PolitiFact: The fact-checkers that need fact-checking
These are just two examples from this week, that I know about.
(DrewM in bold, PolitiFact in italics)
Yesterday Mitt Romney said this as part of his announcement speech.
Government under President Obama has grown to consume almost 40 percent of our economy,” he said. “We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy.
Politifact says this is a “Pants of Fire” falsehood.
On the suggestion of several economists, we took the figures for government expenditures (which includes all levels of government) and divided them by the national gross domestic product for the years 1996 through 2010. For more than a decade, government spending as a percentage of GDP was quite stable, bouncing between 30.4 percent and 32.9 percent.For the last few years, that percentage has indeed gone up — to roughly 38 percent in both 2009 and 2010, which is within striking distance of the 40 percent Romney cited.
The foundation’s claim that Texas “created more jobs than all other states combined” stands up — considering only those states that had net job gains over five years. That’s the methodology usually used to define job creation in public discourse.
But the foundation’s analysis disregards the 40 states where millions of jobs were created but were outnumbered by losses. And looking at the percentage increase in jobs relative to the size of each state’s work force — another telling statistic — two other states experienced greater gains than Texas.
We rate the foundation’s statement as Half True.
Let me repeat that for you. PolitiFact called it half-true because TPPF disregarded the 40 states where millions of jobs were created but were outnumbered by more millions of jobs having been lost or destroyed. They called it half-true because TPPF ignored states which are hemorrhaging jobs.
Let’s look at two hypothetical people: Jane and Carl. Let’s say that last year, Jane earned $9,000 and spent $5,000, and that Carl earned $20,000 and spent $25,000. If Jane said, “I saved more money than Carl,” here is what PolitiFact would say:
Jane’s claim that she “saved more money than Carl” stands up — considering only net earnings unspent over the year. That’s the methodology usually used to define saving money in public discourse.
But Jane’s analysis disregards the tens of thousands of dollars Carl earned but were outnumbered by losses. And looking at the percentage increase in income relative to the size of each household’s work force — another telling statistic — two other people experienced greater gains than Jane.
We rate Jane’s statement as Half True.