Debate Dissembling: Obama’s Own Budget Proves His Deficit Reduction Claims Wrong

-By Warner Todd Huston

As political pundits delve into Obama’s very poor debate performance, not as much attention is being bestowed upon what he actually said on Wednesday evening. In the case of his claims about his budget, few are noticing that the President repeated his thoroughly debunked deficit reduction claims, claims even his own budget plan proves to be false.

During Wednesday’s debate, the President again told the American people that he has a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan that cuts $2.50 for every $1.00 in new revenue. “I’ve put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan,” he said before urging people to go to his website. “You can look at all the numbers, what cuts we make and what revenue we raise.”

The President has made this claim over and over again, but few that agree he is truthfully laying out his plan.

Certainly Republicans have pointed out the fallacies in Obama’s claimed deficit reduction plan. In a recent press release Senator Jeff Sessions (R, AL) said that Obama’s claims are “near-universally discredited.”

Speaking of going to the website and seeing the President’s own numbers, Sessions noted that all one need do to learn the truth is to “review the President’s own budget document.”

Tables S-1 and S-4 from the summer budget update show a $1.8 trillion tax increase. So for the President to promise 2.5 times as many spending cuts would require reductions of $4.5 trillion. But table S-4 shows outlays of $46 trillion–a spending request $1.4 trillion greater than what we are currently planning to spend. Overall, under the President’s plan, the federal budget will grow 58 percent larger–from $3.6 trillion today to $5.9 trillion in 2022. The gross federal debt, as shown in table S-14, will rise $11 trillion from last year’s debt total–to $25.4 trillion in 2022.

As for the President’s mysterious $4 trillion in deficit reduction, it’s nowhere to be found. The President’s net change in spending is a $1.4 trillion increase and his net change in taxes is a $1.8 trillion increase—leaving less than $400 billion in deficit reduction, one-tenth of what he pledges. As Glenn Kessler writes: ‘The repeated claim that Obama’s budget reduces the deficit by $4 trillion is simply not accurate… fake money is being used to pay for real spending projects.’

(Download documentation HERE)

Many agree with Sessions. Glen Kessler of the Washington Post, said, “Virtually no serious budget analyst agreed” with the President’s claim. And on debate night ABC News called the claim “mostly fiction.”

Several others have noted that Obama’s claims are wrong, too. But, unfortunately, too many Old Media sources continue to repeat the President’s claim without any critical analysis.

Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that Obama said in Wednesday’s debate that is either false or misleading. For one the President’s jobs number claim is misleading and his claim that Romney’s plan would raise taxes on the middle class is simply false.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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