The claim about debt reduction: "[Barack Obama] has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade. For every $2.5 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues, 2.5 to 1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That's the kind of balanced approach proposed by the Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan commission. ... It passes the arithmetic test." Former President Bill Clinton
The facts: By the administration's math, you have nearly $3.8 trillion in spending cuts, compared with $1.5 trillion in tax increases (letting the Bush tax cuts expire for high-income Americans). Presto, $1 of tax increases for every $2.50 of spending cuts. But virtually no serious budget analyst agreed with this accounting. The $4 trillion figure, for instance, includes $1 trillion in cuts reached a year ago in budget negotiations with Congress. So no matter who is the president, the savings are already in the bank. Moreover, the administration is also counting $848 billion in savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, by projecting war spending far in the future, the administration is able to claim credit for saving money it never intended to spend.
The claim about manufacturing jobs: "More than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. That's the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s."
The facts: Clinton is referring to the period since February 2010, the administration's preferred date for counting employment figures. If you count from the beginning of Obama's term, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 500,000. Manufacturing jobs have been on a long steep decline since the middle of Clinton's term, with 2 million jobs lost during the recession that started at the end of George W. Bush's term.
The facts about insurance: "More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents' policies can cover them."
The facts: Interestingly, Clinton frames this more accurately than Obama. The Department of Health and Human Services in June reported that more than 3 million young adults would not have health insurance without the health-care law. Obama prefers to cite a survey published by the Commonwealth Fund that showed that 6.6 million young adults "stayed on or joined their parents' health plans" in 2011. Not all of those people were uninsured; some simply joined their parents' plans for other reasons.
The claim about health care costs: "For the last two years, after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years, health care costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time in 50 years."
The facts: Clinton tried to attribute this decline in health costs to the health-care law, but much of it has not yet been implemented. Most economists say the slowdown is more likely because of the lousy economy. "It's tempting to think that provider initiatives are truly denting costs, but it's hard for changes in provider behavior to influence costs before they occur," said a recent article in Modern Healthcare magazine. "Instead, the drop in healthcare cost growth is primarily attributable to the Great Recession's impact on employment, private health insurance, government revenues and budgets."
Indeed, government actuaries in June published an article in Health Affairs predicting health-care costs would begin to spike as the health-care law was implemented. "For 2011 through 2021, national health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.7 percent annually, which would be 0.9 percentage point faster than the expected annual increase in the gross domestic product during this period," the article said.