- A lot of right-wingers claim Obama promised that unemployment would not go above 8 percent if the stimulus was passed. Eric Cantor claimed: “We were promised. The president said we would keep unemployment under 8.5 percent (if the stimulus passed).”
Here are the facts: The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan report included a graph that projected unemployment rates without the stimulus would peak at 9% and with the stimulus at just under 8%. That is not a promise; it is a projection, an estimate, a prediction. Claiming it was a promise is crazy talk. It’s like claiming the weatherman lied when he got a forecast wrong.
- Lie: Reagan’s tax cuts resulted in increased revenues.
Fact: Reagan’s tax cuts resulted in decreased revenues. His tax increases resulted in increased revenues.
1981 – the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. The biggest tax cuts in U.S. history.
1982 – The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. Repealed much of the tax cuts of 1981, raised unemployment taxes, doubled taxes on cigarettes, tripled taxes on telephone service.
1982 – Highway Revenue Act of 1982 increased the gas tax through 1988
1983 – Social Security Amendments of 1983. Increased Social Security taxes.
1984 – Deficit Reduction Act of 1984. Increased taxes on exports and business expenses.
1986 – Tax Reform Act (TRA) of 1986. Decreased individual taxes but increased corporate taxes.
- Lie: Obama’s spending has resulted in a huge budget deficit.
Fact: Obama is responsible for only a small sliver of the deficit.
The recession resulted in reduced tax revenues and increased spending on safety-net programs. The federal debt was doubled during the Bush administration and now we’re paying almost 400 billion a year just on the interest on the debt. Obama has required Congress to pay for any new programs it passes in a restoration of the “pay as you go” system.
Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.
About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February. And only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama’s agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.