Fact Checking the Sunday Shows - January 31, 2010

February 01, 2010 10:07 am ET

On Sunday, January 31, 2010, it was abundantly clear what the Republicans' talking points were.  On Sunday show after Sunday show, the Republican guests repeated falsehoods about Democrats' actions to tackle the recession.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD), were the worst offenders, repeatedly spreading falsehoods about the economy, jobs, the deficit, and health care.

Fox News Sunday

CLAIM: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Falsely Claims The Recovery Act didn't help grow the economy.

REP. PAUL RYAN: We're looking at what works to grow the economy, and this doesn't work, and more importantly, the debt and the deficit is just getting out of control, and the administration is still pumping through billions upon trillions of new spending. That does not grow the economy. If borrowing and spending all this money led to more jobs, then we'd be at full employment already.

FACT: In the fourth quarter of 2009, the economy grew at the fastest pace in six years, largely due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

  • WSJ: "The U.S. Economy Grew At Its Fastest Pace In Six Years In The Last Three Months Of 2009, Expanding At A 5.7% Yearly Rate." As reported by the Wall Street Journal, "The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in six years in the last three months of 2009, expanding at a 5.7% yearly rate over the previous quarter, as businesses drew less from their stockrooms and stepped up purchases of equipment and software. Exports surged and consumers spent more." [Wall Street Journal, 1/30/10]
  • CBO: The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Has Raised GDP Up To 3.2%, Created Up To 1.6 Million American Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, "CBO now estimates that in the third quarter of calendar year 2009, ARRA's policies raised real GDP by between 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.3 and 0.9 percentage points, and increased the number of people employed by between 600,000 and 1.6 million compared with what those values would have been otherwise." [CBO, 11/30/09; emphasis added]
  • McCain Adviser: "The Stimulus Was Very, Very Important In The 4th Quarter" Growth.  During an appearance on Bloomberg television, former adviser to Sen. John McCain, Mark Zandi said, "I think stimulus was key to the 4th quarter. It was really critical to business fixed investment because there was a tax bonus depreciation in the stimulus that expired in December and juiced up fixed investment. And also, it was very critical to housing and residential investment because of the housing tax credit. And the decline in government spending would have been measurably greater without the money from the stimulus. So the stimulus was very, very important in the 4th quarter." [Bloomberg via Think Progress, 1/29/10; emphasis added]

CLAIM: Rep. Paul Ryan claims America needs to reduce the deficit, lower taxes.

REP. PAUL RYAN: Economists are telling us, stop doing all of this spending. Get your handle on the debt and the deficit, and lower tax rates, for employers, for workers, that's the best way to grow the economy.

FACT: Tax cuts reduce revenue and increase the deficit.

  • 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 1/31/10]
  • CBPP: Tax Cuts "Have Contributed To Revenues Dropping In 2004 To The Lowest Level As A Share Of The Economy Since 1950." According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "The Bush tax cuts have contributed to revenues dropping in 2004 to the lowest level as a share of the economy since 1950, and have been a major contributor to the dramatic shift from large projected budget surpluses to projected deficits as far as the eye can see." [CBPP, accessed 1/31/10]

This Week

CLAIM: Sen. Thune falsely claimed the Administration has pursued policies that are "job killers."

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Many of the proposals the administration has put forward are jobs killers.

FACT: Initiatives pursued by President Obama and Democrats in Congress would create millions of American jobs.

The Recovery Act Created Millions Of American Jobs

  • CBO: The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Has Created Up To 1.6 Million American Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, "CBO now estimates that in the third quarter of calendar year 2009, ARRA's policies raised real GDP by between 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.3 and 0.9 percentage points, and increased the number of people employed by between 600,000 and 1.6 million compared with what those values would have been otherwise." [CBO, 11/30/09; emphasis added]

Clean Energy Legislation Would Create Millions Of American Jobs

  • Investment In Clean Energy Technology Would Create Up To 1.9 Million American Jobs.  According to the University of California-Berkeley, "new analysis by the University of California shows conclusively that climate policy will strengthen the U.S. economy as a whole. Full adoption of the ACES package of pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs." [UC Berkeley, accessed 1/22/10]
  • Every Single State Will Gain Jobs From An Investment In Clean Energy Technologies. According to the Center for American Progress, investments in clean energy projects would create 1.7 million American jobs in every state in the country. [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

Health Care Reform Would Create 400,000 American Jobs

  • Health Care Reform Could Create Up To 400,000 Jobs Within The Next 10 Years. According to the Center for American Progress:

Clearly, health care reform that reduces premium growth is economic policy as well as health policy. The reform goals of a healthier America are well understood. In this paper, however, we demonstrate a less emphasized point about the health care reform legislation currently before Congress-if successful, its provisions can lower the costs of business and increase both the number of jobs by 250,000 to 400,000 annually over the next decade and increase wage growth.

Health care reform that includes even more robust measures to contain health care costs could further enhance job creation. In an economy that has lost 5 million jobs in the past year and where wages have stagnated for many years, this is a strong reason to pass health care reform that contains growth in health care costs and modernizes the U.S. health care system. [Center for American Progress, New Jobs Through Better Health Care, January 2010; emphasis added]

CLAIM: Sen. Thune falsely claimed the Massachusetts special election was a "referendum on health care."

SEN. JOHN THUNE: Coming back to what Massachusetts was about, I think there are different interpretations of that, the administration says, 'well we just need to retool our message.' I think the message was, 'we want to change directions. This thing is moving too fast toward more government.' It was a referendum on health care.

FACT: Polling shows that, like the nation as a whole, Bay Staters support the aims of health care reform and want Sen.-elect Scott Brown to work with Democrats on health care reform.

  • Poll: Majority Of Massachusetts Voters Support State Universal Health Care.  According to a Washington Post/Kaiser/Harvard Massachusetts special election poll, the majority (68%) of Massachusetts voters support the state's Universal Health Insurance Law.  Of Brown voters, 51% support the law while only 44% oppose.  [Washington Post, accessed 1/26/10]
  • Poll: Americans Support Current Bill, Want It Strengthened. CBS News released a telling poll on January 11, 2010.  Regarding extending coverage to the uninsured, the poll showed that 57% of Americans support the current plan or want it stronger - only 32% believe it goes too far.  On controlling health care costs, 60% support the plan or want it to go even further - only 24% think it goes too far.  And concerning new regulations on health insurance companies, 61% support the plan or want it stronger - only 27% believe it goes too far. [CBS News poll, 1/6-10/10]
  • 48% Of Brown Voters Want Him To Work With Democrats On Health Care Reform Legislation.  During a Washington Post/Kaiser/Harvard Massachusetts special election poll, respondents were asked, "thinking specifically about the changes to the country's health care system proposed by Obama and the Democrats, would you prefer that Brown (work with the Democrats on these changes) or (try to stop these changes from happening)?"  70% of total voters responded "work with the Democrats on these changes" while only 28% answered "try to stop these changes from happening." Of Brown voters, 48% said they wanted him to work with Democrats while 50% said they wanted him to stop the legislation.    [Washington Post, accessed 1/26/10]
  • 75% Of Brown Voters Want Him To Work With Congressional Democrats.  When Massachusetts special election voters were asked, "When senator-elect Brown goes to Washington, do you think he should mainly work (with the Democrats to try to get some Republican ideas into legislation) or should mainly work (to stop the Democratic agenda)?" 75% of Brown votes want Brown to "mainly work with the Democrats to try to get some Republican ideas into legislation" while only 19% said they wanted Brown to "mainly work to stop the Democratic agenda." [Washington Post, accessed 1/26/10]

Poll: Massachusetts Voters Are Happier With Obama Policies Than With Republican Policies.  When Massachusetts special election voters were asked about their opinions of Washington policies,

"How do you personally feel about the policies offered by the Republicans in Congress?" only

     40% enthusiastic/satisfied
     58% dissatisfied/angry

"How do you personally feel about the Obama administration's policies?" 

     52% enthusiastic/satisfied
     47% dissatisfied/angry
     [Washington Post, accessed 1/26/10]

Meet the Press

CLAIM: Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) falsely claimed that American citizens want President Obama and Congress to stop acting on the current agenda.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER: "There aren't that many places where we can come together.  The president was the most liberal member of the United States Senate.  You don't get there by accident.  And if you look at the policies that we've seen over the course of this year from the administration and his Democrat colleagues in Congress, there are all these leftist proposals.  And the people of Massachusetts, the people of Virginia, the people of New Jersey are sending a pretty loud signal, just like the other 47 states, to Washington saying 'Stop!  This is way more than we ever wanted Washington to do.'"

FACT: A majority of Americans support the proposals put forth by the White House.

  • 71% Of Americans Think President Obama Is Moving The Country In The Right Direction.  A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll conducted following the State of the Union revealed that Americans support the President's agenda and believe the country is headed in the right direction.

"What was your overall reaction to President Obama's speech tonight: very positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, or very negative?"

     Very Positive: 48%
     Somewhat Positive: 30%
     Somewhat Negative: 15%
     Very Negative: 6%
     Mixed/Unsure: 2%

"Do you think the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?"

     Right Direction: 71%
     Wrong Direction: 27%
     Unsure: 2%

"So far, would you say Barack Obama has had the right priorities, or that he hasn't paid enough attention to the country's most important problems?"

     Right Priorities: 55%
     Hasn't Paid Attention to Biggest Problems: 44%
     Unsure: 1%

"How confident are you in Barack Obama's abilities to carry out his duties as president: very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not confident at all?"

     Very Confident: 38%
     Somewhat Confident: 28%
     Not Too Confident: 22%
     Not at all Confident: 12%

"Do you think that President Obama's plan will or will not succeed in . . . ?"

"Improving the Economy"

     Will Succeed: 67%
     Will Not Succeed: 32%
     Unsure: 1%

"Creating or saving millions of jobs"

     Will Succeed: 59%
     Will Not Succeed: 39%
     Unsure: 3%

"Improving the nation's health care system"

     Will Succeed: 51%
     Will Not Succeed: 46%br> Unsure: 4%

"Reducing the federal budget deficit"

     Will Succeed: 49%
     Will Not Succeed: 47%
     Unsure: 4%

"Do you think President Obama's speech tonight shows that he will have the same goals and priorities that he had last year, or do you think his speech shows that he will move his administration in a new direction this year?"

     Same Goals, Priorities: 50%
     New Direction: 49%
     Unsure: 1%

[CNN/Opinion Research Poll, 1/27/10; via PollingReport.com accessed 1/31/10]

Print