Oct
19
2011

O'Reilly as Paul Revere: '1 if by Land, 17 if by Sea'

The country is on the brink of bankruptcy, Fox host Bill O'Reilly warned last night–all because Barack Obama is spending too much money. Drastic cuts are required, but "the far-left loons want to spend more."

And he's got the number to prove it:

In 2007, during the Bush administration, federal deficit spending was $161 billion, despite the Iraq and Afghan wars. Four years later under President Obama, the deficit spending is $1.3 trillion, eight times as much.

To be fair, the economy collapsed on Bush's watch, and both Republicans and Democrats committed almost a trillion dollars to prop up the economy. As we all know, the stimulus spending did not work very well.

But the Obama administration has not cut back. Today the feds are spending $9.8 billion every day. That breaks down to $410 million per hour. Tax revenue has actually gone up. It's 21 percent higher this year than last, but there's no way Americans can bring down the federal debt with their tax dollars. The spending is just too massive.

It would be surprising to find out that government tax receipts increased 21 percent. They didn't. O'Reilly is misreading the Wall Street Journal editorial where he got these number, which says that "federal receipts grew by 6.5 percent in fiscal 2011, including a 21.6 percent gain in individual income tax revenues."

Actually, the whole piece is unhelpful to his argument, since it argues that the rise in spending has actually been pretty modest over Obama's term; it actually fell slightly from fiscal year 2009 to 2010. And the current deficit as a share of GDP–which is a better way to measure the deficit anyway–has dropped over the past two years.

And it's not clear why O'Reilly would choose the 2007 fiscal year to compare Bush's record to Obama's–unless the point is to make Obama look worse. The 2008 deficit was $459 billion.

O'Reilly says that he "is playing Paul Revere" here. More like Chicken Little.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.