A Comprehensive Fact Check Of Gov. Barbour's Comprehensive CPAC Falsehoods

February 15, 2011 1:58 pm ET

As the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference got underway, potential 2012 presidential candidate Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) took to the microphone to deliver a rambling half-hour-long speech crammed with tired talking points copy-and-pasted from the prior speeches of more prominent Republicans.

CLAIM: Cold Weather Undermines The Case For Climate Change

Gov. Haley Barbour:

Thank you for that warm welcome. Speaking of warm, man, this global warming's about to freeze me to death.

FACT: No, It Doesn't

Scientists: "Occasional Cold Snaps Or Blizzards" Don't Affect "Ample Evidence" Of Warming Trend. From ABC News:

As Washington, D.C., and much of the rest of the East Coast dig out from another blizzard, some politicians are using the frigid temperatures and snow-covered streets to support their claims that global warming does not exist.

Scientists, however, are quick to repudiate those comments, firing back that a few days, or even a few weeks, of inclement or cold weather in one part of the country does not disprove climate change -- a phenomenon, they say, that affects the entire planet over the course of decades.

"This conflation of weather and global climate is a classic ploy by skeptics," said Mark Serreze, a professor at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center.

"Mother Nature doesn't care about whether you speak in loud voices, or what your political affiliation is. It just does its thing. There is always variability in weather. It's all in the science," he said.

Climate scientists say there is ample evidence that the planet is warming, and that occasional cold snaps or blizzards are blips that do not affect that overall trend.

"You cannot use a system or systems over a short period of time to describe if there is global warming. It's measured over a long, long period of time. This is a little speck in that duration," said Brian Korty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. [ABC News, 2/10/10, emphasis added]

CLAIM: The Stimulus Bill "Only Stimulated More Government"

Gov. Haley Barbour:

When America needed a growth strategy to revive our recession-wracked economy, the Obama administration and the Pelosi-Reid Congress gave us a $1 trillion stimulus bill that only stimulated more government.

FACT: The Recovery Act Brought Us Back From The Brink Of A Depression

Recovery Act Helped Avert A Major Depression. 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]

CBO: The Recovery Act Created Jobs, Lowered Unemployment, And Boosted GDP. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:

CBO estimates that ARRA's policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [CBO,November 2010]

FACT: While The Private Sector Has Added Jobs, Government Employment Has Decreased

President Obama's Policies Began Affecting The Economy After July 2009. 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." [Sonecon.com, 8/10/10, emphasis added]

Since July 2009, The Private Sector Has Seen Net Gain Of 381,000 Jobs. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there were 107,649,000 private sector jobs in July 2009. As of January 2011, the most recent report available, the data show that private sector employment is up to 108,030,000 - a net gain of 381,000 jobs in the private sector. [BLS.gov, accessed 1/23/11]

  • In Past 11 Months, The Private Sector Has Added 1.258 MILLION Jobs.According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the private sector lost 21,000 net jobs in February 2010, bringing total private sector employment to 106,772,000. Over the 11 subsequent months, private employment has increased each month, and as of January 2011 the data show total private sector of employment of 108,030,000 - an increase of 1.258 million jobs in 11 consecutive months of growth. [BLS.gov, accessed 1/23/11]

Government Employment Is Down 309,000 Jobs Since July 2009. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there were 22,544,000 jobs in the government sector in July 2009. As of January 2011, the most recent report available, the data show 22,235,000 government jobs - a net loss of 309,000. [BLS.gov, accessed 1/23/11]

CLAIM: "Government-Run" Health Care "Stifles Job Creation" And "Drives Up The Cost Of Health Care"

Gov. Haley Barbour:

As unemployment soared to 10 percent, America needed and called for policies that would spur job creation. Instead of focusing on jobs, the Obama administration and his demonstration spent a year concocting a government-run health care system, one that stifles job creation as well as drives up the cost of health care.

FACT: There Is No "Government-Run Health Care"

PolitiFact: Law "Relies Largely On The Free Market." As reported by PolitiFact.com:

"Government takeover" conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

• Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up "exchanges" where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don't have it.

• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

• The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine. [PolitiFact.com, 12/16/10, emphasis added]

Non-Partisan Fact Checkers PolitiFact.com Named "Government Takeover Of Health Care" Their "Lie Of The Year" For 2010. According to PolitiFact: "In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to overhaul America's health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a 'government takeover.' 'Takeovers are like coups,' Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. 'They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom.' The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the 'public option' concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan. But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn't let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry. PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen 'government takeover of health care' as the 2010 Lie of the Year." [PolitiFact.com, 12/16/10, emphasis added]

FACT: Health Care Reform Doesn't Kill Jobs

CBO Report Says Health Care Law Will "Reduce The Amount Of Labor That Workers Choose To Supply." From a CBO report discussing the health care law: "The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount - roughly half a percent -primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply." [CBO, The Budget and Economic Outlook: An UpdateAugust 2010, emphasis added]

AP: Republican "Job-Killing" Claim Demonstrates "How Statistics Get Used And Abused." From the Associated Press:

[The GOP] cites the 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the original analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced the number.

What follows is a story of how statistics get used and abused in Washington.

What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of it would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job.

"The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount -roughly half a percent- primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply," budget office number crunchers said in a report from last year.

That's not how it got translated in the new report from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other top Republicans.

CBO "has determined that the law will reduce the 'amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent,' an estimate that adds up to roughly 650,000 jobs lost," the GOP version said.

Gone was the caveat that the impact would be small, mainly due to people working less.

[Associated Press, 1/18/11, emphasis added]

PolitiFact Rated Claim That Health Care Reform Kills Jobs "False." From PolitiFact.com's fact check of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's claim that the health care law is "job killing":

Republicans have used the "job-killing" claim hundreds of times -- so often that they used the phrase in the name of the bill. It implies that job losses will be one of the most significant effects of the law. But they have flimsy evidence to back it up.

The phrase suggests a massive decline in employment, but the data doesn't support that. The Republican evidence is extrapolated from a report that was talking about a reduction in the labor supply rather than the loss of jobs, or based on measures that weren't included in the final health care law. We rate the statement False. [PolitiFact.com, 1/19/11]

FACT: Health Care Reform Controls Health Care Costs

Affordable Care Act Insures 34 Million New People With 1 Percent Health Care Spending Increase. According to the Washington Post's Ezra Klein:

First, be clear about what's being estimated. The Congressional Budget Office's estimates look at the deficit. CMS is looking at total national health expenditures. This often confuses people into thinking that there's conflict between the two sets of numbers when there isn't: CBO says that federal spending is going to go up to pay for the coverage expansion, but that savings and revenue will go up by even more, leading to a net reduction in the federal deficit. CMS is looking only at the spending side. And here's what it finds: In 2019, implementation of the Affordable Care Act will reduce the ranks of the uninsured by 34 million people and increase nation health expenditures by 1 percent. One percent... So that's the bottom line of the report: We're covering 34 million people and come 2019, spending is expected to be one percentage point -- and falling - above what it would've been if we'd done nothing. [Washington Post4/23/10, emphasis added]

After One-Time Spending Increase In 2014, Costs Grow More Slowly Than They Would Without Reform. According to the Washington Post's Ezra Klein:

[W]e're covering about 10 percent of the country and increasing spending growth by 0.2 percent. Seems like a good deal to me. But it's actually a better deal than that. Here's what the cost curve -- or maybe I should say cost line -- looks like:


What you're seeing here isn't the cost curve bending up. It's a one-time increase in the level of spending. That's the big jump in 2014, the year the exchanges and subsidies come online. So when you compare 2014 to 2013, spending growth seems like it's gone up a bunch. But by 2016, we're back to normal. In fact, we're better than normal [according to a September CMS report]: "For 2015-19, national health spending is now projected to increase 6.7 percent per year, on average -- slightly less than the 6.8 percent average annual growth rate projected in February 2010."

In other words, 2014 is a one-time increase in spending level as we get 30 million new people covered. After 2014, costs grow more slowly than they would without the health-care reform bill. [Washington Post9/10/10, emphasis added]

CLAIM: Obama's Policies Are "Hostile To Job Creation"

Gov. Haley Barbour:

Despite job creation being the top priority for our country, this Obama's policies have been more hostile to job creation than any other I've ever seen. Now after his policies have contributed to unemployment rates stuck at 9-plus percent for almost two years, suddenly president Obama and the democrats are paying lip service to job creation.

FACT: The Job Market Has Been Improving Ever Since President Obama's Economic Policies Took Effect

January 2011: Unemployment Rate Fell By 0.4 Percentage Points. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. ... The unemployment rate (9.0 percent) declined by 0.4 percentage point for the second month in a row. The number of unemployed persons decreased by about 600,000 in January to 13.9 million, while the labor force was unchanged." [BLS.gov, 2/4/11]

Private Sector Has Added Jobs For 11 Consecutive Months. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data on monthly gains and losses in private sector jobs, the private sector lost 21,000 jobs in February 2010. But private sector employment has increased in each of the subsequent 11 months, the data show. [BLS.gov, accessed 2/7/11]

The Washington Monthly published a chart showing BLS data for monthly job gains and losses in the private sector over the past three years, with red indicating Bush's presidency and blue indicating Obama's:


[Washington Monthly2/4/11]

FLASHBACK: When President Obama Was Sworn In, The Economy Was Hemorrhaging Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs Each Month

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:

Job Losses

[Washington Post8/12/10]

  • From January 2008 Through July 2009, Economy Lost Nearly 400,000 Private Sector Jobs Per Month On Average. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data on monthly gains and losses in private sector jobs, the private sector added 4,000 jobs in December 2008. In July 2009, the sixth full month of the Obama presidency, the private sector shed 287,000 jobs. Over that 19-month span, the private sector shed 395,950 jobs per month on average, the data show.
  • Dec 07


    Jan 08


    Feb 08


    Mar 08


    Apr 08


    May 08


    Jun 08


    Jul 08


    Aug 08


    Sep 08


    Oct 08


    Nov 08


    Dec 08


    Jan 09


    Feb 09


    Mar 09


    Apr 09


    May 09


    Jun 09


    Jul 09




    [BLS.gov, accessed 1/25/11]

    PolitiFact: "True" That "Most Job Losses" Happened Before Obama Policies Took Effect. According to PolitiFact.com's analysis of President Obama's statement that "most of the jobs that we lost were lost before the economic policies we put in place had any effect": "Looking at BLS data on seasonally adjusted non-farm employment from December 2007, when the recession officially began, to January 2009, the month before the stimulus was enacted (a 25-month period), the jobs number declined by 4.4 million. ... When [Obama] refers to his economic policies, we presume he is referring to his main economic stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It passed in February 2009, but it took several months before the impact of its spending was felt in the economy. Job loss didn't stop, but Obama is right that it slowed down. In the 19 months from February 2009 through September 2010, the month of the most recent preliminary data, the overall job decline in the private and public sectors was 2.6 million. And the number of jobs lost per month has declined from around 700,000 a month at the beginning of the administration to months in which there were small net gains. ... 'I watched the president on Stewart's show last night, and I thought his basic point about the timing of the employment losses was correct and ought to be noncontroversial,' Gary Burtless, a labor markets expert at the centrist-to-liberal Brookings Institution said in an e-mail." [PolitiFact.com, 10/27/10, emphasis added]

    CLAIM: The Obama Administration's Policies Have Wrought $1.5 Trillion In Deficits

    Gov. Haley Barbour:

    Make no mistake. The reckless policies of the Obama administration and the left-wing Congress have brought America to a crossroads. The Congressional Budget Office informs us this year's deficit will hit a staggering record $1.5 trillion. For every dollar it spends the federal government will have to borrow 40 cents, much of it from the Chinese government. And my generation's children and grandchildren — that's many of you — will be handed the bill, a gargantuan debt for you to pay. In fact, CBO reports that this year the federal government will spend $3.7 trillion but will only take in $2.2 trillion.

    FACT: On The Day He Was Sworn Into Office, President Obama Faced A $1.2 Trillion Deficit Because Of Spending Under President Bush

    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]

    FACT: The Recession And Bush-Era Policies Are Responsible For Deficit Projected By CBO

    CBO Report: Surge In Budget Deficits A Result Of Pre-Recession Budget Imbalances And The Recession. From the CBO's Budget and Economic Outlook report summary:

    The United States faces daunting economic and budgetary challenges. The economy has struggled to recover from the recent recession, which was triggered by a large decline in house prices and a financial crisis-events unlike anything this country has seen since the Great Depression.

    For the federal government, the sharply lower revenues and elevated spending deriving from the financial turmoil and severe drop in economic activity-combined with the costs of various policies implemented in response to those conditions and an imbalance between revenues and spending that predated the recession-have caused budget deficits to surge in the past two years.  [Congressional Budget Office, January 2011]

    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, accessed1/31/10, 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.org, 6/28/10]

    CLAIM: Federal Spending Has Gotten "A Whole Lot Worse In The Last Two Years"

    Gov. Haley Barbour:

    Now we've gotta be honest with each other. The failure to control federal spending occurred under Republicans as well as Democrats, though I have to say it's gotten a whole lot worse in the last two years. Consider this: it took about 220 years for the American government to accumulate $5 trillion in debt. Under the Obama administration, our debt will grow by $5 trillion in less than four years.

    FACT: Bush Nearly Doubled The National Debt

    Under The Bush Administration, The National Debt Spiked From $5.73 Trillion To $10.7 Trillion. According to PolitiFact.com:

    When Bush took office, the national debt was $5.73 trillion. When he left, it was $10.7 trillion. That's a difference of $4.97 trillion, almost $1 trillion more than what Emanuel said.

    But the debt has shot up significantly during the past few months, mostly due to the economic meltdown of 2008 and the government's efforts to shore up the federal banking system.

    As recently as Sept. 18, 2008, Emanuel would have been correct with the $4 trillion number. [PolitiFact.com, 1/18/09]

    Publicly Held Debt Skyrocketed While Bush Was In Office. Below is a graph prepared by Minority Leader Pelosi's office showing the increase of public debt during the years Bush was in office:

    Publicly held debt

    [U.S. Treasury via Flickr.com, accessed 1/25/11]

    CLAIM: Obama Tried To Raise Taxes And Will Try Again

    Gov. Haley Barbour:

    The president even told Bill O'Reilly Sunday that taxes hadn't gone up his first two years. What he failed to mention was the lack of a huge tax increase was solely because he couldn't get any Republican senators to vote for his proposal for the largest tax increase in American history. And then he told us in his own State of the Union address that he would push for that gigantic tax increase in this Congress.

    FACT: President Obama & Congressional Democrats Have "Cut Taxes Across The Board For Working Families"

    The Recovery Act Cut Taxes For 95 Percent Of Working Families. According to PolitiFact.com:

    Under the stimulus bill, single workers got $400, and working couples got $800. The Internal Revenue Service issued new guidelines to reduce withholdings for income tax, so many workers saw a small increase in their checks in April 2009.

    The tax cut was part of Obama's campaign promises. During the campaign, Obama said he wanted $500 for each worker and $1,000 for working couples. Since the final number was a bit less than he promised, we rated his promise a Compromise on our Obameter, where we rate Obama's campaign promises for fulfillment. 

    During the campaign, the independent Tax Policy Center researched how Obama's tax proposals would affect workers. It concluded 94.3 percent of workers would receive a tax cut under Obama's plan based on the tax credit to offset payroll taxes. According to the analysis, the people who wouldn't get a tax cut are those who make more than $250,000 for couples or $200,000 for a single person. [PolitiFact.com, 1/27/10]

    CBS News: "One Third Of The Recovery Act Was Made Up Of Tax Credits." According to CBS News:

    One third of the Recovery Act was made up of tax credits, the White House emphasizes.

    "No one I've met is looking for a handout," Mr. Obama said in his address Saturday. "And that's not what these tax cuts are. Instead, they're targeted relief to help middle class families weather the storm, to jumpstart our economy, and to bring the fundamentals of the American Dream -- making an honest living, earning an education, owning a home, and raising a family -- back within reach for millions of Americans."

    The credits included:

    • An increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit
    • An expansion of the Child Tax Credit
    • For those who work, the Making Work Pay tax credit offered $400 per individual and $800 per couple
    • For those who lost their job, there was a 65 percent tax credit to help cover the cost of health care. The first $2,400 in unemployment benefits went tax-free
    • Up to $2,500 under the American Opportunity Credit for students and parents paying for college tuition
    • $8,000 for first-time home buyers
    • A deduction of state and local taxes paid on a new car
    • Up to $1,500 for home improvements to increase energy efficiency

    Even conservative advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, which advocates for a single, national flat tax rate, found some praise for the Recovery Act -- specifically for provisions allowing small businesses to write off a wider range of business expenses. [CBS News, 4/15/10]

    FACT: In The State Of The Union, Obama Only Proposed Getting Rid Of Tax Breaks For The Wealthiest 2 Percent

    In State Of The Union, Obama Only Proposed Getting Rid Of Tax Breaks For Wealthiest 2 Percent. From President Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address: "And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break." [WhiteHouse.gov, 1/25/11]

    PolitiFact: Dems Consistently Say Only Tax Cuts For Wealthiest Will Be Allowed To Expire. According to the non-partisan PolitiFact.com, in their analysis of an allegation from Rep. Mike Pence that Democrats want all tax brackets to rise:

    Do Democrats want every tax bracket to rise, as Pence suggests? In a word, no.

    For many months, Democratic officials have consistently said that they intend to let only the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals lapse. The cutoff they usually suggest is $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. President Obama campaigned on just such a plan, and we've logged those promises into our Obameter campaign promises database.


    Pence is right that every tax bracket will go up if the law is not extended. Still, we think the claim that Democrats don't want to extend the law is inaccurate. While the legislative drafting is still in process, the Democratic majority in Congress has made clear that it plans to extend tax cuts for all but the top couple percentage points of the income distribution. So it's highly misleading for him to say that Democrats actually want to see all the bill's cuts expire. Indeed, Pence's comment verges on a scare tactic.

    [PolitiFact.com, 7/22/10, emphasis original]

    FACT: Letting Bush Tax Cuts Expire Would Not Have Been "The Largest Tax Increase In American History"

    PolitiFact: Neither The Expiration Of All The Bush Tax Cuts Nor Those For High Earners Would Be "The Largest" Tax Hike In History. According to the non-partisan PolitiFact.com, in an analysis of a similar claim made by Sarah Palin on Fox News Sunday:

    We ran the number with some help from tax experts and found that if only the tax cuts for high earners expire, the resulting tax increases would not be the largest in history. Tax increases for high earners would be roughly 0.4 percent of GDP in the first year they take effect. That's significantly less than a 1982 tax increase signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. The tax increase resulting from the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 came to 1.23 percent of GDP when the tax changes were fully implemented, four years after the law's passage.

    If you let all the Bush tax cuts expire, the tax increase would come to just above 2.2 percent of GDP. Clearly, that would be larger than the Reagan tax hike of 1982. But it would be smaller than one of the tax increases passed during World War II -- the Revenue Act of 1942, which is estimated at 5.04 percent of GDP. [PolitiFact.com, 8/1/10, emphasis added]

    CLAIM: Letting Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy Expire Would've Harmed Small Businesses

    Gov. Haley Barbour:

    At a time when we desperately needed incentives to create more jobs, President Obama and his congressional allies tried to impose the biggest tax increase in American history on small business owners by letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

    FACT: Very Few Small Businesses Would Be Affected by Democratic Proposals

    CAP: "Exceedingly Few Small Businesses" Fall Into Top Tax Brackets. From the Center for American Progress: "Exceedingly few small businesses will be affected if the Bush tax rates for the rich expire, and those that are will be making enough money to be paying in the top two income tax brackets. At the end of the day, just 12 percent of the revenue raised by allowing those tax breaks to expire will be paid by business people with employees, according to the Congressional Research Service." [Center for American Progress, 11/15/10]

    FactCheck.org: "Only 2 Percent" Of Those Reporting Business Income Face Higher Taxes Under Democratic Proposal. According to FactCheck.org: "[O]nly 27 percent of all upper-income tax filers report business income that accounts for more than half of their wages. It's likely that a small-business owner would make most of his or her income from the small business. ... In the end, it's unclear exactly what percentage of these top earners are truly small businesses. What is clear, however, is that we're not talking about all that many small businesses in the first place. The vast majority of individuals who report business income or losses are not making upwards of $200,000 a year. In fact, only 2 percent of all those reporting business income in 2009 will earn enough to fall in the top two brackets. As we explained back when Obama's tax plan was attacked on the campaign trail, the overwhelming majority of these mom-and-pop shops we hear about would not see their taxes go up under Obama's proposal." [FactCheck.org, 3/6/09, emphasis added]

    Just 12 Percent Of Money Raised By Increasing Top Rates Comes From "Small Businesses With Actual Workers." As reported by Businessweek: "The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which analyzes issues for lawmakers, largely agreed with Obama in a Sept. 3 report that considered only taxpayers with employees. Its conclusion: Small businesses with actual workers would pay only about 12 percent of the higher taxes. 'Across-the-board tax cuts for high-income individuals are not efficiently targeted to small businesses,' wrote author Jane G. Gravelle." [Businessweek9/23/10, emphasis added]

    Allowing Tax Cuts For The Rich To Expire Will Not "Adversely Affect Small Business And Job Growth." According to the Congressional Research Service, "Research has shown that tax cuts directed to high income taxpayers have a small stimulative effect because they tend to save any additional income. Increasing tax rates for the richest 2% of taxpayers (by allowing the high income tax cuts to expire) will likely neither significantly decrease consumer expenditures nor adversely affect small business and job growth." [Congressional Research Service, 10/27/10, internal citation deleted for clarity]

    CLAIM: Clean Energy Policies Kill Jobs And Cause Electricity Prices To "Skyrocket"

    Gov. Haley Barbour:

    Let's talk about another job growth killer you don't hear about as much: the Obama energy policy. And I'm glad to hear my old friend Speaker Newt Gingrich also talk to you about energy. Just as ObamaCare will increase the cost of health care, the Obama energy policy is driving up the cost of energy. And not by accident. And remember, while health care is 18 percent of the American economy. Energy costs affect 100 percent of our economy. You remember the cap-and-trade tax? Well in November — I mean, in 2008, before he was elected in November, then-Senator Obama told the San Francisco chronicle, "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." And if Senate Republicans hadn't killed the cap-and-trade tax, electric bills for working Americans would have skyrocketed. Except there would be even fewer Americans working if that happened. American manufacturing would be crushed by Obama's energy proposals.

    FACT: Clean Energy Legislation Would Boost The Economy

    Clean Energy Legislation Would Boost GDP By Up To $111 Billion. According to the University of California-Berkeley: "Comprehensive clean energy and climate protection legislation, like the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) that was passed by the House of Representatives in June, would strengthen the U.S. economy by establishing pollution limits and incentives that together will drive large-scale investments in clean energy and energy efficiency...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 ... boost GDP by $39 billion-$111 billion. These economic gains are over and above the growth the U.S. would see in the absence of such a bill." [UC Berkeley, accessed 1/22/10]

    Clean Energy Legislation Would Boost Household Income By Nearly $1,200 Per Year. According to the University of California-Berkeley: "Full adoption of the ACES package of pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs, increase annual household income by $487-$1,175 per year. ... These economic gains are over and above the growth the U.S. would see in the absence of such a bill." [UC Berkeley, accessed 1/22/10]

    FACT: Clean Energy Legislation Would Cost Little For American Families

    Reuters: "Climate Legislation Moving Through Congress Would Have Only A Modest Impact On Consumers." According to Reuters: "A new U.S. government study on Tuesday adds to a growing list of experts concluding that climate legislation moving through Congress would have only a modest impact on consumers, adding around $100 to household costs in 2020. Under the climate legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June, electricity, heating oil and other bills for average families will rise $134 in 2020 and $339 in 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country's top energy forecaster." [Reuters8/5/09]

    EIA: Clean Energy Legislation Would Cost Only $0.23 Per Day. According to a House Energy and Commerce Committee factsheet of the Energy Information Administration's analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act: "The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has completed an analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives... The overall impact on the average household, including the benefit of many of the energy efficiency provisions in the legislation, would be 23 cents per day ($83 per year).This is consistent with analyses by the Congressional Budget Office which projects a cost of 48 cents per day ($175 per year) and the Environmental Protection Agency which projects a cost of 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year)." [House Energy and Commerce Committee, EIA's Economic Analysis Of "The American Clean Energy And Security Act Of 2009," 8/4/09; emphasis original]

    CBO: In 2020, Cap-And-Trade Will Only Cost An Average Of $175 Annually, "About A Postage Stamp A Day." In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote: "On that basis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net annual economy wide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion-or about $175 per household." Rep. Edward Markey noted it was "the cost of about a postage stamp a day." [CBO, 6/19/09; House Committee on Energy & Commerce Release, 6/20/09]

    Cap-And-Trade Would DECREASE Energy Prices For Low-Income Americans. In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote, "households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020." [CBO, 6/19/09; emphasis original]

    EPA: Senate's American Power Act Would Cost Families $79-$146 Per Year Over The Next Four Decades. According to The Hill: "A new EPA analysis of Senate climate change legislation estimates the plan would impose an average annual household cost of $79 to $146 over 40 years." [The Hill, 6/15/10]

    Peterson Institute: American Power Act Would Only Cause "Between A $136 Increase And A $35 Decrease" In Annual Energy Costs Per Household. In its analysis of the American Power Act, the Peterson Institute for International Economics wrote: "In our analysis, households see somewhere between a $136 increase and a $35 dollar decrease in annual energy expenditures, depending on future improvements in vehicle efficiency. The American Power Act also returns much of the revenue raised through the sale of pollution permits to households, with further mitigates the impact of higher energy prices." [Peterson Institute, May 2010]

    FACT: Clean Energy Investment Would Create Thousands Of 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]

    Investment In Clean Energy Technology Creates FOUR TIMES As Many Jobs As An Investment In Oil & Gas. According to the Center for American Progress, "spending $1 million on energy efficiency and renewable energy produces a much larger expansion of employment than spending the same amount on fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Among fossil fuels, job creation in coal is about 32 percent greater than that for oil and natural gas. The employment creation for energy efficiency-retrofitting and mass transit-is 2.5 times to four times larger than that for oil and natural gas. With renewable energy, the job creation ranges between 2.5 times to three times more than that for oil and gas." [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy6/17/09]