Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gave a speech in Des Moines, Iowa on the national debt yesterday.
Romney blamed President Obama for all the nation’s ills while conveniently leaving out some key details.
A look at some of Romney’s claims and how they compare with the facts:
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: Presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush ran the national debt up to $10.62 trillion. Today, it is $15.67 trillion, according to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt. Obama has actually added $5.05 trillion, roughly half of the amount amassed by all the other presidents combined.
ROMNEY: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can’t even imagine, from foreign countries we’ll never even visit. I will bring us together to put out the fire.”
THE FACTS: Romney’s tax and spending plan is to cut taxes and expand the armed forces, which would undoubtedly add more to the debt. He also promises to slash domestic spending but hasn’t offered any specifics.
A study by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget concluded earlier this year that Romney’s plans would not make a dent in deficits, and could worsen them considerably.
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: The part of the increase in national debt that Romney chooses to ignore are the lower tax revenues from depressed corporate and individual incomes and high joblessness from the Great Depression 2.0. The recession 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.
The Bush-era tax cuts, which Obama extended, enacted in 2001 and 2003 with bipartisan support also contributed largely to the debt. The cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year.
Truthiness is nothing new to politicians especially when they are campaigning for office.
In 2008, then Presidential candidate Obama did the very same thing Romney is now doing.
Ignoring economic circumstances and the role of both parties in Congress, Obama accused President George W. Bush of driving up debt by $4 trillion “by his lonesome” and taking out “a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children.”
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