What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 14, 2010

Fact-Checking The Trib

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review today dutifully parrots a conservative talking point. And of course, it get the facts, well, wrong.

Take a look. This is from today's editorial page:
Yet another litmus test on Obamanomics is in and, as anyone with an ounce of sense predicted, the results are not good.

The U.S. Commerce Department says real personal income has dropped by 3.2 percent since President Change took office.

"It is proof that the government can't spend its way to prosperity," Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, told The Washington Times.
Not exactly true. But let's start out with the expert they site. While it's true that Douglas Holtz-Eakin was director of the CBO (and that tag, obviously, is floated in an attempt to show he's non-partisan) he's now president of something called the American Action Forum. Partnered with the American Action Network and only formed recently, the purpose of the Forum and the Network are, according to the Wall Street Journal:
At least half a dozen leaders of the Republican Party have joined forces to create a new political group with the goal of organizing grass-roots support and raising funds ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to people familiar with the effort.

The organizational details of the group, expected to be called the American Action Network, are still being worked out, but it is expected to contain both a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4 component. In simpler terms, a 501(c)3 can advocate on policy matters while a 501(c)4 is an election arm.

Republican leaders expected to be affiliated with the group include former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Bush adviser Karl Rove, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, and Republican donor Fred Malek.

A House leadership aide told Washington Wire today that Rob Collins, a political operative and senior aide to House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, is leaving Capitol Hill to be the executive director of the 501(c)4.
So he's hardly non-partisan.

Back to the Trib, though. The editorial quotes this Washington Times article. You'll note what the Trib omits. If you missed it I'll point it out after the quotation:
Real personal income for Americans - excluding government payouts such as Social Security - has fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

For comparison, real personal income during the first 15 months in office for President George W. Bush, who inherited a milder recession from his predecessor, dropped 0.4 percent. Income excluding government payouts increased 12.7 percent during Mr. Bush's eight years in office.
What did the Trib omit? The fact that Obama inherited a worse recession than Dubya did AND that the numbers they're using exclude "government payouts such as Social Security." But what if we include those payouts? The Washington Times hides this at the end of the article:
Personal income with government "transfers" - which include such federal money as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and food stamps - has grown during Mr. Obama's time in office, up 1.2 percent from January 2009 to February 2010. During that period, government unemployment insurance benefits rose from $88 billion to $143 billion.
Given the horrendous recession Obama inherited from Dubya, it's not difficult to see why.

But of course such nuance is lost on Scaife's gang. Here's some artwork to clarify things.

See the downturn. Now see the up turn. See when it happened.

Now go read the Trib's editorial again. See how silly.

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