Bill O’Reilly Makes a Mess of the Economic Mess

On last night’s Fox show (6/23/11), O’Reilly gave viewers a lesson in… well, something:

So why is this happening? Well, it all boils down to political philosophy. President Obama is a liberal guy who believes the feds should run the economic show, and he hired advisers who believe that as well. The administration then set out to fight the recession by spending government money, the so-called stimulus, and that ran up trillions of dollars of debt.

Historically, the way out of recessions is to give the private sector lower tax rates and reward businesses for hiring people. But the Obama administration has resisted that.

Even by Bill O’Reilly standards this is remarkably off-base. Obama’s liberalism aside (this is the guy who declared, “I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”), who are his left-wing economic advisers? Larry Summers? Most assessments of the Obama team were that his picks were not “ideological”-– which was intended to reassure anyone worried about any drift to the left.

The stimulus package– a mix of spending and tax cuts– cost around $787 billion. The Congressional Budget Office estimates its 10-year cost to be slightly higher than that ($821 billion), which is still miles away from “trillions.” The deficit/debt problems that O’Reilly is concerned with are due primarily to the Bush tax cuts, the recession and the Iraq/Afghan wars. The spending associated with economic recovery plays a small role.

It is unclear where O’Reilly would get the idea that history tells us that lower corporate tax rates and slashing spending is the way out of a recession. I mean, it’s been tried, but I think the consensus is that the results weren’t all that great.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.