Spirit Of Democracy: “Lois Capps: 14 Years”

Spirit of Democracy America released an ad attacking Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) for her tenure in Congress by asking: “What does America have to show for it?” To make its point, the ad derides her vote for the bipartisan bank bailout and her support for the Recovery Act without mentioning the economic conditions that made these actions necessary, or the possible depression that that was avoided because of them. After calling Capps an “extreme partisan” the ad cites a grade given to the congresswoman by the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative organization the San Francisco Chronicle called “the Grand-daddy of the tax revolt organizations.”

Bipartisan Bank Bailout Helped Avert Possible Depression

Rescue Efforts Helped Avert “Great Depression 2.0.” From Bloomberg: “The U.S. response to the financial crisis probably prevented a depression, slowed a decline in gross domestic product and saved about 8.5 million jobs, economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi said. Policies including the government fiscal stimulus, bailouts of financial companies, bank stress tests and the Federal Reserve’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities to lower interest rates ‘probably averted what could have been called Great Depression 2.0,’ Blinder and Zandi said in a report dated yesterday. Without those measures, the U.S. would have deflation, they said.” [Bloomberg, 7/28/10] 

On National Television, “President Bush Strongly Urged Lawmakers To Pass His Administration’s $700 Billion Bailout For The Financial Markets” In 2008. As reported by MarketWatch: “President Bush strongly urged lawmakers to pass his administration’s $700 billion bailout for the financial markets on Wednesday, spelling out dire risks to the U.S. economy if Congress doesn’t act quickly. ‘We’re in the midst of a serious financial crisis,’ Bush said in a nationally televised address. ‘Our entire economy is in danger,’ as a result of the credit crunch, he said, and inaction on the plan could result in a ‘long and painful recession.’” [MarketWatch.com, 9/24/08]

  • Congress Passed The Bailout With Significant Bipartisan Support. According to the New York Times: “The Senate approved the bailout measure on Oct. 1, 2008, on a bipartisan vote of 74 to 25. The House initially rejected the proposal, but under prodding from the White House and leading members of both parties, House members ultimately voted 263 to 171 for the bill, with 91 Republicans joining 172 Democrats in backing it; 108 Republicans and 63 Democrats voted no.” [New York Times, 7/11/10] 

Bailouts Have Not “Added Significantly To The Debt.” An analysis by FactCheck.org concludes “it’s not the case at all” that the bailouts “added significantly to the debt.” According to the Congressional Budget Office: “CBO estimates that the net cost to the federal government of the TARP’s transactions, including the cost of grants for mortgage programs that have not been made yet, will amount to $32 billion. CBO’s analysis reflects transactions completed, outstanding, and anticipated as of February 22, 2012. That cost stems largely from assistance to American International Group (AIG), aid to the automotive industry, and grant programs aimed at avoiding home foreclosures: CBO estimates a cost of $56 billion for providing those three types of assistance. But not all of the TARP’s transactions will end up costing the government money. The program’s other transactions with financial institutions will, taken together, yield a net gain to the federal government of about $25 billion, in CBO’s estimation.” [FactCheck.org, 6/15/12; Congressional Budget Office, 3/28/12]

Recovery Act That “Didn’t Work” Created Jobs, Boosted GDP, And Cut Taxes

Recovery Act “Succeeded In…Protecting The Economy During The Worst Of The Recession.” From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March. In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. […] ARRA succeeded in its primary goal of protecting the economy during the worst of the recession. The CBO report finds that ARRA’s impact on jobs peaked in the third quarter of 2010, when up to 3.6 million people owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. Since then, the Act’s job impact has gradually declined as the economy recovers and certain provisions expire.” [CBPP.org, 5/29/12]

At Its Peak, Recovery Act Was Responsible For Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:

CBO estimates that ARRAs [sic] policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [CBO.gov, 11/24/10]

Recovery Act Included $288 Billion In Tax Cuts. From PolitiFact: “Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy.” [PolitiFact.com, 2/17/10]

Bush Policies And Recession Caused Debt To Skyrocket

Prior To President Obama’s Inauguration, President Bush Had Already Created A Projected $1.2 Trillion Deficit For Fiscal Year 2009. From the Washington Times:  “The Congressional Budget Office announced a projected fiscal 2009 deficit of $1.2 trillion even if Congress doesn’t enact any new programs. […] About the only person who was silent on the deficit projection was Mr. Bush, who took office facing a surplus but who saw spending balloon and the country notch the highest deficits on record.” [Washington Times1/8/09]

NYT: President Bush’s Policy Changes Created Much More Debt Than President Obama’s. The New York Times published the following chart comparing the fiscal impact of policies enacted under the Bush and Obama administrations:


[New York Times, 7/24/11] 

Recession Added Hundreds Of Billions In Deficits By Increasing Spending On Safety Net While Shrinking Tax Revenue. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) explains: “When unemployment rises and incomes stagnate in a recession, the federal budget responds automatically: tax collections shrink, and spending goes up for programs like unemployment insurance, Social Security, and Food Stamps.” According to CBPP: “The recession battered the budget, driving down tax revenues and swelling outlays for unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other safety-net programs. Using CBO’s August 2008 projections as a benchmark, we calculate that the changed economic outlook alone accounts for over $400 billion of the deficit each year in 2009 through 2011 and slightly smaller amounts in subsequent years. Those effects persist; even in 2018, the deterioration in the economy since the summer of 2008 will account for over $300 billion in added deficits, much of it in the form of additional debt-service costs.” [CBPP.org, 11/18/10; CBPP.org, 5/10/11, citations removed]

Over The Coming Decade, The Bush Tax Cuts Are The Primary Cause Of Federal Budget Deficits. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities prepared a chart showing the deficit impact of the Bush tax cuts (orange), the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the recession itself, and spending to rescue the economy:


[CBPP.org, 5/10/11]

CBPP: Bush Tax Cuts And Wars Are Driving The Debt. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

The complementary chart, below, shows that the Bush-era tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — including their associated interest costs — account for almost half of the projected public debt in 2019 (measured as a share of the economy) if we continue current policies. 


[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/20/11]

The National Taxpayers Union Is A Biased Organization

“The National Taxpayers Union . . . Is The Grand-Daddy Of The Tax Revolt Organizations.” From RightWingWatch.org, the San Francisco Chronicle described the National Taxpayers Union as “the Grand-daddy of the tax revolt organizations.’” [RightWingWatch.org, accessed 10/17/12]

The Hill  Calls NTU “A Conservative Watchdog.” From The Hill: “A conservative watchdog is flunking scores of Democrats for their 2011 votes, while passing many Republicans with flying colors. The National Taxpayers Union, which bills itself as for free markets and less wasteful spending, released its annual report card on Wednesday, a collection of grades that underscored the partisan divide on Capitol Hill these days. NTU handed out an average grade of 17 percent to Democrats in the House – a mark that was nonetheless higher than the average of 12 percent given to Democratic senators. On the flip side, GOP senators received an average score of 84 percent, while the mean grade for Republicans in the House was 76 percent.” [The Hill, 04/04/12]

View the National Taxpayers Union’s funders at Conservative Transparency

[NARRATOR:] Democrats and Republicans rarely agree on anything in Washington. But they strongly agreed the $44 trillion budget Tammy Baldwin voted for was too extreme. Baldwin’s budget would raise $5 trillion more in taxes than President Obama’s budget. $5 trillion. Taking more from Wisconsin families to spend trillions more in Washington. With Tammy Baldwin that far left of Obama and Pelosi, she’s way too extreme for Washington. Crossroads GPS is responsible for the content of this advertising. [Crossroads GPS via YouTube.com, 10/16/12]