Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have repeatedly claimed that President Reagan's tax cuts were responsible for ending the recession in the early 1980s, suggesting that tax cuts, and not government spending, would be the best solution to the end the current recession. However, several economists have stated that while fiscal policy had some impact during that period, "[l]ower interest rates after mid-1982 permitted the recovery to begin," according to a 1983 CBO report. By contrast, a reduction in the federal funds interest rate is not available to the Federal Reserve today because the current rate is essentially zero.
A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
Rush Limbaugh repeated a falsehood in a Bloomberg "commentary" by Betsy McCaughey that claimed that under a provision in the House-passed economic recovery bill, "[o]ne new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and 'guide' your doctor's decisions." In fact, the provisions McCaughey referenced address establishing an electronic records system such that doctors would have information about their patients "to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care."
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh allowed Rep. Eric Cantor to falsely claim of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: "Even the Congressional Budget Office ... says it is not a stimulative bill." In fact, the CBO stated in its January 26 report: "CBO anticipates that implementation of H.R. 1 would have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years," while the CBO director said that the bill would "provide massive fiscal stimulus."
With a Democrat back in the White House, Rush Limbaugh has wasted no time in hurling false and baseless attacks against President Obama, echoing his slanders and smears of President Clinton, his family, and his administration during the 1990s.
Parroting GOP talking points, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed $4.19 billion of President Barack Obama's economic recovery package "is going to ACORN." In fact, the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding.
Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity have falsely asserted or suggested that Robert Reich, speaking at a congressional forum, proposed that jobs created by the economic stimulus package should exclude white males. In fact, Reich has repeatedly stated that he favors a stimulus plan that "includ[es] women and minorities, and the long-term unemployed" in addition to skilled professionals and white male construction workers, not one that is solely limited to them.
Rush Limbaugh responded to a caller's account of her own economic troubles as a homeowner and small business owner and her assertion that she "need[s] people to start believing that America is going to turn that corner" by stating, "Well, you might want to consult history," adding: "It was much worse than this 26 years ago."
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely suggested that Planned Parenthood mainly provides abortions, saying, "You go into Planned Parenthood for an abortion, all right?" In fact, according to the Planned Parenthood website, 3 percent of its health services are abortion services.
Media figures have claimed or suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is only now admitting that he may have to scale back his campaign agenda as a result of the weak economy. In fact, Obama repeatedly said prior to the November 2008 election that some policies he proposed on the campaign trail might need to be delayed because of economic conditions.
Rush Limbaugh falsely asserted that Rep. Barney Frank "created the problem" of the subprime mortgage crisis, claiming that Frank's "definition of affordable housing was to make sure that people who couldn't pay the loans back got the loans, the mortgages. He forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do this." In fact, Frank has advocated for policies that emphasize low-income home rentals as opposed to homeownership and supported legislation to strengthen oversight over Fannie and Freddie.
Rush Limbaugh baselessly claimed that Democrat Al Franken "stole the race" for Minnesota's Senate seat and asserted that "The Wall Street Journal has a story on this. They're counting votes twice -- votes that were rejected, all kinds of things." However, the Journal "story" Limbaugh referred to was an editorial, which simply asserted that there was double counting -- echoing the accusation by the incumbent, Republican Norm Coleman -- and did not cite reporting to support its claim.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that in his first term, President George W. Bush "left a lot of Clinton U.S. attorneys in office, did not sweep them. Only in his second term did he start replacing some." In fact, Bush reportedly replaced 88 of the 93 U.S. attorneys with his own appointees during the first two years of his presidency.
On The Rush Limbaugh Show, Mark Davis accused President-elect Barack Obama of choosing an "amnesty fetishist" in his appointment of Cecilia Muñoz, of the National Council of La Raza. But contrary to Davis' suggestion, Muñoz and NCLR's position in support of comprehensive immigration reform is far from radical, and shared in principle by members of Congress from both parties and by President Bush.