RNC Fails To Convince On President Obama's "Failed Promises"

January 09, 2012 3:16 pm ET

Touting the Republican National Committee's newly released "Five Failed Promises," RNC Chairman Reince Preibus bragged last week on Fox News that "the facts are on our side, and they're indisputable." Political Correction took a look at these "failed promises" and found the same recycled GOP falsehoods and distortions. Blaming President Obama for the recession and its aftermath, the RNC neglects to mention 22 months of job growth under Obama policies that helped the faltering economy start to turn around.  On health care, the RNC got a bit more creative. Using misleading statistics and wildly exaggerated numbers, the RNC creates a nail-biting picture of "skyrocketing cost" and declining access that it blames on the Affordable Care Act — a dishonest characterization of the effects of the health care law.

CLAIM: President Obama "Failed On Jobs" 

RNC: "Since President Obama Took Office The Nation Has Lost 1.9 Million Jobs." From the Republican National Committee's website: 

[GOP.com, 1/3/12]

FACT: Since President Obama's Policies Took Effect, The Nation Has Gained Over 1.9 Million Jobs

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]

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. [...]

[PolitiFact.com, 10/27/10, emphasis added]

Since June 2009, The Private Sector Has Gained Over 1.9 Million Net Jobs. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there were 107,936,000 private-sector jobs in June 2009. As of December 2011, the most recent report available, the data show that total is up to 109,928,000 — a net gain of 1,992,000 jobs in the private sector. [BLS.gov, accessed 1/6/12]

The Private Sector Has Added Jobs For 22 Straight Months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the private sector has added jobs for 22 straight months, since March 2010. [BLS.gov, accessed 1/6/12]

CLAIM: Obama "Failed On Spending And Deficits"

RNC: "President Obama Has Racked Up The Three Largest Deficits In U.S. History." From the Republican National Committee's website:

[GOP.com, 1/3/12]

FACT: Bush-Era Policies Spurred Today's Massive Debt And Deficits

Major Bush Policies Cost $5.07 Trillion Between Fiscal Years 2002-2009. According to the New York Times:

Budget estimates that didn't foresee the recessions in 2001 and in 2008 and 2009 also contributed to deficits. Mr. Obama's policies, taken out to 2017, add to deficits, but not by nearly as much. A few lessons can be drawn from the numbers. First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up. In future decades, when rising health costs with an aging population hit the budget in full force, deficits are projected to be far deeper than they are now. Effective health care reform, and a willingness to pay more taxes, will be the biggest factors in controlling those deficits.

Policy Changes

[New York Times7/23/11]

Present "Huge Deficits" Due To Bush Tax Cuts, Two Wars, And Recession. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities explains: "If not for the Bush tax cuts, the deficit-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression (including the cost of policymakers' actions to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term." [CBPP.org, 5/10/11]

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities prepared the following graphic showing that the Bush tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for nearly half of public debt by 2019:

Description: http://s3.mediamattersaction.org.s3.amazonaws.com/static/images/bushtax2019.jpg

[CPBB.org, 5/20/11]

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

Description: CBPP

[CBPP.org, 5/10/11]

CLAIM: Obama Is Responsible For Higher Health Care Premiums

RNC: President Obama Failed To Make Health Care More Affordable. From the Republican National Committee's website:

[GOP.com, 1/3/12]

FACT: Impact Of Health Care Reform On Premium Increases Is Minimal

Rising Health Care Costs Are Responsible For Vast Majority Of Premium Increases. From FactCheck.org:

Health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored family plans jumped a startling 9 percent from 2010 to 2011, and Republicans have blamed the federal health care law. But they exaggerate. The law — the bulk of which has yet to be implemented — has caused only about a 1 percent to 3 percent increase in premiums, according to several independent experts. The rest of the 9 percent rise is due to rising health care costs, as usual.

Furthermore, the increase caused by the law is a result of the increased benefits it requires, a factor Republicans generally ignore. So far, insurance companies have been required to do the following:

§  Cover preventive care without copays or deductibles.

§  Allow adult children to stay on parents' policies until age 26.

§  Increase annual coverage limits.

§  Cover children without regard for preexisting conditions.

[Factcheck.org, 10/24/11, emphasis added]

FACT: More Young People Are Receiving Health Insurance Because Of The Affordable Care Act

Obama Administration: 2.5 Million Young Americans Ages 19-25 Gain Health Care Coverage. From the Associated Press:

The number of young Americans ages 19-25 lacking health insurance has shrunk by 2.5 million since President Barack Obama's health care overhaul took effect, the administration announced in an analysis released Wednesday.

That drop is 2½ times as large as the decline indicated by previous government and private estimates from earlier this year, which showed about 1 million had gained coverage.

[AP, 12/14/11]

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