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It's one thing for the Obama administration itself to play fast and loose with budgetary facts, but it's an entirely new realm when the campaign cooks their numbers using questionable methods, and the media follows that up by inflating the falsehood even further.
Such is the case of the New York Times, who just yesterday claimed that the President's "most recent budget proposal called for $5.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade."
That number is a $1.3 trillion inflation of an already inflated $4 trillion estimate being peddled by Obama surrogates.
In a campaign ad titled Worried, the President's reelection committee claims that he has put forth a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, well below the estimated $5.3 trillion cited by the Times.
That number however, is cited repeatedly by the likes of Press Secretary Jay Carney, and is more recently evidenced by Bill Clinton's comments at the Democrat National Convention that, "[Obama] has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade," and Rep. Chris Van Hollen's speech which stated, "President Obama’s plan uses the bipartisan commission’s balanced approach. It reduces the deficit by more than $4 trillion.”
This is demonstrably false.
To start, the administration's numbers include $848 billion in calculated savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a major budgetary gimmick and nothing more. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget had this to say about the ploy:
"This drawdown is already in effect and not the result of new deficit-reducing policies, and so it should not be counted as deficit reduction. Worse than simply counting it to inflate their numbers, though, the Administration uses some of the phantom savings to pay for existing unfunded transportation costs and to expand jobs and infrastructure initiatives. Paying for real costs with phony offsets is no way to budget or to control rising debt.”
An additional $2.1 trillion in savings are being credited to the President's budget, when in reality those cuts were reached a year earlier in budget negotiations with Congress, and signed into law with the Budget Control Act. Essentially, Obama is taking credit for savings that are already in the bank.
Further, the $4 trillion in debt reduction relies heavily on the claim that the President is cutting spending by $2.50 for every $1.00 in tax revenue - a claim that Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler states "no serious budget analyst agreed with."
The notion is so outrageous that the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning organization, also discounted the faux savings sources and instead concluded with a ratio of $2 of tax increases for every $3 in spending cuts.
But even the fact that they want you to believe the new tax revenues will be used for deficit reduction can be disputed. In the President's recent budget proposal, he calls for $1.8 trillion in new taxes, coupled with $1.5 trillion in new spending, leaving little if any tax revenue available to pay down the debt.
In other words, the President's suggestion that the wealthy will have to pay a little more to pay down the debt in a balanced manner is simply nonsense.
In fact, when all factors are combined and the mathematics properly worked out, the Obama budget employs such economic wizardry that they've ultimately taken what amounts to less than $400 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years, and trumpeted it as a $4 trillion reduction - a marked inflation.
Sadly, for the Obama administration, repeating a line over and over doesn't necessarily make it fact. Yet the media, as shown by the New York Times piece is not willing to look into facts, they are only willing to parrot lies from the administration.
At one point during his DNC speech, Clinton echoed a line from a Romney campaign pollster who said, "We are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers."
Apparently when it comes to the Obama budget, neither Clinton, the media, nor the campaign are going to be dictated by actual facts at all.