usa // don't tax me bro

When even the AP realizes it, you know you're in trouble

If you didn't watch the snooze-fest of a presser Obama held tonight, you're one of the lucky ones.

But here's AP's rundown of claims Obama made (you know, the things he was saying when he wasn't answering reporters' questions) and the actual facts. Damn those facts. So inconvenient.

THE CLAIM: "We will recover from this recession. But it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other, that's when we succeed."

THE FACTS: No one really knows when the recession will end. But Obama's own budget forecasts the recession will continue through this year but with a relatively shallow 1.2 percent decline in the gross domestic product. [...] Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last week predicted that the Obama budget would produce deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion over the next decade.

OBAMA: "In this budget, we have made the tough choices necessary to cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term even under the most pessimistic estimates."

THE FACTS: Not all credible estimates foresee a deficit halved in that time. [...] The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that Obama's spending plan would leave a deficit of $672 billion by the end of 2013. Explaining the differences between his projections and CBO's, Obama said his administration projects a higher growth rate.

THE CLAIM: "Our assumptions are perfectly consistent with what blue-chip forecasters out there are saying."

THE FACTS: The Obama administration's economic growth projections are more optimistic over the next five years than those of the Blue Chip Consensus, a monthly average of 50 economic forecasts from the private sector.




THE CLAIM: Obama repeated his assertion that his housing bailout will help "stabilize the housing market and help responsible homeowners stay in their homes."

THE FACTS: Even officials in his administration, many supporters of the plan in Congress and the Federal Reserve chairman have said some of the bailout money is bound to go to those who acted irresponsibly.

THE CLAIM: Responding to Republican critics in Congress who say his proposed budget carries an irresponsible deficit, Obama said, "I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because, as I recall, I'm inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them."

FACT: Obama inherited a whopper of a deficit, much of it due to policies and spending led by Republican President George W. Bush. But the Congress, which authorizes spending and is not blameless in driving up deficits, was controlled by Democrats in the last two years of Bush's presidency.


Okay, so as far as I can tell, here's the deal. Obama is saying, "It's okay that we're spending trillions of dollars, because those trillions are going to lead to people getting jobs so they will spend more money and consumer confidence will go up and the market will go up and because of this more tax money will come in and I will be able to pay part of the bill for this huge mother of a budget."

But there's so much conjecture involved in those statements that all anyone can really do is guess. You can guess how many jobs will be created/saved and you can guess how people will react (spending vs saving vs hiding it in their sock drawer because the banks have been so vilified that nobody trusts them) and you can guess how much tax revenue will come in. Obama has one set of numbers, the CBO has another, and I'm sure there's a bunch more floating around.

But in order to accept what Obama says as truth, we have to trust his numbers. Which feels a little like trusting Bernie Madoff when he says, "sure, give me $100 today and I'll make you $1000 in a week". Because if the numbers don't pan out, all Obama will tell us is that he was misinformed or some crap like that.

And then he'll find a way to blame it on Bush.
  • Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Tags:
Yeah, I was reading that last night and thinking it's a wonder the AP finally woke up and started to do its job, at least a little bit. They also had an analysis about how careful (and boring) Obama was, and how he relied on his usual "crutch" (the writer's word, not mine) of the teleprompter.
I have to admit, I've developed a strange affection for the teleprompter ever since he launched his own blog.