Fact-Check: No, President Barack Obama Did Not Cut the Deficit by Two-Thirds

US President Barack Obama speaks during a Hillary for America campaign event in Greensboro, North Carolina, October 11, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

During the third presidential debate, Hillary Clinton praised President Obama’s economic performance, adding: “He has cut the deficit by two-thirds.”

Fact-Check: FALSE

This repeated Democratic canard relies on fraudulent accounting that only starts more than halfway through Obama’s first year in office, after the $862 billion stimulus, the massive omnibus spending bill (“porkulus”), and the deployment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was signed by Obama’s predecessor but for which he voted.

As Breitbart News noted when President Obama claimed in January to have cut the deficit by “almost three-quarters”:

This is pure fiction. Obama has doubled the national debt, and it’s not because he cut the deficit. Rather, he spent staggering amounts of money in his first months in office–which he assigns, dishonestly, to the previous fiscal year, under George W. Bush. He “cut” (i.e. spent more gradually) from that spending, but only under protest, after Republicans took the House in 2010.

The truth is that Obama vastly expanded the deficit in a doomed and ill-conceived experiment in Keynesian stimulus spending, much of which was wasted on priorities that helped Obama’s political supporters — especially the public sector unions — but did little for the economy.


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