Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Chief bean-counter off by lots of beans

Numbers guy Peter Orszag used incorrect numbers in his claim about earmark reductions.
Numbers guy Peter Orszag used incorrect numbers in his claim about earmark reductions.

With Democrats now running the show, it's their turn to take the heat for earmarks in a $410 billion omnibus spending bill to keep the government running for the rest of the fiscal year.

Congressional Democrats and the White House have been quick to note this spending bill is actually a holdover from the previous administration, that things will be different next year, and that earmarks hit a peak during Republican control in the middle part of this decade.

On CNN's "State of the Union" on March 8, Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said, "Look, the earmarks have come down significantly, 75 percent."

The same day on NBC's Meet the Press , Sen. Charles Schumer threw out a nearly identical assessment: "The bottom line is, there's been serious reform. We are now, this year, two years later, there's one-fifth the earmarks there were before — not 80 percent, 20 percent from before. They are transparent. No Bridge to Nowhere could occur."

We dug into the numbers from a well-respected source and found Orszag (and Schumer) were way off. We rated Orszag's claim False .