Fact checking President Obama’s first 100 days

President Obama made many claims during last night’s primetime press conference and his town hall meeting during the day which don’t exactly ring true with realty. The most egregious distortions, of course, came on the topic of the economy and the Associated Press has taken him to task for it.

Behold:

WASHINGTON (AP) – “That wasn’t me,” President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.

It actually was him – and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years – who shaped a budget so out of balance.

And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.

Obama met citizens at an Arnold, Mo., high school Wednesday in advance of his prime-time news conference. Both forums were a platform to review his progress at the 100-day mark and look ahead.

The blaming Bush for Obama’s mess can only go on so long before it gets ridiculous.

Here’s a deeper explanation of many claims made yesterday. Keep in mind, all from the Associated Press which has been Obama-friendly for years now.

OBAMA: “Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit…. That wasn’t me. Number two, there is almost uniform consensus among economists that in the middle of the biggest crisis, financial crisis, since the Great Depression, we had to take extraordinary steps. So you’ve got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package and we had to do something about the banks. Those are one-time charges, and they’re big, and they’ll make our deficits go up over the next two years.” – in Missouri.

THE FACTS: Congress controls the purse strings, not the president, and it was under Democratic control for Obama’s last two years as Illinois senator. Obama supported the emergency bailout package in President George W. Bush’s final months – a package Democratic leaders wanted to make bigger.

To be sure, Obama opposed the Iraq war, a drain on federal coffers for six years before he became president. But with one major exception, he voted in support of Iraq war spending.

The economy has worsened under Obama, though from forces surely in play before he became president, and he can credibly claim to have inherited a grim situation.

Still, his response to the crisis goes well beyond “one-time charges.”

He’s persuaded Congress to expand children’s health insurance, education spending, health information technology and more. He’s moving ahead on a variety of big-ticket items on health care, the environment, energy and transportation that, if achieved, will be more enduring than bank bailouts and aid for homeowners.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated his policy proposals would add a net $428 billion to the deficit over four years, even accounting for his spending reduction goals. Now, the deficit is nearly quadrupling to $1.75 trillion.

Obama is not talking about “one time changes,” he’s talking about overhauling the health care system, the banking system, auto industry and the energy industry. This is hardly a fly-by-night operation where in 6 months we’ll forget all about it. Obama is just hoping that if he can push it through fast enough, people won’t have time to actually think about it.

OBAMA: “I think one basic principle that we know is that the more we do on the (disease) prevention side, the more we can obtain serious savings down the road. … If we’re making those investments, we will save huge amounts of money in the long term.” – in Missouri.

THE FACTS: It sounds believable that preventing illness should be cheaper than treating it, and indeed that’s the case with steps like preventing smoking and improving diets and exercise. But during the 2008 campaign, when Obama and other presidential candidates were touting a focus on preventive care, the New England Journal of Medicine cautioned that “sweeping statements about the cost-saving potential of prevention, however, are overreaching.” It said that “although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not.”

And a study released in December by the Congressional Budget Office found that increasing preventive care “could improve people’s health but would probably generate either modest reductions in the overall costs of health care or increases in such spending within a 10-year budgetary time frame.”

So once again, exaggerations of savings versus reality.

OBAMA: “You could cut (Social Security) benefits. You could raise the tax on everybody so everybody’s payroll tax goes up a little bit. Or you can do what I think is probably the best solution, which is you can raise the cap on the payroll tax.” – in Missouri.

THE FACTS: Obama’s proposal would reduce the Social Security trust fund’s deficit by less than half, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

That means he would still have to cut benefits, raise the payroll tax rate, raise the retirement age or some combination to deal with the program’s long-term imbalance.

Workers currently pay 6.2 percent and their employers pay an equal rate – for a total of 12.4 percent – on annual wages of up to $106,800, after which no more payroll tax is collected.

Obama wants workers making more than $250,000 to pay payroll tax on their income over that amount. That would still protect workers making under $250,000 from an additional burden. But it would raise much less money than removing the cap completely.

Yet again, back to raising taxes instead of actually reforming the program. This is the story of Washington. Never fix the problem, just make it worse so someone down the road can deal with it.

Obama provides no solutions which actually address core issues, he simply addresses symptoms one by one with pathetic plans that involve more government dependence.

Social security is one example where the system needs to phased out of existence entirely. My generation needs to be able to opt out so I can invest in my own retirement. It is immoral to saddle me and millions more with a failing government program because Obama is too weak to actually fix it. Yet again, another issue which will have to be addressed by a President with a backbone.

  • Path

    “It actually was him – and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years – who shaped a budget so out of balance.”

    The president submits a budget then congress tinkers with it. Are you willing to say that Obama has nothing to do with the current spending and its all congress? I didn’t think so. Also Obama finally added the Wars we’re fighting to the budget. Before that, Bush was just running on emergency spending, putting it straight on the credit card. You would think after 6 years they would figure it out. I also haven’t heard anyone explain how to get out of a deflationary gap without a temperary and targeted spending increase

    Currently we as a nation spend 17% of GDP on healthcare. http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml
    European nations spend on a average of 8%.And they have healthier people than us. That is not right. We can make it work better for us. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/608905.stm

    “exaggerations of savings versus reality.”
    they say it could either save money or cost money. It sounds like they have no clue. So they just pull numbers out of ass. Because no legislation has been proposed or passed yet. But just think about it for a second. When has it even been good idea to put off a health problem and just hope it will go away. It never works out it the long run. But unfortanatly people without health insurce have to do this all the time. They can’t get treatment unless they are in the emergancy room. Electronic records would also save a butt load in administrative costs.

    “Social security is one example where the system needs to phased out of existence”

    So you don’t want any kind of safety net for people? If they can’t make it one their own you just want to watch them starve? I thought you were a Christian? It needs changes for sure but to do away with it. I wouldn’t mind seeing the retirement age pushed up to maybe 70ish. Do the Republicans have any other ideas? Or even any leaders?

    The next 1300ish days are going to be interesting for sure. Remember if you don’t democracy you can always go find another country.

  • Path,

    This is juvenile:

    “So you don’t want any kind of safety net for people? If they can’t make it one their own you just want to watch them starve? I thought you were a Christian?”

    If you can’t see the problem with people like myself, at age 26, having to pay an increasing amount into a broken system and then getting nowhere near the amount in return I put in, you need to do a little research.

    Furthermore, I said phased out over time, not erased tomorrow. Of course there are people who are dependent and will be dependent down the road. However, I am talking about people my age. At 26, I want to opt-out of socialist security so I do not have to rely on the failed socialist government retirement system when I’m 70.

    I don’t know about you, but I know I can to infinitely better than the government can at saving for my retirement. If I put something like $200 a month into a mutual fund from right now until age 50 or so, I’d have a million+ invested for my retirement. The federal government can’t touch that kind of retirement savings.

    See Path, the problem with socialist security is that there will be more people drawing from it than paying into it. Therefore, one way to stop that is to start phasing people my age out of the system now so I am not dependent on it when I’m 70. Doesn’t that make a little sense?

    Furthermore I am a Christian and I want to help people who need the help. I want to help them at the local level. I want to provide them their needs when they truly need it. I also want to stop the immoral theft of my hard-earned money by the government. I will be a better decider than Obama on who I can help and how. However, when millionaires like Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh and anyone else who is wealthy will be forced by the government to take social security, you can’t tell me it’s not a broken system. It needs to be done away with.

    “Electronic records would also save a butt load in administrative costs.”

    Electronic records will also make it easier for the government to ration care when we get Obama-care passed. You though insurance companies, wait until you see the government tell you what procedures you can have and when you can have them. For people who are always screaming about government invasion in a woman’s privacy over abortion, you all sure are eager to give up ALL of your privacy to the government for universal health care. Double standard? I think so.

    Path, you have to look at the other hand in the magic show, not just what Obama wants you to look at.

  • Bill Hedges

    Path says

    “.And they have healthier people than us.”

    I did not see that mentioned in your second link. Could you copy it and paste it in a comment.

    Or is this your opinion without facts ?

  • Bill Hedges

    pATH SAID

    “Do the Republicans have any other ideas? Or even any leaders?”

    Yes. If you are not aware, sounds like your news medias you watch does not give both sides. Mine does, but then, that’s Fox. Good question for you to ask JD

    But to be fair, Speaker of House has been restricting discusions of bills.. Even to Congressmen till last minute before voting. So news media actually have to do their job and reseach. By asking meaningful questions. Instead of what NEW YORK POST did in recent_ press ?_ circus performance.

    “The next 1300ish days are going to be interesting for sure. Remember if you don’t democracy you can always go find another country.”

    Haven’t heard that saying in looong time. Still gives me the same sensations.

  • Path

    Nate,
    No one is saying people should be dependant on social security. Its a safety net. If you have the means to your own retirement go for it but that doesn’t mean you stop paying into soc sec. Not everyone is in Its a cost of living in this country. Like an insurance. In this country with have taxes. I is not theft. Its the cost of leaving here. Or should we just do away with all taxes? Because the government can never provide what the private sector lacks! Let the less well off die in the streets!

    Bill,
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

    We are #50 in the world for life expectancy
    Infant mortality is a little better but not by much
    http://www.deathreference.com/Me-Nu/Mortality-Infant.html
    Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic all are doing better than us.

    Fox has about an hour of actual news in a day. They rest is mindless commentary. When do they give both sides? Cavuto, Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly? Do they have any show devoted to showing all sides. Just because they repeat Fair and balanced ad nauseum doesn’t make it so. I could say 2+2=5 but does not make it so. Classic orwellian marketing.

  • Path

    Looks like my original post didn’t make it past moderation or whatever. I posted a list of facts showing how we are 50th in the world for life expextancy. And dropping fast in infant mortality.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html
    http://www.deathreference.com/Me-Nu/Mortality-Infant.html

    Those are some quick ones. Can you cite anything saying our current health system is the best in the world?

    I get my information from a varity of sources. Online, print, and some cable news. Fox does not show all the facts. they only show what they want to show. All news sources do that. thats why you need a varity.

    Do you know who won the Pulitzer for investigative jouralism? Probably not because no news shows reported it. David Barstow made them all look bad. Where is th libral bias here
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/us/20generals.html?_r=1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/washington/30general.html

    “Haven’t heard that saying in looong time. Still gives me the same sensations.”

    Really? I hear it most times when I talk to people the wrongdoings of the previous administration. I was bing be ironic

  • Bill Hedges

    I guess if I was you I would rather talk about Bush than Obama too

  • Bill Hedges

    “Michelle Obama was stylin’ in her $540 French sneakers during a volunteering photo-op at a Washington, D.C., food bank this week. Her suede and patent trainers from the house of Lanvin are apparently all the rage among the celebrity set. Who knew there were sneakers out there that cost as much as many Americans’ monthly rent?”

    Michelle Obama wearing $540 to food bank…What was that phase..”just doesn’t get it.”

    Save those shoes for nightly parties at the WHITE HOUSE. That’s is if they are good enough for the party.

    They go on to compare what happened when John McCain wore expensive shoes.

    “Obama’s supporters at the liberal Huffington Post website devoted an entire slideshow to John McCain’s $520 Ferragamo loafers. CNN piled on with a feature on McCain’s “well-heeled campaign.” The “report” contrasted McCain’s Italian footwear with Obama’s “average guy” shoes.”

    “Will they show the same indignation toward the first lady?”
    Yeah, right.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/MichelleMalkin/2009/05/01/double_standard_couture

  • Path

    To know what’s going on today you have to understand what’s happened in the past. If you can’t accept what happened in the past you don’t have much authority to talk about what’s going on today.

  • Bill Hedges

    Mohandas Gandhi quote

    “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”

    http://www.potowmack.org/gandhi.html

    An enjoyable video that hits home

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WKLXCHgOiA&feature=related

  • Bill Hedges

    Fox News Live Desk – May 1, 2009

    Julie Banderas (Fox News): “The cost for the border fence with Mexico was about four million dollars a mile. The overall price tag so far hundreds of millions of dollars, and it could run higher. But on a bombing range in Arizona the military uses a high tech system that costs just a fraction of that figure. William La Jeunesse is live at the bombing range in Yuma, Arizona. William, why was this system necessary in the first place?”

    “William La Jeunesse: Well it was necessary, Julie, because the Marines did not want to inadvertently kill the hundreds of illegal immigrants who were swarming this base. We are at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. This is where Navy, Marine Corps pilots come to train. They get in dogfights – they drop live ordinance – it’s a dangerous place. Forty miles of their southern boundary is the Mexican border.”

    “Now in 2005 they had to shut it down 200 times because illegals were wandering the base. Pilots lost training, taxpayers lost money. So, they bought a radar system that was relatively cheap. Now, in conjunction with that fence, it’s not either-or, it’s both – in conjunction with the fence. The problem of ? prosecution, they dropped from four thousand intrusions in 2005 to zero in the last twelve months.”

    http://www.americanpatrol.com/09-FEATURES/090502-FEATURE/090501-FoxNewsLive.html

  • Path

    So what does that have to do with anything we’ve been talking about. Ypou just change the topic after you lose. Whose playing games now?

  • Bill Hedges

    I have discussed social health care in other articles

  • Path

    What does social healthcare have to do with Gandhi or GUNS, GUNS, GUNS! or Shoes or illegals crossing the boarder.

  • Bill Hedges

    Do you control site or my comments placement

  • Path

    I have no idea what your talking about. You sound like a senil old man

  • Bill Hedges

    Path May 3rd, 2009 at 2:54 pm
    “What does social healthcare have to do with Gandhi or GUNS, GUNS, GUNS! or Shoes or illegals crossing the boarder”

    Bill Hedges May 3rd, 2009 at 3:10 pm
    “Do you control site or my comments placement”

    Path May 3rd, 2009 at 3:41 pm
    “I have no idea what your talking about. You sound like a senil old man”

  • Path

    “Do you control site or my comments placement”

    You obviously posted them to this thread for a reason. So what are you talking about?

  • Lauria

    “youdecidepolitics”…are you kidding me? No doubt the name for this blog is a play on Fox News’ “We report, you decide” because your “reporting” is just as lopsided. You have the audacity to declare, “The blaming Bush for Obama’s mess can only go on so long before it gets ridiculous.” Seriously? President Obama has been in office for 131 days. The Bush administration and the GOP blamed everything on Clinton for an entire 8 years. Therefore, I’ve decided this blog is a sad, biased, misinformed joke, much like the network which inspired it.

  • Pardon me if I don’t shed a tear for your complaints.