Fox's Doocy Botches Deficit Reduction Numbers

Fox News' Steve Doocy falsely claimed the federal budget deficit had increased by 137 percent under President Obama, when in fact the deficit as a percentage of the total economy has fallen to its lowest level since 2008.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi argued on the September 22 edition of CNN's State of the Union that Republicans who insisted on further cuts to government spending during budget negotiations were harming the economy, noting that spending has already been significantly reduced and that “President Obama, when he became president, he said I'm going to cut the deficit in half in four years. He did it in four years and three months.”

On Fox & Friends the following morning, co-host Steve Doocy mocked Pelosi's math, claiming that Pelosi “says the president has cut the deficit by half” when “according to the CBO, it's gone up 137 percent.”

This is false. The Congressional Budget Office reported September 17 that the annual federal budget deficit had fallen this year to “its smallest size since 2008: roughly 4 percent of GDP [gross domestic product], compared with a peak of almost 10 percent in 2009”:

The economy's gradual recovery from the 2007-2009 recession, the waning budgetary effects of policies enacted in response to the weak economy, and other changes to tax and spending policies have caused the deficit to shrink this year to its smallest size since 2008: roughly 4 percent of GDP, compared with a peak of almost 10 percent in 2009. If current laws governing taxes and spending were generally unchanged -- an assumption that underlies CBO's 10-year baseline budget projections -- the deficit would continue to drop over the next few years, falling to 2 percent of GDP by 2015. As a result, by 2018, federal debt held by the public would decline to 68 percent of GDP.

A CBO chart further showed how the revised May 2013 projection of the federal deficit revealed the deficit had fallen dramatically since 2011 and would continue dropping through 2015 under current laws: