Just two weeks after making an apples-to-oranges comparison that cast President Obama’s economic record in a dark light, Fox News is at it again.
The hosts of Fox & Friends on Wednesday enlisted statistical data to advance their narrative that Obama has drastically increased government spending, but used different measures to make their point — a friendly one for President Bush and an unfriendly one for Obama.
As caught by Media Matters, Fox & Friends reported the growth of government spending as a share of GDP under Bush in 2008 was 3.2 percent and rose to 10.1 percent in 2009. By contrast, Fox told its viewers, Obama’s four fiscal years 2010-2013 averaged 23.8 percent spending growth.
Here’s the chart Fox showed its viewers:
It’s a riveting discrepancy — if only it were true.
In fact, the 2008 and 2009 figures reflect federal spending growth pegged to federal revenue, while the 2010-2013 figures counted spending growth as a share of the economy.
A more direct comparison is unremarkable. If Fox applied the same standard as they used for Bush, then 2010-2013 spending growth under Obama would average 7.9 percent, down from 10.1 in 2009, the year that Bush and Obama shared.
Under the metric by which Obama’s government spending growth averaged 23.8 percent, the years 2008 and 2009 saw rates of 20.8 and 25.2, respectively.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.