In Report on November Deficit, AP's Crutsinger Miscasts Post-9/11 Economy of 'A Decade Ago'

Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement for November came out yesterday. The results: Tax collections through two months of the fiscal year are up 4.4% over fiscal 2010; spending is down 5.5%, but only because about $31 billion in checks which would ordinarily have gone out on October 1 (a Saturday) were sent on September 30; and the deficit of $235 billion is $55 billion less than last year.

The headline in the report by Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press ("Gov't on pace to run budget deficit below $1T"), celebrated the totally untenable claim, only two months into the year, that the deficit might come in below $1 trillion for the first time in four years. Crutsinger's coverage was otherwise adequate, except near the end, when he threw in the following obviously gratuitous and recklessly false and misleading statement: "A decade ago, the government was running surpluses and trillion-dollar deficits seemed unimaginable."


Well Marty, "a decade ago" was the third month of the first fiscal year after the 9/11 attacks. At that point, the government was "on pace" (to use your headline's words) to ultimately running up a $158 billion deficit for fiscal 2002. Everyone recognized in December 2001 that the economy had take a serious hit as a result of the attacks, that federal tax collections would suffer as a result, and that additional spending relating to homeland security and the war in Afghanistan would lead to a fiscal 2002 deficit.

As to the second half of Crutsinger's crummy sentence -- "trillion-dollar deficits seemed unimaginable" -- that was actually true until about 34 months ago in February 2009, when Barack Obama and the Democratic House and Senate created the failed "stimulus" plan without giving a thought or care as to how it would be paid for. Up until then, Obama (mis)led voters into believing, based on promises made during the 2008 presidential campaign, that such a calamity would not happen even once, let alone three and possibly four years in a row:

"When George Bush came into office, our debt -- national debt was around $5 trillion. It's now over $10 trillion. We've almost doubled it. ... But actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut." -- Obama, during an Oct. 7, 2008, debate in Nashville Verdict: Promise Broken.

Since fiscal 2008, spending has increased from roughly $2.98 trillion to $3.60 trillion. But Marty Crutsinger and the AP will never, ever tell us that.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.