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Sunday, November 4, 2012

AP's "fact check" obscures Obama's continued lie

Obama's  has continued his lie claiming he plans to pay down the debt. In a speech on November 4th, 2012he said again: "But it’s time to use the savings from ending two wars to pay down our debt".  The AP did addressed the issue in a   "fact check" article on November 3rd and did say his claim isn't  true. Unfortunately the article is flawed and misleading. They "bury the lead", or more to the point ignore it, by failing to point out how simple, explicit and large the lie is.  Obama's own budget document explicitly contradicts his claims in a table showing the debt increasing each year by over $900 billion, there is no need to trust any other source to confirm he lied.

The article also tries to mislead the public into thinking the media has often addressed the issue by saying Obama's claim has persisted   "no matter how many times it's whacked", when of course the media has mostly ignored the issue.  The newspaper where I live *never* printed anything disputing his claim, and searches of major media sites turn up either no or few  debunkings. The few articles like this one from the AP that  do address it  do so in a way meant to downplay its importance.

The article seems to be trying to  draw attention away from Obama's current lie to focus on the sins of those who started the wars by saying "The wars were financed mostly with borrowing". Since the article doesn't provide actual numbers, that phrasing leaves room for those who don't look at the numbers and wish to believe Obama to think the topic might be open to debate. They may think "mostly" means that some wasn't borrowed. People who don't pay close attention sometimes have an inflated view of the amount spent on war.  They might think: "ok, so perhaps they were spending $1.5 trillion/year on wars and borrowing $1 trillion a year. Ending the wars would leave   money to pay down the debt". As this site has pointed out  obviously the numbers are vastly lower and he won't be paying down the debt,  but the AP fails to provide enough support for the less well informed to assess the claim.

Its   misleading for the AP to claim  the  "wars were financed mostly with borrowing" when there weren't dedicated bonds issued for the purpose. The government spent too much and borrowed money. Most of the money it spent wasn't borrowed, so all spending was "financed mostly with tax revenue" and not with borrowing.  The problem is that last year it borrowed far more than it spent on wars, so even ending them entirely wouldn't be enough to start paying down the debt. Its true that adding a new expense can lead to borrowing, but it is possible to instead cut other expenses when you choose to spend more. The borrowing is required by the total spending, not any 1 particular item

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