and such people present to us the "false choice" of choosing between real beans and no beans at all.

4. There is some political partisanship afoot, and to reduce that political partisanship, Obama will blame his political opponents for the partisanship and not, say, his attempt to ram unpopular programs down the nation's throats, even at 55%+ levels of opposition.

5. Blame Bush.

That about cover it, President Einstein McDataSpock?

Thanks to Slublog and AHFF Geoff.



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posted by Ace at 03:18 PM

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