FactCheck.org: Full of ‘dubious factual claims,’ GOP Pledge is ‘more caricature than portrait’
President Barack Obama isn’t impressed by a Republican manifesto that promises to cut the size of government if they take over Congress. Appearing on the Today Show, Obama said the Republican “Pledge to America” was irresponsible.
President Barack Obama is responding to the GOP’s so-called “pledge to America,” saying the newly unveiled 21-page document is nothing more than a continuation of “irresponsible policies.”
“What I’m seeing out of the Republican leadership over the last several years has been a set of policies that are just irresponsible. And we saw in their ‘Pledge to America’ a similar set of irresponsible policies,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer Monday morning.
“They propose $4 trillion worth of tax cuts and $16 billion in spending cuts and they say we’re going to somehow magically balance the budget, the president continued. “That’s not a serious approach. So the question for voters over the next five weeks is who is putting forward policies that have a chance to move our country forward.”
Obama’s remarks come just days after House Minority Leader and other Republican leaders announced the document called “A Pledge to America.”
House GOP leader John Boehner cast the “Pledge to America” as “a new governing agenda, built by listening to the American people, that offers a new way forward.” But he also acknowledged that it lacked specifics on important subjects like Social Security and Medicaid.
Much of it also adhered generally to age-old GOP principles.
“They want the next two years to look like the eight years before I took office,” Obama asserted in New York. He derided the GOP plan as “the exact same agenda” even before the GOP officially rolled it out.
An article posted late Friday at the nonpartisan FactCheck.org website argues that the “Republicans’ ‘Pledge to America’ falls short on some of its facts.”
Some “dubious factual claims” include,
* It declares that “the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.” Not true. So far this year government employment has declined slightly, while private sector employment has increased by 763,000 jobs.
* It repeats a bogus assertion that the Internal Revenue Service may need to expand by 16,500 positions, an inflated estimate based on false assumptions and guesswork.
* It says Obama’s tax proposals would raise taxes on “roughly half the small business income in America,” an exaggeration. Much of the income the GOP is counting actually comes from big businesses making over $50 million a year.
The article adds,
In general the Pledge draws a gloomy picture of the sputtering economy, the horrid state of joblessness, and a federal budget wracked by record deficits and ballooning debt. Many of the claims are true. But as might be expected in a partisan manifesto, this is a lopsided rendering. At times it is more caricature than portrait: any facts that might brighten it are simply left out, and some claims are exaggerated or incorrect.
Along with “dubious,” “bogus” and “caricature,” other harsh assessments in the FactCheck article include “misleading,” “deceptive,” and “simply not true.”
As Mediaite‘s Hillary Bursis notes, “FactCheck describes itself as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics,” meaning that there shouldn’t be any political motivation behind their criticism—as long as that description is accurate.”
If the organization isn’t being driven by partisanship, then their characterization of the pledge as “more caricature than portrait” that simply leaves out “any facts that might brighten it” sounds pretty damning to us.
This video is from NBC’s Today Show, broadcast Sept. 27, 2010.