Deficit Memory Loss

Circulating today has been an article from the Associated Press stating “Federal deficit hits all-time high $1.42 trillion”.

This is not news, at least not in the way the AP author is trying to spin things.
If anything it is good news for Americans and the Obama administration.

For those of you who are similarly memory or factually challenged, what was our expected deficit before Obama was in office?

1.2 trillion, before the stimulus.

After Obama was in Obama and had produced the first budget, the deficit was projected to be 1.7 trillion.
A result of this year’s stimulus spending (150-200 billion) and a carry-over TARP placeholder of $250 billion.

The TARP placeholder was not used, so we got some good news a month ago – that instead of the deficit being 1.8 trillion, it would be 1.5 trillion. This news prompted the typical right-wing fear-mongering, as if it was not good news, but bad news. We are 250 billion less in the hole, and its bad news? This is why I cannot even have a reasonable conversation with righties – they have zero sense or are too busy promoting their conspiracy theories to stop for a second and use their heads.

And today we find out the deficit is actually 1.4 trillion.
Less that we figured as of a month ago.
And this is bad news?
That AP article would lead you to think so, if you don’t have a clue what is going on.

And this misleading (incomplete) article has had the desired effect – spurring the usual idiots to proclaim the sky is falling, despite the good news. And these retarded Ron Paul/Glenn Beck followers still want you to buy gold, because despite all the good news and favorable indicators, things are looking worse than ever! Evar! Buy Gold!

In addition, very few articles/discussions of the record deficit point out that only 10% of that amount is due to Obama’s spending (the stimulus).
Or point out that the $459 billion deficit from last year didn’t include the costs of the wars, as that was paid for with emergency supplemental measures that didn’t affect the budget. That has been corrected and the deficit now includes the cost of the wars.


Another example, spurred by the same report is this link from CNN.

At the same time spending jumped in large part because of the various economic and financial rescue measures undertaken. The Treasury and the OMB noted that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program and the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, not all of which has been used, accounted for 24% of the deficit total.

The talk of the stimulus (787 billion) as if it had as much of an impact on the deficit as the 700 billion TARP.
And if you are only mildly paying attention, you’ll be thinking 787 > 700.
Which is true.

But the $787 billion stimulus is being spent over 3-4 years.
The amount added to the deficit this year as a result of the stimulus is close to $150 billion (roughly 10% of the deficit).
Combining the two implies a level of equality when that is not remotely true.

Well done Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer, you should great understanding of the topic (sarcasm).

Jeanne also continues to use the $455 false deficit number from last year without any qualifiers (that it doesn’t include the wars cost, and that it uses several budget tricks that have been banned by the new administration).


Another example of comparing apples to oranges.
Deficit triples

That compares a deficit without wars cost (apples) to a deficit with wars cost (oranges). And it compares deficit using budget tricks (apples) to one in which those tricks have been banned (oranges).

And it fails to remind people, even though it should be somewhat obvious being that they just released final numbers, that the fiscal year begins in October. Therefore the deficit they are reporting includes the $700 billion TARP (signed by Bush) and the bailouts.

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