A chart you won't see on Fox News today


Fox & Friends distorted data to deceptively compare the cost of the Iraq war and the cost of the stimulus bill, citing outdated stimulus estimates and pretending that the U.S. will not spend any additional money related to the Iraq war after 2010.

After Fox & Friend Brian Kilmeade said he was "stunned" that Obama said the Iraq war contributed to deficits, Fox & Friend Gretchen Carlson said, "Look at the difference in the spending between Iraq, a $709 billion, versus the stimulus of $862 billion." While Carlson spoke Fox & Friends showed graphically the "difference in the spending":

Fox Chart

Carlson promised: "You're not going to see this graph too many other places today. Trust me."

Carlson is likely right, but not for the reasons she thinks.

The reason you're not going to see this graph anywhere else is that this graph is completely dishonest.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of operations for the Iraq war through 2010 is $709 billion. But the costs associated with the Iraq war do not end there. As Obama discussed in his Oval Office address:

Going forward, a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq with a different mission: advising and assisting Iraq's Security Forces, supporting Iraqi troops in targeted counterterrorism missions, and protecting our civilians. Consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year. As our military draws down, our dedicated civilians -- diplomats, aid workers, and advisors -- are moving into the lead to support Iraq as it strengthens its government, resolves political disputes, resettles those displaced by war, and builds ties with the region and the world. That's a message that Vice President Biden is delivering to the Iraqi people through his visit there today.

In October 2009, CBO estimated that continued operations would add $156 billion to the deficit between 2010 and 2014.

The dishonesty is amplified by Fox & Friends' cherry picking cost estimates of the stimulus bill. In its January economic outlook, the CBO revised its estimate of the stimulus cost to $862 billion. But in August, CBO took into account changes to the law and said the stimulus would cost $814 billion.

Taking into account reality, a chart comparing CBO estimates of the costs associated with the stimulus and with the Iraq war would look markedly different:

Honest Chart

You're probably not going to see that chart on Fox News anytime soon.

Incidentally, the consensus among economists is that GDP and employment are both higher today than they would have been without the stimulus -- not that Fox will tell you that.

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