Why Does GOP Make Ridiculous Claims?

Dave Johnson

Republicans said Obama “tripled the deficit” but they were talking about Bush’s last budget year. They said Obama massively increased spending, but Bush did that and Obama did not. They said Obama raised taxes, but he cut taxes. And now they say that we have fewer jobs because of Obama, when jobs are up by millions from the trough resulting from the Bush crash. What is going on, and why do they continue to make ridiculous claims?

Some Facts

First, some facts. Then, let’s look at the reasoning behind the ridiculous lies.

Deficits and debt: Republicans claim that Obama “tripled the deficit” in 2009. But here’s the thing, the 2009 fiscal budget year was Bush’s last budget. That huge $1.4 trillion deficit that shocked everyone was reported in October, 2009, for the budget year ended September 30, when Obama had only been in office 8 months.

When Bush took office the country had a huge budget surplus and we were starting to talk about paying off the entire national debt by … next year. When Bush left office the country’s budget had a $1.4 trillion yearly deficit. Two wars, huge tax cuts for the rich and crashing the economy caused huge deficits.

So they claim that Obama has increased the debt while in office. Fact: a $1.4 trillion yearly deficit as inherited from Bush means that in two years we add $2.8 trillion to the debt, in three years we add $4.2 trillion and in four years we add $6 trillion. When Republicans complain that “Obama added X trillion to the debt” they are actually just saying that yes, Bush left behind huge deficits and Obama has not yet been able to bring the borrowing all the way back down from Bush levels.

Spending increases: Bush doubled the military budget and started two very expensive wars and the Medicare prescription benefit (which is really about giving money to drug companies) and bailed out the banks and crashed the economy which caused the government to have to spend incredible amounts on unemployment, food stamps, etc.

Obama spent money on the “stimulus” which turned the jobs situation around. (See jobs chart below.)

Taxes: Obama has not raised any taxes. In fact 1/3 of the stimulus was wasted on tax cuts. Obama has also cut the “payroll” tax. The “Obama raised your taxes” claim is just a flat-out lie. No point wasting any more time explaining.

The jobs record: This is the big one. This is the bamboozle express in action. Fortunately a simple graphic (the chart below) shows the truth.

The jobs record is that everything was heading straight down when Obama took office. In January, the month Obama was sworn in, the economy lost 815,000 jobs. In a single month! But once the stimulus kicked in things turned completely around. First the country lost fewer jobs every month. Then we broke through and started gaining jobs again. We have gained jobs every month since.

Yes, the economy continued losing a lot of jobs in the period between Bush leaving office and before Obama’s policies took effect, but things were being turned around.

Here is the jobs chart:

What this chart is showing you: This is a chart that shows the number of private-sector jobs that were gained or lost every month, beginning in December, 2007, until June, 2012. The red lines on the left side of this chart are red to show the time when Bush was in office. You see from these red lines that the situation was getting worse and worse every month. Things were not just getting worse, they were getting worse at an accelerating rate.

Then the blue lines are the months with Obama in office. You see an almost immediate turn-around after three months. All of a sudden many fewer jobs are being lost, and from there it just gets better and better and in April of 2010 the private sector is again gaining jobs, and has ever since. (You can also clearly see the effect of the end of the stimulus, things level off instead of getting better every month.)

This chart shows private-sector jobs because the public sector has not been doing as well. The public sector is the teachers and firefighters that are losing their jobs because Republicans in states across the country are forcing public-sector budget cuts.

It Is All Just Lies

Republican claims about deficits, spending, taxes and jobs are really all just obvious, preposterous, ridiculous, blatant, conscious, ugly, shameless lies. They do not stand up to even the simplest examination.

What does it say about them that they make these claims?

So Why So Many False Claims?

Well, look at the record. What are they going to say?

Their record: They spent 8 years in charge and they end up with a net job loss, turned huge surpluses into massive deficits, started two long wars with no clear path out of them, caused the entire middle class to have stagnant incomes while massively increasing the wealth of the top 1% — and then to top things off at the end they crashed the entire economy. (And never mind what happened with climate change on their watch.)

Really, step back for a minute and look at their record:

  • 8 years in charge,
  • turned huge surpluses into massive deficits,
  • started two long wars with no clear path out of them,
  • caused the entire middle class to have stagnant incomes
  • while massively increasing the wealth of the top 1%
  • and then to top things off at the end they crashed the entire economy
  • (And never mind what happened with climate change on their watch.)

What are they going to do?

Seriously, what are they going to do with this record? With a record like that you have to try the “Hail Mary” option, and just go for it. Make shit up, and repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it, and hope people haven’t been paying attention. And that is what they are doing: They are twisting their own record of starting the fire to make it look like Obama – the fireman who showed up to try to save the neighborhood if not the house – is the problem.

They are saying that the fire department started the fire! They are hoping that people forget (or just don’t know) who really started the fire, and are just not happy that the fire burned down their house.

They are literally saying here, vote for us because things were SO bad when we left office that Obama has not been able to get things back to normal yet.

Will it work? Will enough of the public be led to believe these lies to make a difference and cause them to vote to put the arsonists back in office because the firefighters were not able to save enough of the house fast enough?

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