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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Ryan's claims of trillions in new spending in the 2012 federal budget

By Glenn Kessler

"What we have is $1.6 trillion in new tax increases, $8.7 trillion in new spending. He's going to be adding $13 trillion to the debt over the course of his budget."
--Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, Feb. 14, 2011


It's budget season in Washington again, and that means members of both political parties are tossing around large, incomprehensible numbers. President Obama's budget had been roundly criticized for ducking tough choices and resorting to budgetary gimmicks. We took a critical look at the president's budget on Monday, and will keep an eye on the administration's rhetoric going forward.

Now it's the GOP's turn. The statement above by Rep. Paul Ryan, made on NPR's "All Things Considered," was echoed across the media landscape on Monday and Tuesday by other Republicans. The White House claimed that its budget relied on two-thirds spending freezes and cuts and one-third tax increases to achieve $1 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. But here is the House Budget Committee chairman claiming that the budget has a ratio of spending increases to tax cuts of eight to one.

They both are operating off the same document. So how is this possible? The answer takes a little digging and lots of numbers, but we will try to make it clear.

The Facts

First of all, it is important to remember that these are 10-year budget numbers. The budget is rewritten every year, and that's what mostly counts. Before the mid-1990s, budgets were written with a five-year time frame. But as the Clinton administration and GOP lawmakers tangled over how to reach a balanced budget, the 10-year budget came into vogue.

The 10-year window is pretty useless and allows for budgetary gimmicks. No one really has any clue what the gross domestic product will be 10 years from now, let alone five years. So the Obama administration took an estimate on the high end, allowing it to claim a gusher of revenue that would reduce the deficit over time. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation has a good analysis, with charts, of this aspect of the budget.

The other problem with 10-year budgets is that the numbers begin to sound very big, very quickly. Instead of a $3.7 trillion one-year budget, we have $46 trillion! (But politicians rarely add "over 10 years.") So Obama can claim $1 trillion in deficit reduction, even though very little of it happens in the next six years, when he hopes to have finished a second term.

Similarly, Ryan adds together 10 years of budgets to come up with his figures. The House Budget Committee produced its own analysis of the president's budget Tuesday, which explains how the tax increase figure (see figure 8) and the debt increase number (see table 1) were derived. The tax increases stem mostly from Obama's well-advertised desire to roll back Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000. Note that the debt increase is from 2010, which is actually over 12 years, not the 10-year budget submitted by the president, so Ryan overstates that a bit.

The problematic figure in Ryan's statement is the claim that the president proposed $8.7 trillion in new spending. In response to a question about how this number was obtained, the committee staff provided a chart that showed that outlays would be frozen every year for the next 10 years at the 2012 level of $3.729 trillion.

Thus, while in 2021 Obama proposes to spend $5.697 trillion, the committee would still be spending $3.729 trillion, for a difference of almost $2 trillion. Add up the difference for every year, over 10 years, and it amounts to nearly $8.7 trillion, which the committee calls "new spending."

In other words, the committee assumed the president needs to freeze all spending, without adjustments for inflation or population growth, for 10 years. Moreover, it makes this assumption for all spending, even mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which need to be changed by law. Much of the president's budget dealt with discretionary spending -- he pledged to freeze nondefense discretionary spending for five years -- but that is only about one-third of the total budget.

How unrealistic is this standard? In figure 5 of the committee analysis, it noted that the historical average for federal spending is 20.3 percent of the overall economy (gross domestic product.) This is already a bit of a low-ball figure because the data date from 1962, before Medicare and Medicaid were enacted. But let's accept 20.3 percent as the average.

In 2011, total outlays will be about 25.3 percent of GDP and the president's budget predicts it will be 23.1 percent of GDP in 2021. But discretionary outlays would be 6.3 percent of GDP, among the lowest levels in history. (The lowest level was 6.2 percent in 1999, under Bill Clinton.) Back in the 1960s, before mandatory spending on programs such as Medicare began to take off, the discretionary part of the budget accounted for about 12 percent of GDP.

But the Republican freeze-for-10-years would bring all U.S. government spending -- the combined discretionary and mandatory categories -- to just 15.1 percent of GDP in 2021, a level never achieved since 1962 (when the data in the budget start.) The lowest level is 17.2 percent, in 1965, and the Republican freeze would hit that level in 2018 and then plunge below it in 2019 (16.4 percent), 2020 (15.7 percent), and 2021 (15.1 percent).

The only way Obama could hit those targets is to propose wiping out all discretionary spending (including Defense) or eliminating a major entitlement such as Medicare. So it is an absurd standard.

We shared our analysis with the Budget Committee, but have not yet received a response.

The Pinocchio Test

President Obama's budget has enough problematic details in it that Republicans should not need to gin up unrealistic standards. It's bad enough to toss around 10-year figures. And Obama could be faulted for not submitting a budget that gets federal government spending back to the 20.3 percent of the gross domestic product. But to demand that he meet a standard no modern president has ever met -- and then label it as "new spending" -- is highly misleading.

Two Pinocchios

(About our rating scale).

UPDATE, 1:15 PM

A reader in the comments section wondered how the United States compared to other countries in terms of government spending as a percentage of GDP. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) maintains a vast database on the 30 member countries, which are the key industralized countries in the world and thus represent a pretty good peer group. The OECD data combines federal dollars with spending by state and local governments, so it is not directly comparable to the numbers above. With that caveat, the data shows that the United States, with government outlays equal to 40 percent of GDP, is among the lowest; only South Korea (27.3 percent), Switzerland (32.3 percent), Australia (33.9 percent) and the Slovak Republic (37 percent) are lower. The average of countries in the Euro area is 48.3 percent of GDP. The data is not broken down by spending catagory, but since the United States spends so much more of its budget on the military, one can assume it ranks among the lowest, if not the lowest, on other types of spending.

Follow The Fact Checker on Twitter @GlennKesslerWP

By Glenn Kessler  | February 16, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  2 Pinocchios, Economy, Paul Ryan  
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Next: Obama's misleading language on debt reduction in the 2012 budget

Comments

Great analysis! However, for me, it is simply a distraction to analyze the differences in how the two parties portray their 10 year budget differences and base the comparisons on relative and different estimates and standards. Most of it becomes based on fictitious estimates.

What we know right now is that this year's budget deficit is 1.6 trillion, and we all know that that is too high. We don't want our government spending us all into such a deep hole.

Just as the democrats are accusing of us having an economy that was propped up and fueled by bad mortgages and bad loans, the new economy and the "recovery" are fueled by borrowing money at unsustainable levels. Both are bad, and I'm not sure which is worse.

So, while it is enlightening to see how the numbers are contrived and portrayed by both political parties. And, neither can predict the future with any degree of accuracy 10 years out. In the end, we do know with certainty and accuracy that 1.6 trillion is too much to borrow. That number needs to be cut by 20% every year until it goes away. That is something that is very easy to measure.

Posted by: TommyLCox | February 16, 2011 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Well, figures lie and liars figure. And Barry's getting pretty good at the game. BTW, I'd be very reluctant to rely on any analysis by someone with no background or experience in budgeting, especially having to produce and execute a budget.

Posted by: jpost1 | February 16, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Odd, I didn't see what Paul Ryan said "echoed across the media landscape on Monday". Must have missed that somehow.

Posted by: thebink | February 16, 2011 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Apparently the republicans wish to finish what Osama bin Laden started. Bring America to its knees, finish destroying the economy and the fabric of the United States of America.

In a few words the republican leadership are nothing less then domestic economic terrorists.

Posted by: cario1 | February 16, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

U.S. Debt-to-GDP Ratio Tops 97% with No Debt Reduction Proposals

Many corporate-owned politicians, pundits and other propaganda peddlers appear to be deliberately distorting the difference between "debt" and "deficit" while at the same time heralding "deficit reductions" that are anything but. To clarify in context, the U.S. national "debt" is how much the American government owes, and is presently $14.1 trillion and rising. The U.S. federal budget "deficit" is how much that debt increases in any given fiscal year, and for the current year is projected to be $1.5 trillion. In the real world, a "deficit reduction" would be an actual or mandated increase in revenues or decrease in expenditures which has the effect of decreasing a given year's deficit (ie. decreasing the increase in the debt for that year). And unless and until a deficit reduction is large enough to not only eliminate the deficit but create a "surplus" that is applied to debt retirement, A DEFICIT REDUCTION DOES NOT REDUCE THE DEBT. Furthermore, reducing planned increases in future spending may avoid a contingent deficit increase, but that is not the same thing as actual deficit reduction.

The American Sheeple need to snap out of their TV/iPhone/Facebook-induced trances and listen closely to what the talking heads are saying: The national debt is not the same thing as the federal budget deficit. Deficit reductions do not necessarily (and in fact rarely) result in debt retirement. Much of what Washington is currently proposing is not really deficit reduction anyway. And even if it was, it's all too little and too late:

http://watchingfrogsboil.com/proposed-federal-budget-deficit-reductions-do

Posted by: watchingfrogsboil | February 16, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

"But as the Clinton administration and GOP lawmakers tangled over how to reach a balanced budget, the 10-year budget came into vogue."

LOL ... that was done to create the mystifying 'Clinton Surplus'; which never really existed, did it?

Posted by: Hazmat77 | February 16, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

To sum it up, Greg, both sides are full of crap. The President's budget is unworkable and the Republican's won't be any better.

So much for the process.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | February 16, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama & ilk do not know what they are doing. And there is quite a bit of ilk in government at all levels. The deficit can not be brought down/paid off by continued spending on credit...it's as simple as that. You can blame democrats, republicans, liberals, tea party's, or whomever, but it comes down to the same old thing...if you keep borrowing money when in debt & spending it, you'll keep going deeper in debt.

Posted by: lolas13 | February 16, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Unless the country addresses the rising cost of health care in America, all other budget considerations are beside the point. Zero out discretionary spending but leave health care costs alone and the country goes bankrupt. Zero out defense spending but leave health care costs alone and the country still goes bankrupt. Further, if America lowered health care costs to European levels of 6-9% tomorrow and MAKES NO OTHER CHANGES TO THE BUDGET WHATSOEVER, we have surpluses for as far as the eye can see. It's as simple as that. Waste time arguing about earmarks or defense spending or whatever all you want. When you're done, we're still right back were we started with a budget crisis that no one is addressing.

Posted by: Steve6 | February 16, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Instead of playing these games, pass a law mandating a deficit ceiling. Similar to a balance budget amendment, it would merely state the maximum deficit available for spending.

The allowable deficit would be reduced by $150 billion a year for 10 years. Voila! A balanced budget, not "sustainable" debt growth.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | February 16, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

There is another part to this equation that nobody mentions. If you want to reduce spending to 1962 levels, then raise upper income taxes to the same levels, which were 91%, compared to 35% now. The other side of the coin to spending is revenues, which Repubs never want to talk about except to cut them.

Posted by: mglbrown1 | February 16, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The Obama Plan is the Destruction of America. The Actions show it. His words show it. The results are showing it. The People see it and have REJECTED OBAMA AND HIS POLICY. The People don't want a compromise. The People want the Destructive Policy of this Demonic Obama Administration STOPPED. Obama and his Administration are of a Demonic Nature. Obama is the Anti-Christ. Deny Obama and you will Destroy him. Look and you will understand what he is trying to do to America. The End is Him...

Posted by: makom | February 16, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking that maybe Obama should have 4 Pinocchios 4 proposing this type of budget and his logic yesterday trying to defend it.

Posted by: sales7 | February 16, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hazmat got it right. Both your sisters babies are equally ugly and puts a smokescreen in front of thier prize possessioin; the Defense budget. A $671 billion dollar FY 2012 is on the docket that neither side want to address. Ike's warning about the militar industrial complex went ignored. The making of war and military weapons is the economy and our number one industry. Every Senator and Congressman gets a good chunk for their districts and insures re-election as it is a huge job provider for many. Dems and Reps alike wrap themselves in the flag every election season and clobber any opponent with being anti-American who speaks the truth. $671 billion over a period of three years or less could build a national high speed rail network, fix or replace our neglected bridges and roads, modernize and improve our ports, make necessary changes to our educational system, and throw in the rebuilding of New Orleans and thier levy system. Pie in the sky because all of those jobs that support the DOD within numerous industries would go away having an even more devastating effect than a the economic downturn that largely was unfealt by those living on the coasts. Weaning us of a war based economy would be a very long term and useful goal. When you take something away you have to replace it with something that will take its place a a job maker. Those are the kinds of things I would like to hear being discussed. But I suppose the next solution on a balanced budget would be taking granny's Social Security check away from her. It was that damn Roosevelt's idea anyway.

Posted by: Brianwithaneye | February 16, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

very nice, Ryan, very nice Repubs/Teaps/Dumbos.... Now let's get busy taking the logs out of our own eyes instead of looking at the specs in our neighbor's eyes.

I am waiting for every congressperson to offer a cut of $1 Billion dollars in their OWN districts. That should be about half a trillion dollars which is what needs to be cut from this proposed budget. Stop squandering my taxes.

Posted by: yard80197 | February 16, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The Obama Plan is the Destruction of America. The Actions show it. His words show it. The results are showing it. The People see it and have REJECTED OBAMA AND HIS POLICY. The People don't want a compromise. The People want the Destructive Policy of this Demonic Obama Administration STOPPED. Obama and his Administration are of a Demonic Nature. Obama is the Anti-Christ. Deny Obama and you will Destroy him. Look and you will understand what he is trying to do to America. The End is Him...

Posted by: makom | February 16, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

makom,
Shouldn't you be down at your mosque praying?
You sound like you are a good extremist muslim.
You must be a true believer of Allah.
Your hate of Christians is apparent.


Posted by: koneill8 | February 16, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Hazmat got it right. Both your sisters babies are equally ugly and puts a smokescreen in front of thier prize possessioin; the Defense budget. A $671 billion dollar FY 2012 is on the docket that neither side want to address. Ike's warning about the militar industrial complex went ignored. The making of war and military weapons is the economy and our number one industry. Every Senator and Congressman gets a good chunk for their districts and insures re-election as it is a huge job provider for many. Dems and Reps alike wrap themselves in the flag every election season and clobber any opponent with being anti-American who speaks the truth.....replace our neglected bridges and roads, modernize and improve our ports, make

Posted by: Brianwithaneye
++++++++++++++
You got that RIGHT, brianwithaneye, that is the ELEPHANT in the room which no one wants to talk about. Another one of those sacred cows that are driving us into the ground. America was a great experiment and it is finished. No hope, folks, no hope.

Posted by: yard80197 | February 16, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Where are the jobs?
Where is Ryan's budget?
This is the guy that has been saying since last year the gop knows what to do. Then he gets on tv the other day and says we (the gop) don't have a budget. Why not? After so many months and still nothing?
Do you losers in DC do anything for your pay?

Posted by: koneill8 | February 16, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who or what caused the deficit and debt.
Ignoring the budget, like Obama did last year is not the answer.
Being in denial about the budget, which Obama is doing right now, isn't the answer either.
Democrats had control of Congress since 2006. They need to be accountable.
Man-up, stop using the "guilt trip" to make excuses for ignoring the budget.
Americans need to demand fiscal responsibility of our leaders.
We cannot "put off" "delay" "ignore" this problem for 2 more years.
There's no room for politics in this.

Posted by: ohioan | February 16, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

All of a sudden after driving the country into the ground and bringing about a near collapse of the economy Republicans want to cut spending. Maybe they should not have started two wars that have done nothing but destroy lives and create huge deficits. And instead of asking the rich and super-rich to make the slightest sacrifice (which they would not even notice) they want to penalize working Americans, the middle and lower classes and seniors. What is wrong with this picture? Social Security is an insurance program not an entitlement and so is Medicare. We all paid our premiums. Why do they act like these are government give aways.

Posted by: MickyD1 | February 16, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

good morning,

I am confused, and your other readers might also be confused. Please help me.

On the one hand, you state that, back in the 1960s, the discretionary budget accounted for about 12 percent of GDP, but conclude the Republican freeze-for-10-years, which would would bring U.S. discretionary government spending to just 15.1 percent of GDP in 2021, is absurd. Why? Please advise us, given that we also had a Defense budget in the 1960's, and contrary to your statement, entitlement programs are not yet covered by a GOP budget proposal.

take care

Posted by: LulingRanchers | February 16, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, before I decided late last year to dig into the numbers and tables on the CBO scoring of the health care reform myself, we heard similar squabble from Democrats claiming the PPACA would 'reduce the deficit' and the GOP (particulary Rep. Ryan) claiming the PPACA would add to the deficit.

As I examined each sides claims in detail, I came away convinced Ryan's numbers were a lot closer to reality than the Democrats/CBO's. Sure, you could find some flaws in Ryan's numbers as well....but his totals were a lot closer to reality for me (a finance guy) than the garbage-math used by Democrats to project deficit-reduction from their health care reform.

So as the attention now turns to budget projections, keep that in mind....my money says Ryan will be a lot closer on his estimates than Obama will be on his. Obama and the Democrats have exactly zero credibility when it comes to estimating impacts of their legislation on revenues and expenses.

Posted by: dbw1 | February 16, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Did Paul Ryan always have a big, long nose?

Posted by: kishorgala | February 16, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"very nice, Ryan, very nice Repubs/Teaps/Dumbos.... Now let's get busy taking the logs out of our own eyes instead of looking at the specs in our neighbor's eyes.

I am waiting for every congressperson to offer a cut of $1 Billion dollars in their OWN districts. That should be about half a trillion dollars which is what needs to be cut from this proposed budget. Stop squandering my taxes."

If you don't know the difference between $50 billion and half a trillion, are you sure you should be taking a position on the U.S. budget?

Posted by: joeboe1 | February 16, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I did'nt read about either Paul Ryan or any other politician in Congress taking about taking a pay cut for themselves and foregoing the perks (including the hated hatealth care benefits) for themselves and their families. The same guys are proposing drastic cuts for the middle class and the poor.

Posted by: kms123 | February 16, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

To LulingRanchers:

Sorry if what i wrote was confusing!

The point I was trying to make is that discretionary spending, as a share of the overall economy, has been on a steady decline. In the 1960s, it was 12 percent; Obama (if you believe his budget projections) would bring it to 6.3 percent. But there is another part of the budget--mandatory spending on things like Social Security and Medicare--and that has been exploding. So the lowest it has ever been for both mandatory and discretionary spending is 17.2 percent, and Ryan would have Obama take it down to 15.1 percent.

Posted by: glennkessler | February 16, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Paul Ryan is simply a manipulative puppet for wealthy individuals and corporations. He cares nothing about America. Where is HIS budget suggestion? Where is HIS exit strategy in the middle east? Where is HIS ideas to create new job HERE in the US?
Since he has no real plans to bring forward, he simply makes up "facts" to attack his "target". When confronted with facts, all the righties can do is engage in name calling. They must have had some really positive "family values" morals from their parents.

Posted by: pjohn3 | February 16, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

good morning,

I am confused, and your other readers might also be confused. Please help me.

On the one hand, you state that, back in the 1960s, the discretionary budget accounted for about 12 percent of GDP, but conclude the Republican freeze-for-10-years, which would would bring U.S. discretionary government spending to just 15.1 percent of GDP in 2021, is absurd. Why? Please advise us, given that we also had a Defense budget in the 1960's, and contrary to your statement, entitlement programs are not yet covered by a GOP budget proposal.

take care


Posted by: LulingRanchers
________________
go back and read it again. the reference was to total outlays, not merely discretionary spending. the point was that to reach the GOP levels of total spending, there would be nothing left for discretionary, including defense. that's absurd

the idea that any spending over and above a lower level you propose but aren't serious about in any event is "new" is just proof that facts don't matter to the GOP.

Posted by: JoeT1 | February 16, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Joeboe1 -- did you know there are 435 congressmen? That, my dear, IS close to 1/2 trillion dollars. Way to ignore the issue and attack character. Watch Fox News much?

I wonder where these vaunted deficit hawks were during the Bush II years. They sure weren't decrying government spending then, were they? Funny how they come flying out of the woodwork when a Demoncrat takes the reins.

Posted by: Bush--notrelated | February 16, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

LulingRancher,
The column states that TOTAL federal government spending (not DISCRETIONARY spending) would be 15.1% of GDP in 2021 - the lowest since before 1962, the oldest budget numbers that are available. Discretionary spending would be only 6.3%, as compared to 12% in the 1960's.

Posted by: uwra | February 16, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@joeboe1:
"'I am waiting for every congressperson to offer a cut of $1 Billion dollars in their OWN districts. That should be about half a trillion dollars which is what needs to be cut from this proposed budget. Stop squandering my taxes.'

If you don't know the difference between $50 billion and half a trillion, are you sure you should be taking a position on the U.S. budget?"
**************************************

There are 435 Members of Congress, representing 435 districts, which would be $425 Billion. Not quite 1/2 trillion, but a lot closer to it than $50 Billion.

If you don't know the difference between Congressional Districts and States, are you sure you should be taking a position on the U.S. Budget?

Posted by: WK437 | February 16, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Attempting to implement Ryan's plan would make the 1930's look like a picnic by comparison. Does he know the consequences of what he saying or is it just that ignorant.

Posted by: withersb | February 16, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

An overriding question in the budget discussion is: How big should government be as a proportion of the economy? To address this question, it would be useful to compare the percent of GDP spent on government among advanced and/or large countries. Since the U.S. is such an outlier in defense spending, this would be helpful if done two ways: 1) including all defense spending (on both sides, U.S. and comparison countries), 2) excluding all countries' defense spending. Then we could see how the U.S. compares to other countries, including the ones that we hold up as models of economic competitiveness. Might give an idea of what is reasonable. Has this been done?

Posted by: Poster3 | February 16, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

It is so funny to read each side claiming high ground as to "my side is better than your side."

The basic question should be;

Why can't we all agree to protect our future and our children future, as "Americans."

The real failure is the "gladiator mentality"
that we forget in times of war, there is no political party, race, color or discrimination.

In a word..... Grow up and stand for your country and tell both parties we take care of our people and we don't need to be in two wars and acting as police for other countries stupidity.

That job is the UN's and it is time they start pitching in as well as other developed countries.

The greed has to stop as well and the billionaires that stole the money under Bush need to give it back to all those who's 401k's were raped.

This nation is becoming weaker by the day with our own people fighting like children and the likes of Bin Ladden are delighted to see such stupidity playing out.

Posted by: rbraun2000 | February 16, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

You go girl! So who won RonPaul's Drag Race?

Posted by: pejochum | February 16, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I am confused, and your other readers might also be confused. Please help me.

On the one hand, you state that, back in the 1960s, the discretionary budget accounted for about 12 percent of GDP, but conclude the Republican freeze-for-10-years, which would would bring U.S. discretionary government spending to just 15.1 percent of GDP in 2021, is absurd. Why? Please advise us, given that we also had a Defense budget in the 1960's, and contrary to your statement, entitlement programs are not yet covered by a GOP budget proposal.

take care


Posted by: LulingRanchers
________________
go back and read it again. the reference was to total outlays, not merely discretionary spending. the point was that to reach the GOP levels of total spending, there would be nothing left for discretionary, including defense. that's absurd

the idea that any spending over and above a lower level you propose but aren't serious about in any event is "new" is just proof that facts don't matter to the GOP.

Posted by: JoeT1 | February 16, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

------------------------------

Also, don't forget the difference in tax revenues during the 1960's:
In the '60's top income tax rates were 91%; now they are 35%. In addition, corporate tax revenues have been cut to the bone with all the loopholes corporate lawyers are able to apply. Without reasonable, increased revenues, cutting the deficit will be draconian and painful.

Posted by: mglbrown1 | February 16, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I sort of missed how Obama is supposed to be 'raising taxes'. Since this generally requires congressional action, and no politicians of either party currently have the guts to do that, it's hard to see how anybody has 'raised taxes'. Obama did want to let the so-called 'Bush tax cuts', which have so heavily contributed to the budget crisis Republicans pretend to care so much about, expire on at least the wealthier people. But Republicans put a stop to that. As usual, Republicans try to bash their opponents by 'just making stuff up'.

Posted by: DaveHarris | February 16, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

FACT CHECK MY ASSSSSSSSSSS! THESE ARE THE SAME IDIOTS WHO DID A FACT CHECK ON A SATURDAY NIGHT SKIT THAT WENT AGAINST OBAMA. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? LIBERALS JUST PLAIN SUCK.

Posted by: Cobra2 | February 16, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

You go girl! So who won RonPaul's Drag Race?

Posted by: pejochum | February 16, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

At last the cows are coming home to roost!

Posted by: MrBethesda | February 16, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

FACT CHECK MY ASSSSSSSSSSS! THESE ARE THE SAME IDIOTS WHO DID A FACT CHECK ON A SATURDAY NIGHT SKIT THAT WENT AGAINST OBAMA. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? LIBERALS JUST PLAIN SUCK.

Posted by: Cobra2
______________________________________________
Hey tea-bagger try decaf! And please take off the caps lock for any future mindless rants. Please.

Posted by: Observer001 | February 16, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Never have so many people been so dependent upon so many d-bags.

Posted by: Aerowaz | February 16, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who takes Paul Ryan seriously cannot be taken seriously.

If you want to read about the economy, read the other Paul's blog. (The Nobel prize winner, who actually knows about the economy.)

Posted by: Marc12345 | February 16, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

No mater how you slice it., both parties are playing games to keep the masses in the dark.

They can't predict what happened LAST YEAR correctly, let alone ten years into the future. It's time we demand they get back to generating a budget YEAR by YEAR for that year only and stop with the games of what MIGHT happen in 2 -4- 8-10 years. Everyone knows the next administration, whomever that will be is not constrained by what the last guy did.

Maybe it's time we elected a women into the white house, after all we tried a black guy and we all know that's not working.

Posted by: frankn1 | February 16, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Since when did facts or reality matter to a teahadist?

Posted by: Garak | February 16, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

To pick a small nit, there are 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators, so there are 535 Congressmen.

Posted by: wvanpup | February 16, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse


Who appointed Kessler the left wing parrot as fact checker, hmm? Nobody, that's who.

Posted by: screwjob23 | February 16, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Not to be common, but does Paul Ryan look like how we imagined a grown-up Eddie Munster?

Posted by: bmschumacher | February 16, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

If one of these Pinocchios is for Ryan using a 10-year window, then it seems a bit unfair to single Ryan out for the Pinocchio when Obama and everyone else is batting around similar 10-year projections. The White House claim of reducing $1.1 trillion from the deficit is similarly one of those nifty 10-year numbers, and it ignores the fact that the deficit will still be larger than $1.1 trillion for each of the next two or three years at least, which makes the couple hundred billion trimmed from last year's stimulus-bloated budget seem pretty insignificant.

The reality is that Obama massively increased federal spending in 2009 with the stimulus. His 2010 budget sought to make many of these spending increases permanent. Now, his new budget is, so graciously and voluntarily, offering to peel back a small percentage of those increases.

Ryan may be twisting a few numbers to his advantage, but he's certainly not the only one in Washington doing so.

Posted by: blert | February 16, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Healthcare is an unlimited want, to borrow an economic term, in a free society. And the Med and SS system we have now was designed with no forethought to a time where population growth is unsustainable, which probably happened a generation ago. Such a pay as you go program is great to get elected by because nobody pays their fair share, and it doesn't help when the government borrows against the trust fund. But, as technology advances, health in a free society is an unlimited want. It's not possible to pay for it all. What part of discretionary spending do people want to cut? The part where they send their kids to school for free? Because that's 10K a year. Roads? Rails? Defense? Clean air, water, land? Waterways? Parks? Regulation that benefits everyone, including industry, because it creates a level playing field? Where? What? Most of the easy stuff is budgetary noise. If one could bring the cost of healthcare down, how would one do it? Primary physicians and registered nurses are already underpaid. Proof of that is we have a free market and a deficit in primary care. Ask anyone who could have, but didn't go to med school for such. "It takes too long, and costs to much." What they are really saying is that the reward is not great enough. So, how do you bring costs down in a free market when people are free to choose how they live? AND the costs are ALREADY depressed? The one area we typically lose are drug costs, but that's only because everyone else has artificially low costs; and if we can level that playing field, EVERYONE will pay American prices and the system will balance out. Those costs are not going away unless you are willing to deal with shortages. So where is this magic reform? What will we do? Spend more money than we can afford. Why? In a free society, getting elected is the most important thing, and managing expectations --unlimited wants--is a quick way to get un-elected. Sometimes, it's good to have a King.

Posted by: NovaMike | February 16, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Glenn, I greatly appreciate the Fact Checker analyses. Keep up the good work. I look forward to your overall analysis of Obama's version of federal budget tall tale telling.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 16, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Glenn, for stories and claims that are so outrageous that even 4 Pinocchios may not be enough (I'm thinking of Don Rumsfeld's recent book a an example), have you considered using an image of a pair of pants on fire?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 16, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Why are Glenn Kessler's figures more reliable than Paul Ryan's or Obama's? What makes this journalist think he knows what he is talking about? He added nothing new but words, and the arguments will continue. But Kessler will keep his job.

Posted by: rimantas1 | February 16, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Your 1:15 PM update is interesting, but leaves out that we are the other countries are also getting government sponsored/paid health care.

Too bad the Republicans forced single payer and government option off the table. That could have saved a ton of money and improved the health of the country.

Too bad; soooo sad...

Posted by: mberke | February 16, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, figures lie and liars figure. And Barry's getting pretty good at the game. BTW, I'd be very reluctant to rely on any analysis by someone with no background or experience in budgeting, especially having to produce and execute a budget.

Posted by: jpost1 | February 16, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

_____________________
Careful, your obvious bias is showing and not any fact of any value. I suspect you haven't much experience in this either as most politicians don't -- and if they do, it isn't about budgeting at all but about working the numbers to their best advantage as the article pointed out. If the GOP is so anxious to bash, why are they so bashful about putting forward a plan of their own; telling the American people what, exactly, they are prepared to cut? It is easy to throw rocks, as you have demonstrated. How about a useful counter proposal instead?

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | February 16, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

from blert:

"The reality is that Obama massively increased federal spending in 2009 with the stimulus. "

But that stimulus was 60% tax cuts - further proof that tax cuts do not stimulate the economy.

However, the Republican insisted on that multi-trillion-dollar tax cut for the upper 2% of the population. That REALLY helped the budget shortfall.

Ten years of trickle-down economics failed to work. Why should we expect it to work now?

The definition of insanity is doing exactly the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Time to try something different. Note that when taxes were the highest, the country prospered the most (1950,s 1960s). Since Mr. Reagan said deficits don't matter; do away with labor unions (remember PATCO?) and made up "facts" (remember the non-existent welfare queen with the big black Cadillac and 8 children?) and "govamint is the problem"?) started us on the path to today.

Today we see the victory of slick salesmanship over common sense a reason. Pogo was right: "We have met the enemy and it's us."

Too bad; soooo sad...

Posted by: mberke | February 16, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama & ilk do not know what they are doing. The deficit can not be brought down/paid off by continued spending on credit...it's as simple as that. Posted by: lolas13 | February 16, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

__________________
And Bush and ilk did?

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | February 16, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I've got news for Orange Boner and the extremist Republican party:


Now that you have some actual power again (the House) you won't be able to get away with spending all of your time throwing verbal bombs at the Dems, going golfing and then hitting the DC cocktail circuit at night every day.


You either CREATE JOBS or you will be gone in 2012 so fast that your heads will spin!


Chop chop Repugs!


You've got two years!


Time's a wastin'!


.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 16, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Hazmat77 wrote: "LOL ... [the 10-year budget] was done to create the mystifying 'Clinton Surplus'; which never really existed, did it?"

That surplus existed in very real terms. The treasury stopped issuing 30-year bonds in 2001 because the government's borrowing needs decreased. Shorter term bills and notes were still issued to refinance the existing deficit and to fund the government's cash flow requirements.

The 30-year bonds were reinstated in 2006 as the Bush administration ran up the. And they were reinstated to lock in lower interest rates by refinancing older, higher interest treasury securities.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | February 16, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Hazmat77 wrote: "LOL ... [the 10-year budget] was done to create the mystifying 'Clinton Surplus'; which never really existed, did it?"

That surplus existed in very real terms. The treasury stopped issuing 30-year bonds in 2001 because the government's borrowing needs decreased. Shorter term bills and notes were still issued to refinance the existing deficit and to fund the government's cash flow requirements.

The 30-year bonds were reinstated in 2006 as the Bush administration ran up the deficit.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | February 16, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

sasquatchbigfoot wrote: "Glenn, for stories and claims that are so outrageous that even 4 Pinocchios may not be enough (I'm thinking of Don Rumsfeld's recent book a an example), have you considered using an image of a pair of pants on fire?"

Pantsonfire is used by a competing fact checking site called politifact.org.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | February 16, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

You are telling us what we already know.
All politicians are lying dirt bags.

Posted by: nychap44 | February 16, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

We are so screwed.

Posted by: binaryboy | February 16, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Has Paul Ryan opened his mouth in the last two years without lying profusely? Why does anyone besides a fervid anti-Obama Republican listen to this guy? Above all, why does the media give him any credence?

Posted by: DWSouthern | February 16, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The defense budget that both parties and the media present to the American populace are not even close to the reality- we are WATING over $1.5 TRILLION a year- below are the REAL defense and security numbers-

The real cost of military and security spending= FY 2009
Current Military
$965 billion:
• Military Personnel $129 billion
• Operation & Maint. $241 billion
• Procurement $143 billion
• Research & Dev. $79 billion
• Construction $15 billion
• Family Housing $3 billion
• DoD misc. $4 billion
• Retired Pay $70 billion
• DoE nuclear weapons $17 billion
• NASA (50%) $9 billion
• International Security $9 billion
• Homeland Secur. (military) $35 billion
• State Dept. (partial) $6 billion
• other military (non-DoD) $5 billion
• “Global War on Terror” $200 billion [We added $162 billion to the last item to supplement the Budget’s grossly underestimated $38 billion in “allowances” to be spent in 2009 for the “War on Terror,” which includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]
Past Military,
$484 billion:
• Veterans’ Benefits $94 billion
• Interest on national debt (80%) created by military spending, $390 billion
Subtotal = $1,449 TRILLION
Does not include the following-
+ Three letter intel agencies $80 Billion (number estimated by the wash post)
TOTAL = $1,529 TRILLION


TIME TO END THE DESTRUCTION IDIOTCY!

Posted by: ticked | February 16, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

It seems as though plutocrats and social conservatives always get the last word on budgetary matters. As to spending for war and preparation for war the U.S. has traditionally given the Pentagon a blank check. Plutocrats want the U.S. to govern the world: most especially those places that fail to fall in line with plutocratic business objectives. Social Conservatives see war service as a means to discharge one's patriotic obligations and therefore is traditionally supported regardless of cost. Arranging for prosperous, healthy, well-educated, productive citizens can cost a pretty penny but makes collecting income tax and selling things easier because the end products (citizens) are well compensated. Traditionally, citizens are all to be Daniel Boones and Davy Crocketts, who live off the fat of the land and need not afford themselves any book learning. If it was thus early on then it must be so now. It is, after all, Tradition. Trillions for war and not a dime for schools or health care. Seems a little one-sided to me.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 16, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

As they say, the devil is in the details. I appreciate FactChecker doing the research necessary to put things in perspective. However, one doesn't have to go far to see how Republicans not only overreact to Obama but manage to be hypocrites when one learns what their pet spending projects are. The Prsident suggested cuts across the spectrum. It still remains a travesty that the Bush tax cuts were extended, especially for the superwealthy. Working people can afford the taxes that existed before the Bush tax cuts. One tax that was not cut was the maximum tax on social security, a benefit payment that has not changed in two years.

Posted by: EarlC | February 16, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse


It's a good thing the United States has Capitalism, Corporate America, and multi-billionaires and millionaires who refuse to pay their fair percentage of taxes to get us out of this jam.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | February 16, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Why do we continue to ignore reality. We spend a large amount of money looking for ways to minimize spending. And both parties twist,con,lie, distort and blame and nothing gets done. Why do we continue to find ways to cut defense, medicare, healthcare and other areas that minimize the well being of all american citizens. Both parties give lip service to the expenses we pay annualy for benefits for illegal citizens. Why do we willingly take money from the American citizen and give it to the illegal non american? It just makes no sense to lower our defense so we can pay benefits to an illegal.
Dan

Posted by: danoleary3 | February 16, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Nothing ever gets done, because the few intelligent citizens who dare to voice rational thoughts get drowned out by the people who have discovered that the best thing about living in the world's greatest democracy in the electronic age is the 24/7 availability of medium through which to demonstrate their mindless, incomprehensible idiocy without actually having to be accountable for whatever ridiculous thing they've said.

And we wonder where our politicians learned how not to be accountable, to shift blame and to distort the truth....do you people have any IDEA how ridiculous you sound?

WE are to blame. As a society, WE became addicted to credit, oil, Calvin Klein, reality tv, and selective memory. We want to make our reality what would like it to be, rather than what it is.....a ridiculously complex, nearly insurmountable effort to reconcile the expectations of 300 million people.....most of whom can't read, type, or count with any degree of accuracy. We are a society of people who make terrible decisions every day, and then we boil with rage when our politicians do exactly as we do. We go to jobs in corporations every single day, in every corner of this country, expecting our piece of the pie regardless of the fact that our entire SYSTEM is broken, and then we complain when our politicians do the same.

There isn't a CEO in the world who could manage it, or a psychologist worth his salt that would advocate taking on the task. When every single one of the over-20 citizens of this country learns to manage money efficiently and is educated enough to make flawless decisions for his or herSELF, then our government will do the same and problems will be resolved. You sound like idiots, no matter which side of the fence you happen to be on.

Posted by: MaggieBee | February 16, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kessler, I think you got the numbers backwards in this part: "No one really has any clue what the gross domestic product will be 10 years from now, let alone five years." Don't you mean " . . . five years from now, let alone 10"?

Posted by: MekhongKurt1 | February 17, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Though I don't know how my two anecdotes might figure into the grand scheme of things, they do give me reason to pause and reflect upon our national budget and debt, so I thought I would pass them along.

I went to an eye doctor the other day for a general eye chheck-up and prescription check. On the phone, when I was making an appointment, I mentioned I have no insurance to cover these expenses and asked how much I would need to pay. And I did this before the clerk mentioned insurance at all, the point being she knew I don't have any insurance before she told me the prices: $185 for the general eye exam, plus another $30 for the prescription check.

In the event, I was presented a bill for just $60. Believing that to be in error, I mentioned it to the clerk. She told me my bill had been adjusted, but offered no explanation. I asked her why -- adding I was glad, of course -- and she just smiled and said the doctor is a good guy. (which is how he struck me during that first meeting with him, for whatever that's worth.)

But I suspect that the bill for an eye exam is inflated just over sixfold when an insurance company is going to pay. While I have no love for insurance companies (to say the least), this isn't fair to them. IF that's the reason, that is. Surely the doctor didn't just vgive be a %155 discount just out of kindness, especially since it was the first time I had been to him.

The other anecdote also involving the medical field. I take mo0duretic for blood pressure. I happen to live overseas, where I can get it over the counter as cheap as the equivalent of 7.5 US cents per pill (at a wholesale pharmecutical outlet), and never for more than the equivalent of 10 cents per pill. I looked it up online today, as I'm in the US on a lengthy vacation and might need to replinish my supply before going home [overseas home, that is]. I was dumbfounded to find that I could get it for no less than 75 cents PER PILL -- and then only iff I buy a year's supply. And from a supplier in Canada, at that. If I want a month's supply, the price-per-pill doubles to $1.50. AND -- I have to have a prescription. The medicine isn't produced in the country where I live, but in the US, as I understand it. Yes, labor and business costs (some of them, though not all) are higher here than they are there. But that much difference is, at the very least, questionable. Fifteen TIMES as much? -- come ON.

I also need to get a blood test I called about. I was told it will cost $135 at a lab (sans doctor). But I haven't had it yet, so I can't say what'll happen once I actually pay for it -- maybe I'll get a steep discount for paying cash.

Of course there are going to be extra expenses for the lab (and doctor) to process an insurance claim. But I'm far from convinced those costs multiply like the most fertile of rabbits.

If these are at all representative, time to take a look at the whole medical situation and its funding. Again.

Posted by: MekhongKurt1 | February 17, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell says it can all be worked out in private. "...In private". The propaganda noise makes us ordinaries adds passion and more uninformed partisan stupidity to the goal- not much else.

Def Sec Gates incentivized re-balancing of expenditures by offering the savings to management heads to re-direct into smarter spending. That method doesn't save anything, but it gets solutions closer to the details- something that all this posturing does not.

Higher marginal rates should be a given. (The turnips can't give much more blood). In fact, the way TAXES have been successfully characterized as "evil" blinds the population to the real solution. Fish swim, dogs walk, birds fly, and governments levy taxes to pay for the common good.

Americans should pay their bills and shut up about it. Our pampered life in debt-fueled unreality isn't worth it if it comes at the expense of our collective future.

Posted by: rowens1 | February 20, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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