It’s Even Worse than Paul and Jon Say It Is

December 16th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Jon Chait has a piece up today, amplified by Paul K, wherein he justly criticizes a piece of extremely sloppy “analysis” blaming recent budget deficits on President Obama.   The author’s evidence for this phony claim is that in Jan 2008, CBO projected surpluses by 2012.  Since we will in fact have deficits in 2012, and Obama entered the scene in the interim, it’s got to be all his fault.

Jon points out all the caveats that CBO themselves introduced into their budget projection, especially the parts about how a bad recession would flip this surplus to a deficit.  Such caveats are, however, ignored by those looking to tarnish the President regardless of the facts.

But you don’t have to rest on CBO’s caveats alone.  You can look at the budget projections they released a year later, in Jan 2009, the month the President took office, and hadn’t yet had a chance to work his socialist, Kenyan, deficit-inducing evil magic.

Source: 2008 and 2009 CBO Budget Projections

As the figure shows, by Jan09 the CBO had concluded that conditions were worse than they’d thought and–before the President took office–fiscal conditions had deteriorated to the point that what was a projected surplus in 2012 was now a deficit.

The deficit projections would grow more negative as the recession wore on, but to use the Jan08 instead of Jan09 data is patently wrong (a commenter on Jon’s cite also makes this point).

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4 comments in reply to "It’s Even Worse than Paul and Jon Say It Is"

  1. Tom in MN says:

    “deficit-inducing evil magic” like extending the Bush tax cuts?

    Both projections you cite assume they expired on schedule in 2010.

  2. urban legend says:

    It doesn’t get much more dishonest than that. Has this clown told us “never mind” yet and slunk back into the hole he should be in? What a disgrace that an editor let this pass.

  3. David says:

    The worst part of this story is that the 2008 projection assumed that the Bush tax cuts would expire at the end of 2010 as scheduled! Our budget would be in much better shape today if that had been allowed (though maybe not our economy).

  4. Michael says:

    Conservatives lie, but they really lie about the economy.