CNN’s fact checker Daniel Dale pushed back on President Biden’s recent claim that his policies had helped to reduce the federal deficit – revealing that one expert told him that the Democrat’s assertion was “almost bizarro world” in its misrepresentation of the situation.
“Let me remind you again: I reduced the federal deficit,” Biden said a speech last Wednesday. “All the talk about the deficit from my Republican friends, I love it. I’ve reduced $350 billion in my first year in office.”
Biden made the claim while touting his administration’s economic track record – despite fierce criticism from Republican lawmakers who argue his policies have contributed to rampant inflation and led the US economy to the brink of a recession.
During a Monday appearance on CNN’s “New Day” and in a separate article, Dale noted that the federal deficit had indeed declined during fiscal 2021. However, the deficit decline was originally expected to be even larger than the figure Biden referenced.
Dale added that economic experts “still scoffed at the idea that President Biden is personally responsible for having reduced the deficit.”
“In fact, one advocate of deficit reduction, Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told me that this claim is almost bizarro world, a reversal of reality,” Daniel said.
While the deficit fell by nearly $360 bilion in fiscal 2021 – a period that included Biden’s first eight months as president – the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office initially predicted a decline of $870 billion. By that measure, he noted, the president has fallen short of expectations.
Dale noted that Biden-backed legislation such as the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” COVID-19 stimulus package and the bipartisan infrastructure bill focused on physical projects contributed to the disparity.
“Whatever you think of all those policies – they all cost money,” Dale added.
Another expert, Dan White of Moody’s Analytics, told CNN that the “actions of the administration and Congress have undoubtedly resulted in higher deficits, not smaller ones.”
“It is encouraging that the administration has proposed some initiatives to bring down the deficit, but so far none of those initiatives has been seriously considered,” White added.
Dale noted that much of the federal deficit reduction that did occur could be attributed to expiring COVID-19 relief programs.
The CNN fact checker added that Biden was accurate in his claim that the deficit grew under GOP leadership – noting that it rose each year under former President Donald Trump’s administration.