The AP has done some great fact checking into a speech Mitt Romney gave yesterday on the economy. It turns out, to no shock, that Romney is echoing many of the lies that the right has constantly been pushing for the past several years. Here's one of my favorites:
ROMNEY: "America counted on President Obama to rescue the economy, tame the deficit and help create jobs. Instead, he bailed out the public sector, gave billions of your dollars to the companies of his friends, and added almost as much debt as all the prior presidents combined."
THE FACTS. Hardly. Presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush ran the national debt up to $10.62 trillion, the amount it was on the day Obama took office. Today, it is $15.67 trillion, according to the Treasury Department's Bureau of Public Debt. So it has gone up by $5.05 trillion under Obama. That's roughly half of the amount amassed by all the other presidents combined.
In short, the debt has gone up by about half under Obama. Under Ronald Reagan, it tripled.
Since President Obama has taken office the national debt has increased by 41%. Compare that to this graphic showing the increase under other presidents:
Obama is currently on track to increase the debt by the same amount as Bush 43, but he is nowhere near raising it as much as Reagan did. Yet if you ask Republicans, Reagan was the model of fiscal conservatism.
Then there is another piece the AP picks out of Romney's speech:
ROMNEY: "The people of Iowa and America have watched President Obama for nearly four years, much of that time with Congress controlled by his own party. And rather than put out the spending fire, he has fed the fire. He has spent more and borrowed more. ... When you add up his policies, this president has increased the national debt by $5 trillion."
THE FACTS: Much of the increase in the debt is due to lower tax revenues from depressed corporate and individual incomes and high joblessness in the worst recession since the Great Depression. The recession officially began in December 2007, when George W. Bush was president and the national debt stood at just over $9 trillion. Financial bailouts, stimulus programs and auto rescue spending that started under Bush and continued under Obama contributed to the run-up of the debt.
A big factor there is income. American wages are done and unemployment has been up. That means the amount of money the government brings in in the form of income tax has also gone done. The government needs money to survive and when you don't have the money coming in, you borrow.
Now I know many Republicans say to "live within your means", but how many of them are also struggling? Actually if you listen to the Republican philosophy on this then you would have to believe that they never took out a loan or even used a credit card. We know that isn't the truth.
So is our national debt out of control? Yes it is and it has been for generations. But many on the right want you to believe that we never really had a debt issue until January 20, 2009. That is a flat out lie that has been pushed by Republican politicians and talking heads alike and sadly most right leaning Americans buy into it without looking into the facts.
And finally I am wondering what the argument will be if Mitt Romney does become our next President and the national debt continues to climb. Given his promise of greater tax cuts and increases in military spending, that could easily become a reality, yet I somehow think the increasing debt would no longer be an issue to the right.