Ryan’s Absurd Lie About Obama’s Spending

Ryan’s Absurd Lie About Obama’s Spending September 17, 2012

There are three kinds of lies, the old cliche says: Lies, damn lies and statistics. Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan seems to be doing all three when he claims that Obama has “doubled the size of government since he took office. PolitiFact calls this one a “pants on fire” lie. From Ryan’s website:

“Strong leadership is needed in the White House, but despite repeated acknowledgments of the gravity of the federal government’s fiscal outlook, the president seems to have ignored the warnings of his own experts and punted on the (fiscal year) 2012 budget. The budget proposal he submitted to Congress last year continues down the same unsustainable path: doubling the size of government since the President took office, imposing $1.6 trillion in new taxes on families, small businesses and job creators and tripling the debt since the President was elected.

And PolitiFact debunks the lie:

First, let’s look at the amount of federal outlays when Obama “took office.” According to the Office of Management and Budget, federal outlays for fiscal year 2009 — the fiscal year that was underway when Obama was inaugurated — totaled $3.5 trillion…

CBO concluded that by fiscal year 2012 — the current fiscal year — the president’s budget proposal would increase federal outlays to $3.7 trillion. That’s a 6 percent increase — a far cry from doubling.

If you take a longer time horizon, the outlays come closer to doubling, but still not close. By fiscal year 2021 — the final year for which CBO provided its analysis and long after Obama will have left office — federal outlays would reach $5.8 trillion. That’s an increase of 66 percent, which is still not double.

However, even if that figure truly represented a doubling, using the 2021 figure is misleading. When Ryan said that Obama “has doubled the size of government since he took office,” it sounds like he’s saying Obama has already doubled the size of government — not that his spending blueprint will lead to doubled federal outlays at a point five years after Obama’s theoretical second term in office will have come to an end.

“I think it is pretty clear” that Ryan’s claim “in a straight budget sense is false, because it implies it has already happened,” said Steve Ellis, the vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Just to be sure, we also looked at the figures for federal outlays as a percentage of gross domestic product. These numbers actually decline from 25.0 percent in fiscal 2009 to 23.6 percent in fiscal 2012, and then moves within a narrow range, ending up at 24.2 percent in fiscal 2021. No doubling here, either.

The Ryan campaign says they used 2008 as a starting point, but that fiscal year ended before Obama was even elected, much less in office. He had zero control over the 2008 budget, and very little control over the 2009 budget, for that matter (most of the 2009 budget was already in place when he took office, but he did sign the stimulus bill that added about $800 billion to the deficit that year). This is just a lie, plain and simple. And it’s now been removed from Ryan’s website after PolitiFact pointed out that it’s a lie.

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  • d cwilson

    Has Ryan ever told a lie that wasn’t absurd?

  • machintelligence

    There is also a Romney ad that claims that government spending has changed at a rate unprecedented in the last 50 years. It has, with the rate being the lowest in the last 50 years. I believe this is called lying by omission.

  • blf

    Has Ryan ever told a truth that wasn’t trivial?

    (I’m assuming he hasn’t lied about something, such as his date-of-birth or somesuch…)

  • anaximanchild

    … or something trivial, like marathon times.

  • slc1

    Re anaximanchlild @ #4

    Ah, Ryan is just embarrassed because Sarah Palin beat his time by almost an hour.

  • trucreep

    I give them credit for taking it down.

    Let’s be honest though, they can lie because most people don’t care.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    The Ryan campaign says they used 2008 as a starting point, but that fiscal year ended before Obama was even elected, much less in office. He had zero control over the 2008 budget, and very little control over the 2009 budget, for that matter (most of the 2009 budget was already in place when he took office, but he did sign the stimulus bill that added about $800 billion to the deficit that year).

    I’m skeptical the emphasized assertion is true for a handful of reasons.

    The stimulus was passed in the Spring of 2009. That package had spending and tax cuts extending into 2011 – they’re weren’t all exhausted in a couple of months. So I’m skeptical it could have added $800 billion of deficits to the 2009 fiscal year which ended in September of 2009. In addition $800 billion is close to the amount of the stimulus ($831 billion); where the stimulus did have a stimulative impact on GDP – it didn’t merely create debt. That marginal benefit to GDP would offset the spending and tax cuts with some additional tax revenues given the stimulus increased income, even in 2009 but especially in 2011 and beyond.

  • dingojack

    Man oh man, the republicans need this like (another) hole in their heads.

    Intrade today/i>

    winner of the Presidential election 2012

    by party

    Democratic: 66.068% (up by 5.1288% over last week) [lead 32.335]

    Republican: 33.733% (down ” 5.3385% ” ” “)

    other: 0.2 (up ” 0.0997% ” ” “).

    Head-to-head match-up

    Obama: 66.2% (up by 5.86% since last week) [Lead by 32.4]

    Romney: 33.8% (down ” ” ” “).

    With only 7 weeks to go, no wonder the right-wing pundits are practicing their excuses on the the great unwashed now, and the Republicans are positioning themselves as far away from the candidate as they reasonably can.

    In 8 weeks it’s gonna be a lonely job being Mr Rmoney. I guess the Beatles had it right about “money can’t buy you love”.

    Dingo

  • Michael Heath

    slc1 writes:

    Ryan is just embarrassed because Sarah Palin beat his time by almost an hour.

    I would get Ms. Palin’s time validated prior to spreading it about; she’s not exactly trustworthy. I also wouldn’t be surprised if she cheated; so even if there’s a recorded time available from the relevant race administrators I wouldn’t trust it.

  • Michael Heath

    The Romney campaign may begin relinquishing the economy argument to the president; withe the exception of the upcoming debates of course. Politico’s Mike Allen published a report last evening which has gone viral; it’s about the Romney campaign conceding they’re managing a failed campaign.

    So the decision this week within the Romney camp is whether to move off the economy and onto other issues. While their campaign has noted such, it’s obvious given past failed conservative campaigns that the most likely alternative would have them making a bigger effort to rile up their Christian base by focusing on their racism, fear, hatred, and ignorance. So it could get ugly.

    I perceive this week as a test of character similar to one Sen. McCain passed through. And while I think Sen. McCain was in no way qualified to be president, he did pass that test; not with an A but at least a C. We know Fox News is more than happy to help Republicans enflame their Christian viewers given they did it in 2008; in fact no request is necessary they’re doing it unilaterally.

  • dingojack

    Michael H – On the tail of a series of ugly riots by Muslims, over a laughably amateur film, would that really be a good idea?

    Dingo

  • Trebuchet

    So the decision this week within the Romney camp is whether to move off the economy and onto other issues. While their campaign has noted such, it’s obvious given past failed conservative campaigns that the most likely alternative would have them making a bigger effort to rile up their Christian base by focusing on their racism, fear, hatred, and ignorance. So it could get ugly.

    More preaching to the choir is going to help Romney? Seriously? None of those people are going to be voting for Obama regardless, and a great many of them are in states so red the color would run in the wash so it doesn’t even matter if they stay home. If he’s going to win swing states, Romney would have to move toward the middle. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to have figured that out yet.

  • slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #9

    I have not taken the time to conduct a full investigation but it is my, albeit, limited understanding that the time was verified by the race sponsors and that other participants testified that they saw her in action.

  • John Hinkle

    Ryan should make a campaign stop in a Burger King because he’s very fond of whoppers.

  • dave

    slc1@5:

    Ryan is just embarrassed because Sarah Palin beat his time by almost an hour.

    My understanding was that Ryan ran approximately 4:01 while Palin did a 3:59. Unless this is an example of Ryan/Palin-esque stretching of the truth, Im clear how a two-minute difference counts as “almost an hour.”

  • slc1 “I have not taken the time to conduct a full investigation but it is my, albeit, limited understanding that the time was verified by the race sponsors and that other participants testified that they saw her in action.”

    Plus the Russians could see her from there.

  • slc1

    Re Dave @ #15

    Apparently, my understanding and Dave’s understanding are at variance. My understanding was that she came in in a little more then 3 hours. However, my understanding may well be seriously in error. Perhaps someone can post a link. However, it may be that she has run the marathon more then once and the 3 hour figure is from an earlier effort when she was considerably younger.

  • dave
  • Michael Heath

    Here’s the marathon result for the one marathon Sarah Palin claims to have run and completed: http://www.marathonguide.com/results/browse.cfm?MIDD=1369050821

    Type in Sarah Palin’s last name and you get a reported result of 3:59:36. I still remain somewhat skeptical she actually did the complete run as opposed to cheating, though I’m far less skeptical. She certainly hasn’t earned my trust, even with independent validation such as the linked race result.

  • gratch

    “There are three kinds of lies, the old cliche says: Lies, damn lies and statistics.” Ha! That’s a good one. My favorite line about statistics is: “Statistics are like a bikini. What they show is tantalizing but what they hide is crucial.”

  • wobert

    To be fair to Sarah Palin,she runs in a different time zone.

    And Universe

  • John Phillips, FCD

    Well the international date line runs just off Alaska, time it right and as long as she could run on water, maybe that African priest who banished demons could help her, she could have started it tomorrow and finished it yesterday and she could have kept an eye on Putin at the same time.

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