In a rare instance, considering the network, CNN wound up fact-checking President Joe Biden’s claims that his administration is responsible for reducing the federal deficit.
CNN’s Daniel Dale delivered the fact-check that called out Biden for his claims that his administration was responsible for seeing the federal deficit fall, affording a detailed explanation of why Biden’s claims are highly misleading.
“So here are the facts, there is no doubt that the deficit has fallen under President Biden so far. It was about $3.1 trillion under President Trump in fiscal 2020. It was about $360 billion lower than that, so about $2.8 trillion in fiscal 2021, mostly under President Biden. But even with that $360 billion decline…experts I spoke to still scoffed at the idea that President Biden is personally responsible for having reduced the deficit.
“In fact, one advocate of deficit reduction, Marc Goldwein of the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, told me that this claim is almost bizarro world – a reversal of reality. Why? Well, because the deficit was expected to fall by more than $360 billion at the time President Biden took office.”
Dale explained that had Biden not gone on a policy-spree that resulted in increased spending during his first year in office, the deficit would’ve been expected to considerably more than merely $360 billion.
“In fact, at the time, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had projected for the deficit would fall by more than $870 billion in 2021 if President Biden did not implement new policy. Then President Biden came in and…did new policy, there’s a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, there was a big bipartisan infrastructure bill, there was an expansion of food stamp benefits, whatever you think of all those policies, they all cost money. So there ended up being less deficit reduction than expected.”
The CNN fact-checker also brought up how the Biden administration often touts reports from Moody’s Analytics that frame the current administration’s proposed policies as being beneficial to the federal deficit and over economy. However, Dale spoke with a source at Moody’s Analytics who claimed that what Biden is doing isn’t really helping the deficit.
“Now President Biden likes to cite a certain economic research firm called Moody’s Analytics. Here’s what a senior director at Moody’s, Dan White, told me last week, he said, ‘The actions of the administration and Congress have undoubtedly resulted in higher deficits, not smaller ones. It is encouraging that the administration has proposed some initiatives to bring down the deficit, but so far, none of those initiatives has been seriously considered.’”
Of course, there’s still the fact that the deficit has fallen since Biden took office, which Dale again explained was going to fall anyway even if Biden did nothing.
“Now…people might still be confused – if President Biden’s actions have made the deficit higher than it otherwise would be, how has the deficit still fallen at all under President Biden from the end of the Trump era?
“In short, it’s because of temporary pandemic spending. It was scheduled to expire, and it has expired. Basically, there was an explosion of short term spending in Trump’s last year because of pandemic relief programs and tax revenue collapse because the economy crashed.
“The deficit had a record of $3.1 trillion, that was more than triple what it was the year prior. But because a lot of that 2020 spending was short term, the deficit was almost certainly going to fall in the coming years no matter who was president. And so again, it did end up falling in 2021. But again, it was by less than expected.”