The Right-Wing Media's Latest Dishonest Chart

Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

Fox News and conservative blogs are hyping a dishonest chart that shows employment decreasing while the numbers of people receiving government aid increasing since the end of 2008. However, an honest look at these figures would show that employment is on an upswing and enrollment in government aid programs has been increasing for decades.

The Weekly Standard and Fox Nation both put the chart, which is sourced to Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, on their websites. And Fox News aired the chart as well. The Standard said that the chart "details the alarming fact that enrollment in federal social welfare programs like Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Disability have far outpaced job growth over the last four years."

But this chart is incredibly dishonest. The chart uses December 2008 as its starting point, a date in the middle of a very deep recession. Employment began decreasing at the beginning of 2008 soon after the U.S. economy went into recession and was still decreasing in December 2008. But jobs have been increasing since in early 2010, resulting in the addition of more than 4 million jobs:

Furthermore, the increase in people receiving Social Security Disability benefits is not new. The number has been surging since the 1990s:

Medicaid enrollment steadily increased during the Bush administration:

And the number of food stamp beneficiaries also rose during the Bush administration and are projected to decrease as the recovery continues and the economy strengthens:

Nevertheless, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade aired the chart, saying the Senate Budget Committee found "welfare programs are outpacing job growth."

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