American Crossroads Takes Sen. Bennet Out Of Context In Dishonest New Ad

September 16, 2010 9:22 am ET

American Crossroads has released a new ad attacking Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) for supporting the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act.  However, the ad quotes Bennet entirely out of context and falsely implies that the policies the senator voted for are responsible for the debt.  In reality, Bush administration policies and the economic downturn blew up the deficit, and the Affordable Care Act will actually reduce the deficit by $132 billion in ten years.

American Crossroads: "Outraged"

Narrator: Michael Bennet is outraged. 

Bennet: Not only do we have $12 trillion of debt, but the tragedy of it is we have absolutely nothing to show for it. 

Narrator: But Bennet voted to spend an average of $2.5 billion per day on things like the failed pork-filled stimulus and Obamacare.  Now Bennet is outraged. 

Bennet: ...we have absolutely nothing to show for it. 

Narrator: Senator, we are outraged.  You have wasted our money. 

"Nothing To Show For It"

9News: Bennet Quote Taken Out Of Context.  In a "Truth Test" article analyzing a previous American Crossroads ad attacking Michael Bennet, Denver NBC affiliate 9 News reported:

It's true that Bennet said this, but it's taken out of context.

The point Bennet has made regularly on the campaign trail is that, unlike in the Roosevelt era when groups like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed most famously the Cherry Creek Dam and Red Rocks Amphitheater to help build out of the Great Depression, this country has not done that in its efforts to emerge from the current economic recession.

Posted below is the transcript of what he told The Denver Post on the issue last month and a theme he has also articulated in numerous interviews with 9NEWS.

"On top of everything else, we have a staggering debt of $13 trillion on this country's balance sheet and, in my view, nothing to show for it. We have not invested in our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our wastewater systems, our sewer systems. We haven't even maintained the assets that our parents and grandparents built, much less invest in the infrastructure we're going to need in the 21st century." (Source: Denver Post, July 25, 2010:

[, 9/2/10, in text citation original, emphasis added]

The Recovery Act Created Millions Of Jobs And Boosted The Economy

CBO: The Recovery Act Created Jobs, Lowered Unemployment, And Boosted GDP.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, through the second quarter of 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

  • Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise. [CBO, 8/24/10]

Reuters: The Recovery Act May Have "Prevented The Sluggish Economy From Contracting" Between April And June.  According to Reuters

The massive U.S. stimulus package put millions of people to work and boosted national output by hundreds of billions of dollars in the second quarter, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

CBO's latest estimate indicates that the stimulus effort, which remains a political hot potato ahead of the November congressional elections, may have prevented the sluggish U.S. economy from contracting between April and June.

CBO said President Barack Obama's stimulus boosted real GDP in the quarter by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, adding at least $200 billion in economic activity. [Reuters via ABC News, 8/24/10]

Job Statistics Trend Shows Recovery Act Is Working.  Below is a graph prepared by the Speaker's office showing net private sector job gains or losses per month since December 2007.

[Bureau of Labor Statistics via The Gavel, 8/6/10]

Princeton, Moody's Economists Say "Highly Effective" Government Response To Crisis Saved 8.5 Million Jobs.  According to the New York Times: "Like a mantra, officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations have trumpeted how the government's sweeping interventions to prop up the economy since 2008 helped avert a second Depression. Now, two leading economists wielding complex quantitative models say that assertion can be empirically proved. In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration's fiscal stimulus program, the nation's gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year. In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation. The paper, by Alan S. Blinder, a Princeton professor and former vice chairman of the Fed, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, represents a first stab at comprehensively estimating the effects of the economic policy responses of the last few years. 'While the effectiveness of any individual element certainly can be debated, there is little doubt that in total, the policy response was highly effective,' they write." [New York Times7/27/10, emphasis added]

The Affordable Care Act Will Reduce The Deficit

CBO: Health Care Reform Package Would Reduce The Deficit By $138 Billion By 2019.  According to the Congressional Budget Office: "The reconciliation proposal includes provisions related to health care and revenues, many of which would amend H.R. 3590. It also includes amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965, which authorizes most federal programs involving postsecondary education. CBO and JCT estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation-H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal- would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $138 billion over the 2010-2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenue." [CBO, 3/18/10]

CBO To GOP: Repealing Cost-Saving Provisions Of The Affordable Care Act Would Increase Deficit By $455 Billion. In a letter to Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), the Congressional Budget Office wrote: "Finally, you asked what the net deficit impact would be if certain provisions of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act that were estimated to generate net savings were eliminated-specifically, those which were originally estimated to generate a net reduction in mandatory outlays of $455 billion over the 2010-2019 period. The estimate of $455 billion mentioned in your letter represents the net effects of many provisions. Some of those provisions generated savings for Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program, and some generated costs. If those provisions were repealed, CBO estimates that there would be an increase in deficits similar to its original estimate of $455 billion in net savings over that period." [CBO, 8/24/10]

Bush Policies And The Recession — Not Recovery Spending — Blew Up The Deficit

Before Obama Took Office, The FY 2009 Deficit Was Projected At $1.2 Trillion.  As reported by the Washington Times: "The Congressional Budget Office announced a projected fiscal 2009 deficit of $1.2 trillion even if Congress doesn't enact any new programs. [...] About the only person who was silent on the deficit projection was Mr. Bush, who took office facing a surplus but who saw spending balloon and the country notch the highest deficits on record." [Washington Times, 1/8/09, emphasis added]

CBPP: "Tax Cuts Have Been The Single Largest Contributor To The Reemergence Of Substantial Budget Deficits In Recent Years." According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "Congressional Budget Office data show that the tax cuts have been the single largest contributor to the reemergence of substantial budget deficits in recent years.  Legislation enacted since 2001 added about $3.0 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2007, with nearly half of this deterioration in the budget due to the tax cuts (about a third was due to increases in security spending, and about a sixth to increases in domestic spending)." [CBPP, accessed 5/8/08]

The Bush Tax Cuts Are The Primary Driver Of Federal Budget Deficits Over The Next Decade. Below is a chart from CBPP showing the deficit impacts of war spending, financial recovery spending, the recession itself, and the Bush tax cuts:

[, 6/28/10]