NRCC "Delivers" A Handful Of Lies

October 29, 2010 9:31 am ET

In an ad attacking Rep. John Spratt (D-SC), the NRCC aims to stoke fear among voters by raising the specter of increased taxes and ballooning deficit. The NRCC blames Spratt for writing the FY2009 budget "to raise taxes on the middle class" — when the budget called for no increase in taxes — and misrepresents the stimulus as "wasteful" even though it created millions of jobs and revitalized the economy. And despite the NRCC's claim that "this year's budget" is worth "a trillion dollar deficit," the deficit is a legacy of Bush policies and the economic downturn.  

NRCC: "Delivers"

Congressman John Spratt, in Washington since 1983 — so long he finally became Chairman of the Budget Committee. So what's he doing with his power? Whatever Nancy Pelosi wants. Spratt wrote a budget blueprint to raise taxes on the middle class. The next year Chairman Spratt helped push the wasteful stimulus bill. Then John Spratt wrote this year's budget — a trillion dollar deficit. John Spratt — he's not our congressman anymore.

The FY2009 Budget Did Not Raise Taxes

The NRCC's ad cites the FY2009 budget to claim that Spratt supported raising taxes on the middle class.

PolitiFact: Claim That FY2009 Budget Raised Taxes Is "False." According to PolitiFact.com:

PolitiFactFalse [T]he fiscal 2009 budget resolutions the House and Senate adopted in March don't have line items on tax proposals. The Democrats who wrote them assume that many of President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts will expire at the end of 2010 - a development that would bring more revenue into the government's coffers and perhaps help the Democrats make good on their pledge to balance the budget by 2012.

[...]

Those same Democratic lawmakers who wrote the budget resolution also support extending at least some of the tax cuts that have helped lower- and middle-income taxpayers. In fact, during the full Senate debate on the chamber's resolution, lawmakers adopted an amendment by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., that would extend the child tax credit, marriage-penalty relief provisions and other components in the 2001 tax package.

Democrats say they haven't yet made final decisions on which tax cuts will stay and which will go, and they maintain those tax cuts that are extended will be offset by tax increases elsewhere or by spending cuts. In other words, the budget resolution doesn't provide enough specifics to know the net effect on taxes, up or down. [PolitiFact.com, 4/7/08]

PolitiFact: Budget Resolutions Cannot Change Tax Law. According to the non-partisan PolitiFact.com in its fact check of Sen. John McCain's claim that Democrats's budget resolution would raise Americans' taxes: "First, budget resolutions don't have the force of law; the majority party uses them both to make a political statement and to set nonbinding parameters for considering tax and spending legislation. So it's technically incorrect to say the budget resolution will raise, lower or even keep taxes the same. The documents cannot change tax law." [PolitiFact.com, 4/7/08]

The "Wasteful Stimulus" Created Millions Of American Jobs And Boosted The Economy

The Economy Shed Almost 8 Million Jobs Under Republican Policies Before The Recovery Act Could Affect The Economy. According to economist Robert J. Shapiro:

From December 2007 to July 2009 - the last year of the Bush second term and the first six months of the Obama presidency, before his policies could affect the economy - private sector employment crashed from 115,574,000 jobs to 107,778,000 jobs. Employment continued to fall, however, for the next six months, reaching a low of 107,107,000 jobs in December of 2009. So, out of 8,467,000 private sector jobs lost in this dismal cycle, 7,796,000 of those jobs or 92 percent were lost on the Republicans' watch or under the sway of their policies. Some 671,000 additional jobs were lost as the stimulus and other moves by the administration kicked in, but 630,000 jobs then came back in the following six months. The tally, to date: Mr. Obama can be held accountable for the net loss of 41,000 jobs (671,000 - 630,000), while the Republicans should be held responsible for the net losses of 7,796,000 jobs. [Sonecon.com, 8/10/10, emphasis added]

Based on Shapiro's research, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein created the following chart showing net job losses before and after the Recovery Act was enacted:

Klein

[Washington Post8/12/10]

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.

emp

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

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]

Bush Policies And The Recession — Not John Spratt — 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 Times1/8/09, emphasis added]

CBPP: Deficit Grew By $3 TRILLION Because Of Policies Passed From 2001 To 2007. 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.org, accessed 1/31/10, parentheses original]

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:

CBPP

[CBPP.org, 6/28/10]

Public And Foreign-Held Debt Skyrocketed While Bush Was In Office. Below are two graphs prepared by the Speaker's office showing the increase of publicly and foreign-held debt during the years Bush was in office:

bushpublicdebt

bushforeigndebt

[U.S. Treasury via The Gavel, 6/11/10]

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