Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Last week's themes: Money and Power

Atlanta sparkled (somewhat) during the 2000 Super Bowl. But did the game really bring in $292 million?
Atlanta sparkled (somewhat) during the 2000 Super Bowl. But did the game really bring in $292 million?

Last week's themes were money and power.

AJC PolitiFact Georgia used the Truth-O-Meter on General Assembly Republicans, who stripped power from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and cheerily called it a "power-sharing agreement.”

We tested former President George W. Bush on his record on the national debt.

And to mark the start of Atlanta's fledgling bid to bring back the Super Bowl, we looked at the last time the game came to town. The Atlanta Sports Council said its economic impact was $292 million. Was it really that much?

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Republican state senators: Said they reached a "power-sharing agreement" with Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle

There was a time when the future looked very bright for Republican Casey Cagle, Georgia's lieutenant governor. He was young and riding the rising tide of a Republican takeover of the state.

But these days, the doe-eyed Cagle looks more like a deer in the headlights, thanks to a rebellious group of his fellow Republican senators who have staged a lightning-quick palace coup, just days after Cagle easily won re-election. Cagle has been stripped of his ability to appoint committee chairmen and make Senate committee assignments.

In the aftermath of the coup, the GOP Senate leadership now has all the power. And it doesn't plan to share it with Cagle.
   
We ruled the GOP claim about power sharing Pants on Fire.

Former President George W. Bush: "My debt to GDP was the lowest or one of the lowest of modern presidents.”

During the tour to promote his memoir, "Decision Points,” George W. Bush defended his fiscal record in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today.”

In the interview, Bush said that the ratio of the deficit to gross domestic product during his time in office "was lower than Ronald Reagan's by half. Lower than my dad's. And only [worse than] Bill Clinton among modern presidents. ... My debt to GDP was the lowest or one of the lowest of modern presidents. My taxes to GDP was the lowest, and my spending to GDP" was, too.

George W. Bush is correct that he outperformed his father, Reagan and (mostly) Clinton. So if you consider those the "modern" presidents, he's essentially right.

While we wouldn't have chosen to define the "modern presidents" to include just the four that Bush mentioned by name, we'll give him some deference in framing the question. So we rate his statement Mostly True.

Atlanta Sports Council: The economic impact of Atlanta's 2000 Super Bowl was $292 million.

When leaders told the NFL they hope to woo the Super Bowl back to Atlanta, the NFL hinted its chances would improve if it built a new stadium.

That costs money. But boosters think the Super Bowl can bring it.  Atlanta's 2000 game had an economic impact of $292 million, according to a Sports Council study.

Was it?

The Sports Council got its estimate with the help of the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and Bruce Seaman of Georgia State University. He used methodology he thought would avoid inflating the numbers.  

The economist came up with the $292 million figure, which took on a life of its own. It was used without specifying that it measures the impact statewide, not for the metro area.

And it's no longer accurate. The true impact is likely $150 million.

So the $292 million might have been an OK figure to use in the early 2000s, but it has since been revised. We rate the claim False.