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December 19, 2011 9:24 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 18, 2011

This week on the Sunday political talk shows, topics of discussion ranged far and wide. On Fox News Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney advocated for block granting Medicaid despite the harm that would do to those who rely on the program. On This Week, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) distorted the content of a CBO report on income inequality. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), appearing on Meet the Press, shared several false claims: that employers are concerned about "uncertainty," and that the Keystone pipeline would create 20,000 jobs. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), also on Meet the Press, did the same, falsely asserting that there's no evidence the payroll tax holiday created jobs and that Iran has threatened the U.S. and Israel with nuclear weapons.

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December 12, 2011 12:11 pm ET

Republicans: Payroll Tax Holiday Isn't "Stimulating" Enough

A prominent group of Republican lawmakers are opposing Obama administration efforts to extend a payroll tax holiday — due to expire on December 31 — that would continue putting more money in the pockets of working Americans. Opponents lean heavily on the argument that the current payroll tax holiday has not had a sufficiently stimulative effect on the economy, but experts disagree, arguing that the holiday has helped bolster the recovering economy.

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December 12, 2011 9:59 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 11, 2011

This week's Sunday political talk shows saw a major focus on the debate over the payroll tax cut extension. On Face the Nation, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacked President Obama and "Newt Romney" — a name for Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney she came up with during Saturday's debate — over the payroll tax cut, saying there's no evidence the cut helped create jobs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the tax cut an 'emergency measure' and said it wouldn't be necessary if President Obama's "failed" policies hadn't resulted in a higher deficit and jobless rates. McConnell, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), also pushed for the Keystone Pipeline using discredited job creation numbers.

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December 05, 2011 9:52 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 4, 2011

On the first Sunday of December, GOP presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus each brought their share of falsehoods to the table. On CNN's State of the Union, Bachmann dismissed the economic significance of the payroll tax holiday even though economists explain that putting more money in the hands of workers would give an appreciable boost to the economy. She also appeared on Fox News Sunday, where she falsely claimed that businesses aren't hiring because they don't have enough money. During his appearances, Priebus did his best to attack the Obama administration's record, distorting the reasons behind November's unemployment rate drop on Meet the Press. He also tried to blame President Obama for deficits that are a legacy of Bush-era Republican policies and for a rising poverty rate that's the result of the recession.

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November 28, 2011 9:19 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 27, 2011

On the last Sunday of November, Republicans had a lot of airtime — and lots of lies. On Meet the Press, anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform regurgitated the false Republican talking point that Obama's stimulus plan "killed jobs." Freshman Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) made an appearance on This Week to claim the deficit is not a revenue problem, a statement disputed by historically low revenue intake. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) appeared on Fox News Sunday to hype the "Toomey Plan", claiming that it would have raised revenues while paying down the debt, leaving out that the plan trades regressive tax cuts for only small revenue increases. Lastly, Herman Cain appeared on State of the Union to claim that unemployment benefits shouldn't be extended because they are a 'distraction' from the real problem of a lack of economic growth. But the Congressional Budget Office has found that unemployment benefits are a "timely and cost-effective" way to spur on the economy.

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November 21, 2011 10:02 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 20, 2011

Sunday's political talk shows focused almost exclusively on the efforts of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, with a number of the committee's members appearing on separate shows. Democratic committee member Sen. John Kerry (MA) pointed out on Meet the Press that "we are not a tax-cutting committee. We're a deficit-reduction committee." However, that point doesn't seem to have gotten through to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), all of whom complained that the only thing stopping a deal was a refusal by Democrats to extend the costly and regressive Bush tax cuts. For the second time in as many weeks, Hensarling argued that the Bush tax cuts were not one of the largest drivers of the debt, while Kyl claimed that not extending them would wreck the economy. Toomey went so far as to say that that the federal government does not have a revenue problem but only a spending problem.

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November 14, 2011 10:29 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 13, 2011

The Penn State sexual abuse scandal headlined the political talk shows on Sunday, but Republican leaders still found plenty of time to air dishonest talking points about conservative policies. GOP super committee members Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) misled viewers about the root of the debt problem the committee is trying to solve and what Republicans have proposed to address it. In particular, both lawmakers severely distorted the impact of the failed Bush tax cuts. Elsewhere, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Republicans want to "reduce taxes on every single American," ignoring the party leaders demanding that the poor pay higher taxes, and struggling presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that "what we need to win this war on terror" is the reinstatement of Bush-approved torture techniques.

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November 07, 2011 10:57 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 6, 2011

With much of the airtime on this week's Sunday political talk shows devoted to discussing the Herman Cain scandal and Gov. Rick Perry's (R-TX) antics, the substantive issues took a back seat. Yet a few key Republicans still managed to squeeze in a couple of standard GOP attacks. On This Week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) claimed that the stimulus "has not worked," a falsehood echoed by presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Meet the Press. Boehner also found time to inflate the effect of a millionaires' surtax on small-business owners, and to deny that congressional Republicans have gone after America's social safety net. In fact, one major Republican initiative — the House-passed GOP budget plan — proposed to upend major safety net programs for children, the poor, and seniors.

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November 04, 2011 3:05 pm ET

GOP Responses To Jobs Report Ignore Main Obstacle To Growth

With the news this morning that the private economy added 104,000 jobs but the public sector shed 24,000, prominent Republicans had a chance to trot out the same tired, debunked explanation for slow economic growth they've been using throughout the Obama presidency. According to the GOP, job creators are not hiring because of regulations and high spending from Washington, D.C. But according to the job creators themselves, regulations, taxes and spending are not the issue — they simply don't have enough customers to justify expanding their workforces. The problem continues to be weak demand.

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October 31, 2011 10:24 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 30, 2011

This week's Sunday talk shows included several GOP presidential contenders who have figured out that ignoring facts is a winning formula among their party's voters. While all the candidates who appeared on the shows parroted the same points they've been making for the past several months, there were also several new allegations. On Face the Nation, GOP frontrunner Herman Cain, after having adjusted his 9-9-9 tax plan to avoid tax hikes on those living in poverty, claimed that the exemption was there all along and that his critics simply misreported his plan. That's unlikely given that Cain has been on record defending taxing the income of those living in poverty. On This Week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was called out for misrepresenting immigration statistics. Rather than acknowledge her mistake and move on, Bachmann claimed that she did not say what the video clearly showed her saying. And on Fox News Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) repeated a slew of easily debunked economic talking points, including that President Obama had overseen the creation of "practically no jobs."

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October 17, 2011 9:37 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 16, 2011

Republicans spent their Sunday morning TV appearances blaming Democrats for the economy and trying to convince Wall Street protesters to join them in their scapegoating. Contrary to what Herman Cain and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed, the facts show that private firms, not government entities, inflated the subprime mortgage bubble, and Wall Street, not Democrats, turned those loans into an elaborate casino game that left the entire country on the hook for their bad bets. Similarly, Cantor and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were wrong to suggest that Democratic policies on taxes and regulations are hurting the economy, and that Republican proposals will do more to create jobs than President Obama's proposed American Jobs Act. In addition, Cain claimed that his "9-9-9" tax plan won't hurt the poor and implied that Obama has cut defense spending, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) blamed the credit downgrade on the president, and Sen. McCain said that Obama never spoke up on behalf of Iranian protesters in 2009. In each case, the facts disagree.

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October 11, 2011 10:31 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 9, 2011

Sunday's political talk shows were chock full of the misinformation that we've come to expect from conservatives. On CBS' Face The Nation, presidential hopeful Herman Cain told viewers that his 9-9-9 economic plan was revenue neutral and disputed the charge that it is regressive. However, his plan would cut taxes for the very wealthy and "disproportionately tax lower and middle income earners." Cain also appeared on CNN's State of the Union, where he claimed that 50 percent of taxpayers account for just 3 percent of all taxes. On NBC's Meet the Press, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) claimed that businesses are not hiring because of regulatory uncertainty. That is not supported by the facts, however: Economists and business owners point to weak consumer demand, not uncertainty. And finally, Rick Santorum, another presidential contender, continued his homophobic ways by telling Fox News host Chris Wallace that being gay is a choice.

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October 03, 2011 10:20 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 2, 2011

On the first weekend in October, the Sunday talk shows saw a presidential candidate, two governors, and a former vice president's daughter. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) appeared on CBS and CNN to absolve President George W. Bush for the current economic situation while solely placing the blame on President Barack Obama. Not to be outdone by Barbour, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) appeared on Meet the Press to lie about the president's previous statements on unemployment. Herman Cain, still riding high from his Florida straw poll victory, appeared on Fox News Sunday to falsely claim that his "9-9-9 plan" is actually fairer than the current progressive tax system. Lastly, Keep America Safe's Liz Cheney appeared on State of the Union to claim that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that enhanced interrogation led us to Osama bin Laden. In fact, Panetta has said that the Bush-era torture program produced lies and misinformation about the identity of bin Laden's personal courier.

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September 26, 2011 9:50 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 25, 2011

This week's Sunday talk shows saw Republicans sloppily blaming President Obama wholesale for America's economic woes. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) used his bully pulpit to claim President Obama made "every problem" he inherited from Bush's failed economic polices "much worse." On Face the Nation, RNC Chair Reince Priebus took the same tack by claiming DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz couldn't "point to one economic statistic in this country that Barack Obama has made better." Graham also absurdly claimed that cuts to the defense department triggered if the super committee fails to reach a compromise would "destroy the Defense Department." And on State of the Union, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) struggled to absolve the Tea Party of blame for a third budgetary standoff in the House, instead accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) instead of 'manufacturing a crisis.'

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September 19, 2011 3:59 pm ET

The GOP's Favorite Lies About The Jobs Market

What should government do to spur job creation? That's the central question for American political leaders today, and as Republicans reject Democratic answers, it's important to hold their arguments accountable to economic facts. When it comes to the two central planks of the GOP's economic platform — that "uncertainty" about taxes and regulations is the cause of slow hiring, and that increasing high-end tax rates will hurt job-creating small businesses — the facts and the data disagree. According to businesses and economists alike, it is weak demand and not "uncertainty" that's preventing hiring. And when the GOP claims small businesses are in the crosshairs of top-end tax hikes, they are counting "pass-through" shell corporations used by authors, athletes, and industrial giants alike. In fact, just two percent of those who report business income on their individual tax returns are counted in the top federal income tax brackets.

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September 19, 2011 9:32 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 18, 2011

This week's Sunday political talk shows saw a litany of standard GOP untruths. On CNN, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) repeated the favorite false Republican talking point of late: that businesses aren't hiring because of "uncertainty." He was joined in his lie by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and presidential candidate Herman Cain, both of whom appeared on Fox News Sunday. Both Cain and Ryan also revived an old piece of misinformation — that raising taxes on top earners would disproportionately harm small businesses — which was echoed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). For his part, Graham misrepresented the public's opinion on taxing the wealthy, and absurdly claimed that "everything" — including unemployment — is worse because of President Obama's policies. Ryan dredged up some old lies about the House-passed GOP budget's effects on Medicare, which it would essentially destroy, and then falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act's Independent Payment Advisory Board puts bureaucrats in charge of "rationing."

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August 08, 2011 9:46 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 7, 2011

The highlight of yesterday's Sunday political talk shows was Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) deceptive performance on Fox. Ryan misled on a range of topics, from the causes of the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt, to the drivers of that debt, to President Obama's policy positions, to the reasons businesses aren't expanding today, with plenty of stops in between. By comparison, Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) dishonesty about Afghanistan and Social Security, Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) bogus economic statistics, and Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-AL) deceit on deficits under President Bush and Democrats' willingness to cut spending were barely even blips on the radar.

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August 01, 2011 9:45 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 31, 2011

Sunday's political talk shows focused exclusively on a possible debt ceiling increase deal being negotiated between the White House and congressional Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who appeared on two separate shows, repeated the false claim that the federal government does not have a revenue problem. In fact, revenues are at an all-time low. McConnell also made the misleading charge that corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world. On both State of the Union and Face the Nation, McConnell proposed adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, a provision that was included in a package passed by House Republicans last week. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the third-highest ranking Republican in the House, also defended the balanced budget amendment on Fox News Sunday, arguing that if a similar effort during the 1990s had been successful, the country would not be having a debt problem. McCarthy pointed to the fact that almost all states have an amendment or statute that requires them to balance their budgets. He failed to mention, however, that many states have been able to balance their budgets or deal with other shortfalls due to assistance from the federal government. Most importantly, a balanced budget amendment such as the one proposed by Republicans will make the task of balancing the budget more difficult by limiting the ability of legislators to increase revenue in the event of shortfalls.

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July 25, 2011 10:12 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 24, 2011

This week's Sunday shows were largely about the struggle to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. On Fox News Sunday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blamed Obama's policies for "out of control" spending without noting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recession, and the Bush tax cuts are the primary drivers of debt and deficits. He also touted the deeply problematic balanced budget amendment. On CNN, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) claimed that the House-passed GOP budget eliminated all corporate loopholes when it really secures tax breaks for big oil, all while necessitating a middle-class tax hike. Price also minimized the very serious effects of the checks that won't get paid out if the debt limit isn't raised by August 2nd. Later, Tim Pawlenty falsely claimed that President Obama is responsible for tripling deficits within his term. On Face the Nation, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) wrongly said that spending alone is the problem driving deficits. Finally, on Meet the Press, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) justified the GOP's efforts to obstruct debt ceiling negotiations by distorting credit rating agencies' warnings, and then blamed Democrats for the GOP-driven politicization of a Federal Aviation Administration funding bill.

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July 19, 2011 12:09 pm ET

Memo To Republicans: Default Is A De Facto Tax Increase On Job Creators

Congressional Republicans continue to insist that any deal to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the federal deficit must not include revenue increases. So steadfast and inflexible is their position that they'd rather see the economy plunge than raise taxes or eliminate subsidies. But behind the Republican Party's uncompromising position lays another reality: A higher interest rate caused by a default would increase the cost of borrowing and acquiring capital. For a small business looking to expand or hire additional workers, such an increase in interest rates has the same impact as a tax increase. But unlike the elimination of specific tax benefits proposed by the Obama administration, the de facto tax increase that would come as a result of default would have an impact directly on the small businesses that Republicans claim to be protecting. And unlike a targeted revenue increase, the higher cost imposed on businesses will not go towards reducing the deficit.

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July 18, 2011 10:21 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 17, 2011

The looming default crisis dominated the Sunday talk shows, which meant Republicans were busy misrepresenting their own proposals, the polling about their proposals, and the policies that put us in this mess to begin with. On NBC, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) claimed the GOP's balanced budget amendment scheme is the only way to satisfy credit raters about U.S. creditworthiness, which is simply not true. On ABC, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) pretended that polling supports the GOP's anti-tax zealotry despite at least 21 polls this year that show broad opposition to their ideological stance. On Fox, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) falsely claimed the GOP's scheme doesn't require even steeper cuts to the safety net than the House 2012 budget and unfairly laid the blame for our debt entirely at President Obama's feet, and Herman Cain lied about who pays top-end income tax rates. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani misrepresented recent economic history and exaggerated his own budget accomplishments in New York City, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) misled viewers about Social Security.

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July 12, 2011 9:03 am ET

Rep. Price Continues To Mislead The Public On Spending And Taxation

Yesterday, Fox Business hosted Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to discuss the current situation over the debt ceiling. Rep. Price blamed the nation's ails on the growth in government spending, claiming that taxing "too little" has not been a major driver of our current deficit projections and that the only way to balance the budget is by decreasing spending — without any revenue increases. As a solution for the future, Rep. Price advocated for a problematic balanced budget amendment, which would actually make it harder to balance the budget and could be unenforceable. Finally, Rep. Price regurgitated a popular Republican talking point — that the Obama administration promised unemployment would not go over 8 percent — even though that's a serious misrepresentation of the truth.

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July 11, 2011 11:09 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 10, 2011

This week's Sunday political talk shows focused largely on the looming default crisis, with a chorus of Republican leaders singing the GOP talking points on the negotiations. In the wake of Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) reported rejection of President Obama's proposal of trillions in deficit reduction for an increase in the debt ceiling, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dishonestly told Fox News Sunday viewers that "Nobody is talking about not raising the debt ceiling." Also on Fox, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) defended his demand for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution by misleadingly stating that 49 states are required to balance their budgets every year. On CNN, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) misrepresented Senate Democrats' proposal for lowering the debt and wrongly claimed that federal revenues went up as a result of the Bush tax cuts. And on NBC's Meet the Press, presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty unleashed a series of false attacks on President Obama's economic record.

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June 27, 2011 10:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 26, 2011

The last Sunday of June saw GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) dominate the airwaves, making the rounds on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation. On both, Bachmann repeated lies about health care reform's effect on jobs and Medicare, sentiments echoed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on This Week. Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) falsely stated that even if the debt ceiling weren't raised, the country would not go into default, something most economists disagree with. On Face The Nation Bachmann falsely called the stimulus a failure and continued to baselessly blame President Obama for high gas prices. Lastly, Sen.  Jon Kyl (R-AZ), fresh off his departure from the debt ceiling talks, was on Fox News Sunday to falsely claim that tax increases would hurt the economy, a claim that the previous decade proves false.

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June 23, 2011 11:34 am ET

Heritage Foundation Clings To Myths To Defend Bush Tax Cuts

On the Heritage Foundation's Foundry blog, Mike Gonzalez, Heritage's resident Bush hagiographer, wrote a highly misleading post defending lower tax rates for the very wealthy. It's almost impossible to defend President George W. Bush's economic policies without being at least somewhat dishonest, which Gonzalez accomplishes by claiming that the fantastical idea that tax cuts "pay for themselves" is actually a straw man set up by mischievous liberals. According to Gonzalez, the Bush Administration actually "went out of their way" to make it clear that their tax cut packages were not expected to pay for themselves. The fact, however, is that time and time again, President George W. Bush and others in his administration asserted that cutting taxes increases revenue, and the Heritage Foundation itself has spread that dishonest claim. He went on to suggest that cutting taxes also spurs growth, and that the Bush tax cuts themselves helped create millions of jobs. Both claims are undermined by data on jobs and the economy that indicate Bush's tenure to be a disaster for both economic growth and employment.

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June 14, 2011 10:53 am ET

Rep. Ryan's Misinformation Tour De Force

In an op-ed on FoxNews.com titled "Obama's Economic Experiment Has Failed - Time to Get Back to What Works," Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) put forward a slew of mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods to attack President Obama's economic record. Ignoring that Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression — and that his Recovery Act helped prevent an even greater economic downturn — Ryan asserted that the Recovery Act has "failed to create jobs." To this end, Ryan also deceptively cited lackluster May jobs numbers and a report that preceded Obama's inauguration. Ryan also attacked the president's signature policies, including financial and health care reform, baselessly asserting that they didn't fix "the problems they were intended to address." He touted his own plan to 'save Medicare' (even though the GOP budget plan would dismantle the Medicare system) and falsely claimed that President Obama doesn't have any plan to address the program. He threw around meaningless catch words like "uncertainty" to attack Obama's tax policy, and misleadingly stated that the U.S.'s corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world, when in fact the effective tax rate is lower than many other developed countries. And despite the numerous tax cuts Obama and Democrats passed over Republican objections, Ryan attacked the president for tax hikes on job creators.

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June 13, 2011 9:43 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 12, 2011

Sunday saw multiple GOPers blaming President Obama for job losses that are rightly blamed on President Bush's recession and pretending that Obama policies haven't started to turn the job market around. Republicans have never stopped misleading people about the impact of the Recovery Act, but ignoring two million new private-sector jobs since February 2010 is shameless. Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) each offered one jobs lie or another. Pawlenty claimed that tax cuts pay for themselves (they don't), that President Obama is "out of ideas" on economic and entitlement issues (false), that we "have to" cut Social Security (nope), that the Affordable Care Act cut $500 billion from Medicare (wrong again), and that he didn't really leave a $6 billion deficit behind at the end of his term as Governor of Minnesota (nice try). Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) falsely claimed on CBS that the GOP Medicare plan doesn't affect current seniors, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) told CNN that ending oil subsidies will increase gas prices, and Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) told CNN that the debt ceiling deadline isn't real because "the global economy will understand" if we default.

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June 07, 2011 10:01 am ET

Bush Tax Cuts: A Decade Of Failure

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the first of the two massive tax cuts signed by President George W. Bush and is yet another great opportunity to illustrate that both tax packages failed to deliver on their promised results. Bush told the country that the tax cuts would result in economic growth and sustained prosperity, but the economy got neither. In fact, from 2001 to 2007, the economy experienced the weakest job growth since the end of World War II. While the nation's millionaires and billionaires were enriched, average household income fell for the first time on record. Worse, since the Bush tax cuts did not pay for themselves — as many conservatives claimed they would — the two tax packages added trillions to the nation's deficit. During the current debate on deficits and debt, it's important to remember just how much the Bush tax cuts accelerated the fiscal troubles we're now facing.

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May 31, 2011 10:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 29, 2011

The Sunday political talk shows cranked out their usual smorgasbord of misinformation and talking points this weekend. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) misled NBC viewers about the relationship between President Bush's tax cuts and our current national debt, and implied that President Obama has raised taxes when the opposite is true. On CBS, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed the House GOP's "Path to Prosperity" budget will "save" Medicare (though it would in fact replace the entire program with undervalued health care vouchers) and deflected all criticism of the GOP's plan by claiming that "Democrats have not put forward any plan whatsoever," even though that's not true. Cantor capped his appearance by exaggerating the debt reduction in the GOP plan by about $6 trillion. 2012 hopeful Tim Pawlenty told ABC viewers the president is "doing nothing" on Medicare, even though that program's trustees say President Obama's signature health care law extended the life of the program by eight years. And on Fox, freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL) falsely claimed that 'only Democrats' have voted to cut Medicare.

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May 23, 2011 10:52 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 22, 2011

The absurd ginned-up right-wing outrage over President Obama's reiteration of a long-standing tenet of mainstream Middle East peace plans continued on Sunday morning, even as the president drew applause from the crowd at AIPAC for repeating his call for a Palestinian state based on "the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." Newt Gingrich, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) each misrepresented the president's words in order to attack him. Honest conservatives were no easier to find on domestic policy issues either. McConnell joined Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in claiming the House GOP budget 'saves Medicare' (although it in fact replaces the program with something utterly different) and that the White House would ration seniors' care (another falsehood). McConnell also claimed tax cuts aren't driving the debt and lied about President Obama's position on the Bush tax cuts. Meanwhile, Ryan claimed the Republican Medicare scheme polls better when you explain the details (nope), insisted Democrats haven't put forth any debt reduction plans (wrong again), and said his plan cuts $6 trillion in spending when on net it only cuts $155 billion. On CBS, Gingrich repeated an exaggeration of his record as Speaker of the House. And, not to be outdone, pizza magnate Herman Cain misled Fox viewers about the Fair Tax and claimed that failing to raise the debt ceiling would increase "market confidence," even though the market is saying the opposite.

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