Fun With Conservative Charts! Debunking Email Fodder

It’s time once again to take a look at the memes and phony charts circulating the conservative world. I know it can be a frustrating task to look at these, but it’s a crucial part of understanding the conservative mind and properly engaging with independent voters who may be seeing this stuff. Plus, we can have a little fun with it.

I love the use of urgent red for the Obama bar. Classy, alarmist touch. This is accurate…assuming you average the unemployment rate for the entirety of an administration. That means this graph includes the first six months of the Obama Presidency — when the Bush induced Great Recession was hemorrhaging jobs at a clip of 750,000 jobs each month. The Obama administration has taken that unemployment rate from 10% down to 8.2%. Add to that the fact that the whole economy is being dragged down by the public sector. If we were really measuring the strength of the jobs market, we would limit employment comparisons to the private sector because public sector jobs aren’t a function of the economy, but government budget cuts. And looking at public vs. private job creation, we see that the Obama administration has built a slowly growing private sector jobs market, while losing tons of public sector jobs as Republican governors lay off workers and put a giant hole in the disposable income of the country (and we also note that the good jobs numbers of the Bush administration are based on massive public hiring and a relatively weak private sector — I guess all those tax cuts didn’t work).

Isn’t it interesting that this graph leaves the Bush years out of the equation? Probably because the debt grew by over $4 trillion under the years that the Republicans controlled both the White House and Congress. That still means that Obama has added as much to the debt in 4 years as Bush did in 8, but think about what goes into the debt. The unnecessary war in Iraq that we were still fighting in 2009 and took some time to wind down. Or the tax cuts that Bush and the GOP pushed through and have yet to be repealed. I wonder how much of this debt is directly attributable to the Republicans? Oh…more than half (and now the only non-conservative graph of this post):

Counting the bailouts and economic downturn as inevitable and tacking Obama with at least the Afghanistan part of the war costs (because it was less avoidable than Iraq) and about 60% of the tax cuts (since he intends to keep the tax cuts for the first $250,000/year anyone makes) and it’s still about 50% Bush’s debt. Also consider (and this goes for both Republican and Democratic presidents) that the interest on the debt, which now consumes 6% or so of the budget puts Obama on the hook for 6% of the debt chocked up by all the Presidents before him and his record isn’t so bad.

The opposition to Food Stamps is such ludicrous race baiting. I always found it odd that Newt Gingrich popularized this argument since the growth of the Food Stamps program is entirely attributable to Gingrich curbing welfare in the Clinton administration. Without welfare, poor people turned more and more to Food Stamps to buy the meals they had been buying with welfare. And that’s not a bad thing. Unlike welfare, Food Stamps engender less dependence by offering a sliding scale of assistance and therefore do not deter recipients from seeking jobs, which was a persistent problem with the old welfare program that could shut off when a recipient attempted to enter the workforce. These were actually the kind of arguments Gingrich himself made in the 90s. Plus, Food Stamps (known as SNAP) actually add $1.84 to the economy for every $1 spent. So…it doesn’t encourage dependence and helps build the economy (specifically the agricultural sector)? Why is anyone (particularly Gingrich) mad about this?

Gosh I wonder what happened after the first quarter of 2010? Do you think after Obama’s stimulus plan had a few months to work jobs started steadily increasing for over 2 1/2 years? If you said yes, then 10 points to Gryffindor. This chart is also silly because it assumes that a Congress can unilaterally alter policy. The Democratic Congress from 2007-2011 should be measured by what they accomplished while they had a Democratic President to sign their bills into law. The answer to that question is 2 1/2 years of growth after reversing a crippling recession.

I don’t even know why this would be relevant (what does the private sector have to do with foreign policy?), but it’s completely wrong anyway so why worry. I just went through every cabinet appointment, and 47% of Obama’s cabinet appointments have some (or a lot) of private sector experience. In fact, I can’t figure out how this graph defines “private sector experience” because the only way to get the number they have here (below 10%) is to suggest that only 1 of Obama’s 17 cabinet appointments had private sector experience and even if you took a very harsh definition of private sector (e.g. excluding partners at multimillion dollar law firms), 2 of Obama’s cabinet served on the Boards of businesses like Fidelity and Boeing and Disney. If that isn’t private sector experience then I’m at a complete loss. So with 47% of his cabinet appointments coming from the private sector, Obama is in line with the other Presidents on this list. Also, Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense and Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs were both Army officers, which is not private sector experience but probably a lot more relevant to their current jobs.

And yet domestic oil production is up to its highest level since 2003 — so why would we care? These are also percentage changes over the prior President. That means Obama has given out fewer permits than the freewheeling Bush administration, but that STILL means he’s given out more permits than Clinton.

Ha! Use all the skills we learned above to look at this one. Notice the “percentage of GDP” tag. Notice tagging Pelosi with the last two years of Bush spending (and the tax cuts that came with it). Notice Hastert and Gingrich getting credit for the Clinton administration cutting spending.

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