Chart of the Day

More evidence in convenient chart form that President Obama isn't the big government spender the Republicans are claiming he is.

By the way, one way to infuriate your Republican friends when they tell you they didn't like George W. Bush's spending either, mention to them that Reagan tripled the debt. It was $994 billion in 1981, and rose to $2.8 trillion in 1989. Stand back and watch the "uhhh, but, uhhh."

  • danah gaz

    I’m actually glad my comment got moderation. Maybe it will be looked at carefully. Bob, in the big picture this argument is bad. When did you stop beating your wife bad. Cutting spending in the face of a demand weak economy is bad. Arguing that Obama has cut spending is a trap because by doing so you are tacitly endorsing the idea that cutting spending is a good thing. It’s not. This is about framing and messaging. You took the bait.

    • muselet

      I’m not so sure.

      The Rs are claiming that Obama has doubled the deficit (he hasn’t), expanded the size of government (he hasn’t), increased the number of government employees (he hasn’t), increased regulation (he hasn’t), increased government spending (he hasn’t), et bleedin’ cetera and it’s all false. Those falsehoods must be refuted, I hope you’ll agree.

      However, if pointing out that the Rs are lying is a bad idea because the lie that’s being refuted will ipso facto be endorsed, then how does one go about countering the lie?

      That’s not snark, that’s a serious question. I agree that the Ds—and liberals and progressives and everyone with a brain and a heart—have to be careful how they frame (I hate that term!) their arguments, but they must make counterarguments.

      How does one counter a lie without engaging the substance of the lie?


      • danah gaz

        There are plenty of lies to choose from.

        You don’t need to “counter” this one. That’s what you are expected to do.

        How to address it? It’s simple: Say, “Policies that seek to reduce spending in the face of a demand weak economy lead to slower growth, and a greater deficit.” That’s all.

        Narrative people. You always need to be thinking on it. The other side sure is.

      • danah gaz

        I should add, in case you haven’t noticed, that the GOP manages to win without engaging, all the time by avoiding the substance of our arguments and changing the frame of the debate. It *works*.

        We have a better message, but we keep playing defense. THIS is a defensive argument. It forces us to talk about spending cuts – and even if the substance of the counter is true, you lose by tacitly buttressing the claim that “spending cuts are good”, instead of talking about how things like infrastructure investments will increase our GDP, and thus reduce the deficit.

        And furthermore, by tacitly endorsing the claim, you are playing right into the GOP’s hands, because the current crop of Republicans are talking about engaging in EVEN MORE spending cuts, so whatever Obama cuts, they win by advocating for MORE.

        Karl Rove and the GOP *want* Bob to be making this argument.

        This argument needs to be DERAILED. That’s how we win. Not by defending *their* ideas. That’s what is happening here.

        • muselet

          Again, I don’t disagree on substance.

          However, it’s nigh-on impossible to derail a Republican narrative when:
          (a) our glorious news media are intrinsically inclined to take Republican arguments more seriously than Democratic arguments (because Rs are the serious ones); and
          (b) the reporters working for our glorious news media are (with precious few exceptions) bone lazy and proudly ignorant, and a few of them are actively stupid.

          How to address it? It’s simple: Say, “Policies that seek to reduce spending in the face of a demand weak economy lead to slower growth, and a greater deficit.” That’s all.

          As a practical matter, by the time you said the word “face” in that sentence, every political or economic reporter in the country—not just the ones who work at FNC—would have fallen asleep or reached for his/her smartphone to check his/her email, because you’ve already bored him/her. They swoon over Paul Ryan—whom Charles P. Pierce at Esquire rightly called “the zombie-eyed granny-starver”—because he doesn’t bore them with details or confuse them with big words, and he spins his simple tales with the demeanor of someone who knows what he’s talking about (even though he doesn’t) and gets credit because his (idiotic) ideas gibe with their preconceptions. Paul Krugman, on the other hand, is dismissed as a crank because he talks about facts and numbers and all that complicated stuff they didn’t teach in reporter school.

          So how, as a practical matter, does one go about derailing the Rs’ argument without access to the media?


          • danah gaz

            You are absolutely correct in your assessment of the media. I think that this chart would be similarly ignored. The media is corrupt, and I am not sure how we go about fixing it.

            For my part, I try to push back on an individual basis among people I know. A big part of that is calling out the television among my friends, and relatives. Especially among the older set (like my parents). They grew up trusting TV. So I tell them that the TV they grew up with is not the TV we have today. I tell them if they want to know what is going on, the first thing they need to do is to turn it off.

            (While this applies to newspapers as well, the sad fact is most people are quicker to turn on television than open a newspaper).

            This is an issue that is dear to me. I feel that on some level, Occupy was yelling at the wrong buildings (an accusation often leveled at the tea party) – I think we should have been occupying the lobbies of all of the major news networks.

            I also think that it’s important to stop shilling for MSNBC, CNN, etc. It’s not just Fox that’s bankrupt – they all are, they just play a little differently. The corruption and mendacity is across the board. Even if the difference is degree, it doesn’t matter. The end result is that we are constantly lied to.

            Kill your TV

          • danah gaz

            Adding, we still have some hold on the Internet, and I am not encouraged when I see otherwise intelligent bloggers fall victim to the same framing trap that we see all the time in the MSM.

    • Bob Cesca

      You kind of have a point, though I’ve been critical of the president’s budget cutting measures, too. Especially the debt ceiling deal last Summer.

  • Brutlyhonest

    When you confront the true believers with facts about St Raygun’s fiscal mess, you do not get stammering, you get called a god-damned liar; actually, that is usually screamed at you.

    • missliberties

      They key to the true believers dogma is simple. They believe in spending, just no on social safety nets.

  • Ed Dolan

    Good graph, but in fact, if you measure government by its share in GDP, spending has not just flattened, but actually fallen under Obama. See the graph at the end of this post for details:

    • nathkatun7

      The right wing Republicans have mastered Orwellian speak: Up is down, war is peace, unity is division, and hatred is love. I distinctly remember Mitt Romney and other Republicans blaming President Obama, in March of 2009, when he was barely two months in office, for the low stock prices. But the same Republicans insisted on blaming Bill Clinton for the 9/11/ 2011 attacks although George W. Bush had been in office for almost nine months. The same happened with the killing of OBL! George Bush could’t find him for 8 years although he promised to get him, “dead or alive.” But when President Obama finally got him, the same right wingers rushed to the media to assert that credit should go to George W. Bush.

      To be honest, my beef is not with the blatant liars and extremist of what now passes as the Republican party. Rather, my beef is with the so called mainstream media who allow the right wing Republicans to get away with telling lies. Surely, the media know the dire economic conditions President Obama inherited. They also know how the President worked so hard and succeeded in saving the country from going into another Great Depression. The media know how hard President Obama has worked to reduce spending even as he focused on spending on projects that stimulate the economy and build a strong economic foundation for future growth that will benefit all Americans and not just the top 1% The media know that President Obama cut taxes both for individuals and small businesses and never raised taxes on any one, including the super rich. Yet, the media looks the other way, or sometimes joins in, when President Obama is being ostracized for everything, mostly on the basis of lies, and including things that took place before he was President.

      In my humble opinion, the U.S. media, which seems to be more pre-occupied with silly and manufactured scandals, repeating GOP talking points and horse race polls about who is up and who is down, is doing a great disservice to our country. If not for the complicit media, Mitt Romney and the Republicans would not be going around telling lies about how President Obama has been igniting a fire of spending that’s unprecedented in the entire history of America. The majority of Americans, who rely on mainstream media, and know nothing about blogs like this one, buy into the GOP lies as if they were true. And because the mainstream media is either so lazy or so cowardly to tell them otherwise, we end up with politicians who think they can be elected based on falsehoods. I repeat, the mainstream media in the United states are failing the country. They’ve totally abrogate

      • nathkatun7

        My last sentence was cut off! What I wanted to emphasize is the fact that the mainstream U.S. media has abrogated their responsibility of ensuring that the public is told the Truth, not only about politics, but also about how their government functions. The unprecedented minority Republican filibusters in the United States Senate to prevent President Obama from implementing his policies, or to deny him people appointed to implement those policies, is hardly covered by the media. Yet the people who are doing everything to derail the President’s policies to ensure that he fails, are given media platforms to attack him for being a failure. The media have the power to put a stop to this nonsense! That doesn’t mean that they can’t aggressively evaluate the President’s policies based on objectivity. But it’s shame that most of the media have chosen to rely on the GOP talking points to evaluate President Obama, thereby misinforming and misleading the majority of Americans who still rely on them for information.

        • Victor_the_Crab

          Well stated!

  • Mike Calma

    Let’s not forget – as Republicans would like – that Reagan tripled the deficit despite RAISING TAXES 11 TIMES. So all those GOPers who would like you to believe that Reagan was some type of Conservative Tax-Cutting Govenment-Shrinking Deficit-Busting god are just blowing smoke and need to CHECK THE FACTS.

  • missliberties

    I learned today that when Romney left his term as Governor of Massachusetts he left the state with a billion dollars of debt.

    This is just what conservatives do. Every Republican has increased the debt during their term.

    The solution to the debt is not cutting spending, but having the good common sense and decency to raise revenues.

    We don’t have a deficit problem, we have a revenue problem. The Bush tax cuts reduced revenue while at the same time spending was increased for the Wars, etc. Meanwhile those sacred job creators seemed to have gone missing in action.

    • Mike Calma

      The fact that you “just learned” about Mitt Romney’s economic legacy for Massachusetts shows how the Democrats need to do more to expose the lies surrounding Romney’s record. This is why he cannot use his only experience in government to run on. This is why his experience at Bain Capital is so important to him and why he is touting this as the reason people should elect him. He is hoping that voters like yourself will buy into the hype that a venture capitalist who is experienced in generating PROFIT – not jobs – is better suited to be president.

      • missliberties

        Trust me darlin’ I am not buying the hype.

        My feeling is that it is kind of clever to let these facts get rolled out as a part of the narrative the vulture capitalism is not a job creating financial mechanism.

        The look on Carly Fiorina’s face was priceless when this newsworthy tidbit was spoken aloud on MTP.

    • Ltanya Spearman

      the question is: When did they ever creat jobs in the last 12 years?

      • danah gaz

        That’s certainly a better line of discussion than the subject of this post.