The Problems with the Promises in Obama’s New Ad

by Katrina Trinko

In a new ad, President Obama makes four promises:

First, we create a million new manufacturing jobs, and help businesses double their exports, give tax breaks to the companies that invest in America, not ones that ship our jobs overseas.

Well since Obama’s been in office, the nation has actually lost nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs.

Second, we cut our oil imports in half and produce more American made energy–oil, clean coal, natural gas; and new resources like wind and solar; biofuels, all while doubling the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks.

You know what would help with this? Building the Keystone pipeline.

Third, we ensure that we maintain the best workforce in the world by preparing a hundred thousand additional math and science teachers; training two million Americans with the job skills they need at our community colleges; cutting the growth of tuition in half and expanding student aid so more Americans can afford it.

As I’ve previously written, expanding student aid is problematic: it’s likely to increase college costs, which are already astronomical, instead of helping people who couldn’t otherwise afford college.  Right now, we’re in danger that college, like health care, is going to become something where government funds so much that the market forces are completely skewed and it’s next to impossible to keep costs under control.

Fourth, a balanced plan to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.  On top of the $1 trillion in spending we’ve already cut, I’d ask the wealthy to pay a little more. And as we end the war in Afghanistan, let’s apply half the savings to pay down our debt and use the rest for some nation-building right here at home.

But Obama’s budget uses “accounting tricks” to reach that $4 billion deficit reduction number, according to Senate Budget Committee Republicans:

The claim that the President’s budget achieves $4 trillion in deficit reduction primarily through spending cuts relies on three key accounting tricks: claiming savings already in law from the Budget Control Act ($2.1 trillion); using a widely criticized accounting gimmick to claim savings from war spending that was never going to occur ($834 billion);[3] and assuming the Medicare “doc fix” occurs but never specifying how it will be paid for ($394 billion).

When properly counted, $4 trillion in new alleged deficit reduction becomes less than $400 billion. There is no policy change to alter our disastrously unsustainable path. As the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler points out, “the repeated claim that Obama’s budget reduces the deficit by $4 trillion is simply not accurate… virtually no serious budget analyst agreed with this accounting.”[4]


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