Calling Chris Matthews On His Fake Statistics

Chris Matthews during an edition of Hardball i...Image via Wikipedia
While watching "Hardball" with Chris Matthews, the myth of Obama inheriting a $1.2 trillion deficit was once again trotted out by Chris Matthews, and predictably unchallenged by any of the panelists. Maybe he has anger issues with those who disagree with him (Keith Olbermann Syndrome), so nobody dares speak up.  Regardless, Chris Matthews tries to come across as the smartest guy in the room, but more often butchers his facts so bad that he comes across just looking foolish.  The truth is, that for all the excessive spending by the Republicans and Bush Administration, the $1.2 Trillion dollar figure is a complete lie. The frustrating thing, is that for many, this is now "common knowledge" and accepted at face value. So, what is the truth? When George W. Bush took office in January 2001, he inherited a $128 Billion surplus, which was $108 Billion dollars less than the high water mark of $236 Billion. (see chart)We were also going into a recession at that time, whose genesis was traced to around Sep-Oct 2000, 3 - 4 months before Bush took office. Due to this, the 9/11 attacks, and fighting a two front war (we can argue the merits of those later - this is just background), by 2004 the deficit had reached $ 413 Billion. BUT, from that point to 2007, after the Bush Tax cuts kicked in, the deficit decreased to $162 Billion dollars. Between 2007 and 2008 the deficit increased to nearly $400 Billion. This increase happens to coincide with Democrats being swept into power in both the House and the Senate in 2006. Where do all spending bills originate? The House of Representatives. The President submits a budget, but it is Congress ' job to come up with the final budget, and nearly every budget has more spending in it than what is proposed by the President.  By the time all 535 members of the House and Senate have gotten their hands on it and wheeled and dealed for money and projects for their districts, the price tag balloons. In all fairness though, I wish that Bush had either vetoed or fought Congress on some of the budgets sent to his desk for signing. He does bear some of the blame, as do many of the Republicans who forgot that they were elected to be the Party of small government, and instead became Democrat-Lite.
Back to the $1.2 Trillion Bush Deficit myth that Obama "inherited". This figure is arrived at by adding the $400 Billion deficit at the end of the Bush term, and over $800 Billion from the stimulus package.  One problem. That $800 Billion was passed AFTER President Obama took office. It was money that had to be spent, because we "have to do something". It was to ensure that unemployment would not go above 8% (9.6% and climbing), keep the banks from collapsing (still not lending any money), and to bail-out Chrysler (again), and GM(still losing money - Ford which didn't accept a bailout, is making money).
The media, and people like Chris Matthews, are going to have to do a lot better at fact-checking, or lying, as there are far too many places to go where people can do their own research.  Why do people not trust the mainstream media today? Because there are far too many examples of distorting facts or outright lying in which they've been caught and exposed.
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