Sarah Palin Gets Facts Wrong in Budget Critique

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin signs her new book 'America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag,' Nov. 23, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images

Getty Images

Sarah Palin has turned to Facebook and Twitter to criticize President Obama's 2012 budget proposal. Here's what she wrote on Twitter: "Here's how minuscule the White House's $775 million a year cuts are: less than 1/10 of 1% of this year's budget deficit."

And on Facebook: "If you want to know how minuscule their proposed $775 million-a-year budget 'cuts' really are, please look at this chart. The proposed cuts are so insignificant - less than 1/10 of 1% of this year's $1.65 trillion budget deficit - that they are essentially invisible on the pie chart. That speaks volumes about today's budget."

Palin links in both places to a chart posted on The Blaze, Glenn Beck's website, five days ago - before the budget proposal came out. It uses an op-ed by White House Budget Director Jacob Lew to suggest that Mr. Obama was proposing to cut $775 million from the budget, and goes on to mock that amount as insignificant.

The problem? Lew wrote in his op-ed that he was only discussing "a small fraction of the scores of cuts" in the budget proposal, not the total proposed cuts, as a Democratic official pointed out to Ben Smith. Now, it's difficult to quantify the exact total of those first year cuts, and there is new spending that actually increases the deficit projection for 2012. But the cuts themselves are certainly more than Palin suggests: there are $2.5 billion in cuts to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program alone, for example. Smith writes that the proposed cuts, in total, add up to about $75 billion.

There is no problem with Palin criticizing the cuts as too small, of course. But the simple fact is that she is using an incorrect figure as the basis of her critique.

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