Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Differences between the debt and the deficit

On Tuesday's "PoliticsNation," host Al Sharpton and guest Goldie Taylor confused debt with deficit.
On Tuesday's "PoliticsNation," host Al Sharpton and guest Goldie Taylor confused debt with deficit.

MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor joined the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation on Tuesday to criticize former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for comparing the national debt to slavery.

But in making their points Taylor and Sharpton also confused deficits for debt.

Sharpton said that the national debt "has been reduced every year for the last five years under this president."

Moments later, Taylor added: "You know, our national debt is as low as it has been since World War II. And so the notion that our national debt is growing at some astronomical rate really is a misnomer."

We rated Sharpton’s comment False. Sharpton mixed up the deficit with the debt. The budget words sort of sound alike, but they’re not interchangeable.

The deficit is a yearly measure of revenues against spending, and the debt is the sum of all past deficits minus any annual surpluses.

Taylor made a similar mix-up as she misconstrued a larger talking point we’ve heard from the Obama administration this year.

We rated her claim False.