MSNBC anchor said Obama "would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt" without noting that McCain's proposal would add more than $5 trillion

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

Contessa Brewer cited the Tax Policy Center's finding that Sen. Barack Obama's spending and tax plan would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt while ignoring its finding that Sen. John McCain's plan would increase the debt by more than $5 trillion.

On the September 17 edition of MSNBC Live, anchor Contessa Brewer cited the Tax Policy Center's finding that Sen. Barack Obama's spending and tax plan would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt while ignoring the same study's finding that Sen. John McCain's tax and spending plan would increase the debt by more than $5 trillion.

Brewer said to Democratic strategist Patrick Murphy, "[A]ccording to the Tax Policy Center, Obama's combination of spending and tax cuts would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt by the year 2018. Today, the Treasury Department announced it's going to have to auction off these bonds for the Federal Reserve in order to support all these loans that the Fed is making. So how do you justify increasing that kind of spending that will have so much of an effect on the nation's budget problems?"

However, at no time during the interview, which included both Murphy and Republican strategist Andrea Tantaros, did Brewer point out the TPC's findings on McCain's plan or ask Tantaros if McCain could "justify" increasing the debt by $5.1 trillion to nearly $7.4 trillion, as the study also found. The September 2008 report, titled "An Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates' Tax Plans," stated:

Both campaigns have complained that our analysis is incomplete because we fail to consider the effects of their spending cuts on the budget. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the federal budget will run a cumulative deficit of $2.3 trillion over the 2009-2018 period under current law (see Summary Table 1).3 If federal spending evolves as CBO predicts, the proposed tax cuts would add to those deficits and substantially increase the national debt. Senator Obama's plan as described by his economic advisers would increase the ten-year cumulative deficit by about $3.6 trillion to $5.9 trillion; Senator McCain's plan would boost it by $5.1 trillion to nearly $7.4 trillion. Adding to their plans proposals made in stump speeches but not confirmed by campaign advisors would lower the cumulative deficit over the decade slightly to $5.4 trillion for Obama and raise it to almost $11 trillion for McCain. Beyond this, the health proposals and campaign promises not in the official descriptions could increase the costs still further.

From the noon ET hour of MSNBC Live on September 17:

BREWER: We're also following breaking news on Wall Street. In the wake of that $85 billion bailout for AIG, the Dow Jones industrials has dropped now nearly 343. And the S&P and Nasdaq, likewise, are declining today. There are investors who are very worried about the future of the financial markets. Both presidential candidates are out with new ads today addressing the situation on Wall Street.

OBAMA [video clip]: This isn't just a string of bad luck. The truth is that while you've been living up to your responsibilities, Washington has not. [break] I approve this message because bitter partisan fights and outworn ideas of the left and the right won't solve the problems we face today. But a new spirit of unity and shared responsibility will.

McCAIN [video clip]: You, the American workers, are the best in the world. But your economic security has been put at risk by the greed of Wall Street. That's unacceptable. My opponent's only solutions are talk and taxes. I'll reform Wall Street and fix Washington.

BREWER: That was part of two new campaign ads released this morning. But as the candidates hone their economic messages, is either one resonating with voters? Andrea Tantaros is a Republican strategist, Patrick Murphy is a Democratic strategist, and it's a pleasure to see you both today.

Andrea, let's begin with you. John McCain went from saying that the economy's fundamentals are strong to putting out ads saying the economy's in crisis. A decade ago, he supported laws that deregulated banking and insurance industries, and now he says we have to reform those regulations. Is this just a remodeling of himself?

TANTAROS: Well, look. Either candidate, I think, right now is not offering what we really need to hear, or at least not getting specific. I mean, this is the last time -- we want to -- the worst time, I should say, that we want to hear any partisan blame here, because there's plenty of blame to go around. There should be something deeply troubling to both candidates that we are right now nationalizing our financial institutions. The last thing we should be doing is putting our government in charge of these institutions.

And I know both candidates are calling for more regulation. Well, Contessa, there's a difference between lots of regulation, as you know, a little bit of regulation, and then proper regulation. So, I'm not really hearing -- you know, the only thing I'm really hearing is, "Let's hold a commission. Let's hold a dog and pony show." And to go to your point, I don't think any of this is resonating with voters at all. I think voters are scared, and they're just hearing finger-pointing and blame from both sides.

BREWER: Peter [sic], according to the Tax Policy Center, Obama's combination of spending and tax cuts would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt by the year 2018. Today, the Treasury Department announced it's going to have to auction off these bonds for the Federal Reserve in order to support all these loans that the Fed is making. So how do you justify increasing that kind of spending that will have so much of an effect on the nation's budget problems?

MURPHY: Well, I think the first problem that a President Obama is going to have is have to clean up the last eight years of the Bush administration. The Bush administration is the -- you know, the President Bush was the decider, and John McCain has decided that he's the deregulator. He has professed his admiration for deregulation. And when you see the markets -- if you look in the right-hand corner of the screen, and people see that the market is down 345 points today, those aren't rich-person numbers. Those affect everyone's 401(k), institutional investors, pension funds, union funds.

Posted In
Economy, Budget
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Contessa Brewer
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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