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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

RE-POST: READER'S POST #6 - Fact Checking the Commander in Chief

This post has received some new attention recently. Our blog traffic monitor says that this post is receiving a lot of hits and even new comments. I wanted to put this on the front page so that people who are new to the blog have a chance to see it. It is simply being moved to the front of our blog so that original comments are preserved. Of course, open debate is always welcome.

Original text: 

By: 32slim32

President Obama in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer was asked about Newt Gingrich referring to him as the “Food Stamp President” had this reply:

"First of all, I don't put people on food stamps. People become eligible for food stamps. Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor, not under me. Number three, when you have a disastrous economic crash that results in 8 million people losing their jobs, more people are going to need more support from government."

OK, Mr. President, before we even get to the facts concerning this, I have a couple of questions for you. So, YOU don’t put people on food stamps, they become eligible for them, but Bush did put people on food stamps? Is that what you are saying? How exactly does that work?

According to the USDA, Mr. President, there were 17.2 million people getting food stamps at the end of 2000 just prior to Bush taking office. At the end of 2008 (the end of Bush’s term) there were 28.2 million people on food stamps, an increase of 11 million people.  At the end of your third year, Mr. President, the number of people receiving food stamps is 44.7 million people, an increase of 16.5 million people. (source:

Now Mr. President, this is not rocket science, it is, how do you put it, oh yeah, “It’s math”.  You see sixteen million is larger than eleven million, therefore, you sir, are the food stamp president.

Additionally Mr. President, was it not your Stimulus Bill that increased SNAP benefits by $300 Million? Why yes it was. Oh wait, or did Bush sneak that into your Stimulus Bill?

Just for the record, when I saw your lips begin moving, I was pretty sure a lie was about to come out of your mouth, or an “It’s Bush’s fault”. Lo and behold you go and do both.

Disclaimer from The Elephant in the Room: The article posted above is the work of a blog reader, not an owner of the blog. In promoting an open forum blog, and believing that the passing of information is the reason we exist, we happily post most readers' work with little editing. While the article does appear on our blog, the owners of The Elephant in the Room did not write this article, and posting this article on our blog does not imply endorsement of the ideas and opinions expressed in the article. If you would like us to post your work, please submit it to


  1. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for taking the hard earned money I work for and giving it to people who didn't try as hard as me just so you can get their votes.

  2. I'd vote for him too if I got free food. Who wouldn't?

  3. LOL Love it! Though not PC, this article should be titled "Someone has to say it!" Actually, this article and this blog should have that title.

    Nice job 32slim. Good points

  4. Slim

    Your best line is

    "First of all, I don't put people on food stamps. People become eligible for food stamps. Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor, not under me.

    You really got him!

    I like it, short, sweet, and to the point. PC or not, you speak the truth.

  5. Slim -

    In fairness, Obama doesn't seem to blame Bush for anything in that which you've provided. He simply points out that "the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor", a statement you do not disprove. That statement alone also seems to acknowledge that there were further expansions (the word 'initial' indicates additions). Further, the rise in SNAP between 2008 and 2011, 63%, is consistent with the rise, during that same time period, in unemployment which is 65% ( Numbers can be deceiving, it is better to look at and understand the percentages (generally speaking).

    1. I don't think he blames Bush, but Obama is smart enough to divert attention to him. Simply saying Bush's name is enough to cause implication that he is doing it. I don't necessarily think Slim needs to disprove Obama's claim about Bush either. It's true; the facts are acknowledged, but, I think he is simply showing how great the increase has been under Obama. The rate, perhaps, can be highlighted (the rate of expansion of SNAP under Obama). It has been the largest expansion (per any similar time period regardless of unemployment) in US history. I tend to agree with Slim's assessment; it might just need a little more articulation.


    2. WOW!!! I can't believe nobody called bullshit on my post, so I'm calling it.. BULLSHIT!!!

      My math was WAY off. Please disregard the numbers portion of my post though the comment about what Obama said is still valid.

      The Obama numbers are, generally, in-line with the Bush numbers (you MUST look at percentages and not hard numbers to really understand the situation). Obama is at a 34% increase from 2009 (his first year in office) through 2011. Bush, in his first term (2001 through 2004) saw an increase in SNAP of 38%. Bush was coming off of the healthiest economy this country has known while Obama came into power during the second worst financial crisis this country has seen. Bush's 2nd term was incredible with only a 10% growth in SNAP. However, his entire term, 2001 through 2008 saw a 63% increase which averages out to 31.5% per year. Obama' thus far into his initial term, is at 34%. As you can see, it is VERY consistent with Bush's first term. The difference is in the economies that each inherited - and that doesn't take into account the financial surplus Bush inherited whereas Obama inherited a mountain of debt. The increase in SNAP between 08 -09 (what i'll call the bridge year) was 19% while unemployment during that same time increased 60%.

      Anyway, when you look at the whole picture, I don't think Obama's numbers are that far out of whack, especially when you consider the economic climate he inherited.

      Dr. Bruce - Again, you can't look at the hard numbers as population is not static. Percentages are the real story and, according to what I've just laid out, Bush's numbers were worse, in his first term, than Obama's.

    3. Hey there whatsamattausa, I am calling horse squeeze on BOTH of your posts. First, your link in your 1st post is unemployment numbers, not SNAP. My numbers are the SNAP numbers. And for the record the percentage increase per year are as follows:

      2001 it INCREASED 0.72%
      2002 it INCREASED 10.27% (that would be after 9/11 just for your memory)
      2003 it INCREASED 11.28%
      2004 it INCREASED 12.05%
      2005 it INCREASED 7.63%
      2006 it INCREASED 3.59%
      2007 it DECREASED -0.88%
      2008 it INCREASED 7.25%

      2009 it INCREASED 18.66%
      2010 it INCREASED 20.34%
      2011 it INCREASED 10.93%

      0bama's BEST year is barely better than Bush's WORST year. Do you loons take a special class on advanced excuse making for 0bama?

      Regardless if you look at the raw numbers or the percentages, 0bama is the undisputed King of Food Stamps, Welfare, and Unemployment. Why do you think he doesn't run on his record......because his record sucks.

      I am sure that being the good 0bama stooge (that you appear to be) you will find some way to excuse his pitiful performance.

    4. Slim -

      I gotta say, you make it hard to be respectful. In case you haven't noticed, and it's clear you haven't, I side on truth where you side on what you feel. Year over year statistics do nothing to change the FACTS of the term - interesting though that you raise the year over year performance and notice that Obama's number is almost halved - that's right, halved in 1 year - from 2010 (let me guess, I'm making excuses, right Slim?) The FACT is that in Bush's first term, SNAP went up 38% compared to Obama's is 34%, to date. Ignore what you please but the numbers are what they are. Obama inherited an economy free of surplus and in a downward spiral. Bush received the opposite. Is that making excuses, perhaps in your book, however, I like to simply call it FACT.

      No reason to be angry or hostile because your positions are weak and don't hold water! You are biased to the point of ignoring facts. In other words, you're part of the problem!

    5. Whatsamattausa......

      I'll type this as meekly as possible so as not to upset your delicate feelings. I don't know what you are basing your numbers on. I am trying to get to an apples to apples comparison here, instead of your apples and oranges.

      If we were to compare the first three years of Bush's term to the first three years of 0bama's term we will find that an addition of 4.056 Million people were added to the SNAP program, an increase of 23.6%, during Bush's first 3 years.

      During President 0bama's first three years the number increased by 16.486 Million, or an increase of 39.8%. To give you a little perspective on that number, Bush, during 8 years only added 11.029 Million to the SNAP program.

      So whether you look at the raw data or the percentage of increase, 0bama, hands down, without a doubt, IS the unquestionable, undeniable, undisputed champion of Food Stamps. (With all due respect, of course)

      I believe you, sir/mam, are the one working on a "feeling". I don't think you can comprehend the truth. There are the numbers.

      I like the way you conveniently tried to compare 4 years of Bush data to 3 years of 0bama data. That is not how you make comparisons. That is the way you distort the numbers.

      I just love how you left leaners are always calling everyone that disagrees with you angry/hostile.

      As far as someones position not holding water, I believe a sieve could hold more water than your deceptive apples to oranges comparison.

      But hey, if you want to go on thinking that adding 16.5 million (obama) to 4.1 million (bush) are about the same over the same period of time, knock your self out. I guess we even have the right to be idiots here in America. (With all due respect, again)

    6. Slim -

      Do you read ALL of the words or just the ones you want (I'm just curious since you didn't seem to read all of mine and you certainly didn't read all of Obama's)? I recognized, using the words "to date" with Obama, that it isn't his entire term since, obviously, he hasn't had a full term yet. I was comparing his first term, THUS FAR, with Bush's first term in total. Seems an apples to apples comparison to me but when the facts are not what you want to hear, you start calling them oranges.

      Have you check the #'s I provided in my post? If you did, please let me know if ANYTHING I said was false (outside of what I recognized already). If anything is false, I would be more than happy to acknowledge your greatness and admit I am wrong.

    7. Whatsamattausa, yes I read them all, I guess I may have forgot some of the words as I was puzzled by your figures. They are wrong. Math apparently isn't your thing. It was wrong in your first post, which even you admit, and it's wrong in your second post. For instance, you list 0bama's increase as only 34%, it is 39.8%. You did get Bush's number right as it was 38.5% for first 4 years.

      Also, in your second post you posted "However, his entire term, 2001 through 2008 saw a 63% increase which averages out to 31.5% per year." I really hate to rain on your parade, but, unfortunately those numbers are wrong too. Bush actually had a 64.1% increase over his 8 years which, unfortunately for you, averages out to 8% per year, not 31.5% per year.

      While your comparison does seem innocent in nature, it is not an apple to apple comparison. Comparing Bush's 1st three years to 0bama's 1st three years is apples to apples. Anything else is apples and oranges.

      For instance, you want to look at average increase per year. Bush's avg increase per year for his first three years was 7.9%, as I mentioned earlier his average was 8% for the entire 8 years. President 0bama's avg increase per year (through his first 3 years)is 13.3%.

      So, as I said before, however you want to fairly compare the numbers 0bama's numbers are worse.

      Raw Numbers (Increase in Participants first 3 years)
      Bush 4.056 Million
      0bama 16.486 Million
      Bush 2.505 Million (First 3 years of 2nd term)

      Percentage Increase over first 3 years
      Bush 23.6%
      0bama 39.8%
      Bush 10.5% (First 3 years of 2nd term)

      Percentage increase per year for first 3 years
      Bush 7.9%
      0bama 13.3%
      Bush 3.5% (First 3 years of 2nd term)

      For the record, I read 0bama's words too, all of them even. I believe it is his intent to imply that it's Bush's fault for so many people on food stamps. That we can agree to disagree about but the numbers do not lie.

      Do you dispute my numbers? I am using the numbers from the link in my original article. I don't know if your formula is flawed or if you are inadvertently hitting the wrong numbers, but your math just ain't right. Sorry. I will say I do not believe you are just lying out of your butt or making stuff up, which to be honest, I suspected earlier, but I now know, you muffed the numbers.

      Also, on a side note, you mentioned a very rosy scenario that Bush inherited. Yes, he did inherit a surplus, however our economy was somewhat unstable (and we were NOT debt free). The following are the GDP Growth Rates per quarter for 1999 to 2001 (source:

      1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q
      1999 3.6% 3.2% 5.2% 7.4% (that is good)
      2000 1.1% 8.0% 0.3% 2.4% (that is a little erratic)
      2001 -1.3% 2.6% -1.1%* 1.4% ( *this is the quarter of 9/11)

      The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)said the 2001 recession lasted between March 2001 - November 2001 even though GDP growth was negative for only one full quarter during that time period. So, Bush inherited a recession and then was hit with the terrorist attacks all in his first year. Not quite the rosy picture you painted.

      Have a good day, whatsamattausa. I anxiously await your reply.

    8. Sorry that formatting didn't work out right on the GDP numbers. While it is a little harder to read, it is still legible. It was all lined up nice and neat prior to posting.

    9. Slim… Just so there can be no discrepancy...

      Obama (2009 thru 2011 – his term THUS FAR) – 44,709/ 33,490 = 1.33499 – This is an increase of 34% (rounded)
      Bush (2001 thru 2004 – his ENTIRE INITIAL term) – 23,811/ 17,318 = 1.3749 – This is an increase of 38% (again, rounded)
      Bush (2001 thru 2008 – his ENTIRE term) – 28,223/ 17,318 = 1.62969 – This is an increase of 63% (rounded)

      You are correct that I stated Bush averaged, per year, an increase of 31.5%. I bow to your greatness, thank you for correcting my error. However, I don’t really think anyone is dumb enough to not make the connection that, really, I mistyped and meant to say, ‘per term’. But, you did get me… Kudos!!!

      The comparison is apples to apples so long as it is a qualified statement, as mine was, as you chose to ignore (as you chose to ignore that Obama didn’t blame Bush - even though if you 'believe it is his intent to imply' (believe, intent, imply are all words of vagueness and you hit the trifecta!)). I will reserve judgment to see what Obama’s full term brings but, THUS FAR, he is on par with the increase in Bush’s first term (FACT). I note that from 2010 to 2011 Obama’s increase was only 11%, a marked improvement from prior years. Unemployment numbers are getting better slowly but surely so it is conceivable that his 2011 to 2012 numbers will begin to reverse. Will that happen? I don’t know but there is evidence there to say it could (it could also balloon or stay the same or anything in between). I will also point out, again, a fact you choose to ignore. Bush took over during one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, economy that this country has ever seen… FACT! Stop making excuses for Bush. He took office during a much better economy than Obama did, period. 9/11 was tough but the economy bounced back strong from roughly 2003 through about 2007 before the bottom fell out. This is why I mention the unemployment numbers, they tell the tale of the state of the economy. If people aren’t working, this country is in a downward spiral as the expenditure of money from the people is what drives this economy. No work, no money, no spending and the problem builds upon itself. During Bush’s bridge year (2000 to 2001) from Clinton, unemployment grew .7%... In the bridge year from Bush to Obama (2008 to 2009), unemployment grew 3.3%, a significant difference. There is a definite correlation between SNAP and unemployment. Obama took over an economy in the midst of a nose dive that, as you may recall, the GOP refused to even acknowledge was occurring (a HUGE reason McCain lost the election).

      So, I have provided the formulas so you can see how the calculations are done. I think my math is just fine. If not, please let me know and I will acknowledge my inaccuracies, as I’ve proven I’ll do when appropriate. If it is, I’ll await your acknowledgement of that fact!

    10. His Greatness 32slim32January 31, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      So whatsamattausa, do you not read the words that you typed? Am I supposed to read your mind or your words?

      The first problem with your numbers are, you are using the Presidents first term as the base line. That is incorrect. You have to use the previous Presidents FINAL year as the base line.

      Given your total lack of understanding when it comes calculating a percentage, I really have to question your 3.3% growth rate for unemployment for the "bridge year" of 2008 to 2009. Are you using the Jan 2008 number of 5.0% and comparing that to the Feb 2009 of 8.3%? That is not a 3.3% increase, it is a 66% increase.

      Maybe you should lay off of the numerical facts and just stick to your liberal talking points until you finish a remedial math class or something.

      If you want to call inheriting a recession "the strongest economy that this country has ever seen" I guess that is your prerogative. Like I said before, it's America, you do have the right to be an idiot.

      You mentioned that the unemployment numbers are getting better. Sure the more people that give up on looking for a job without ever finding one do drive the unemployment rate down, but, it doesn't add to the number of people working. I suggest you analyze the Employment Situation (published monthly by the BLS)and you will notice that the rate dropping has a lot more to do with people giving up on finding a job than people actually finding jobs. Please note, whatsamattausa, I am not saying it is ALL people falling off of the rolls, yes, there have been some jobs added.

      Anyway, have a great day whatsamattausa.

    11. why would you have to read my mind (are you that desperate for coherent thought?)?

      Amazing how you can't come up with anything factual... Just rants.. A whole lotta blah, blah, blah! By the way - I am not using any baseline other than Bush's and Obama's own records. Not mucking up Bush's number by adding a little Clinton in there and not mucking up Obama by putting some Bush in there. Just pure, 100% record for each candidate for the years they were in office. Why you'd do it any other way is beyond me. In order to make a statement like "During Bush's term, SNAP enrollment went up X%", you would use ONLY Bush's numbers... otherwise, it would be "During Bush's term and including one year of Clinton's term"...You did get me again though... I mistyped the 3.3, it is actually 3.5%. That number comes through unemployment statistics (you must have missed that when you were selectively reading but, perhaps words (and clearly numbers) are not your thing). Again, thank you for pointing that out, you are a great person and a greater patriot (i think i just threw up in my mouth a bit).

      Name calling, not providing factual information, as I have, are your calling cards. Please let me give you another formula (this one is simple addition so perhaps you'll actually understand how it works, unless there's a number from the Lincoln administration you'd like to throw in there) - 9.3% (the 2009 unemployment rate) - 5.8% (the 2008 unemployment rate) = 3.5% (i hope the decimals didn't throw you off. If they did, just remove it, do the simple subtraction (you can still use your fingers so you should be good) and then put it back in the middle of the the 2 numbers that are left).

      Keep making excuses Slim, perhaps you'll come across someone who will actually believe them!

    12. His Greatness 32slim32January 31, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Awwwww......whatsamattausa, are you upset? You seem a little unhinged and angry. You are making even less sense than usual. I'll tell you what maybe we can get you a participation trophy or something. At least you tried.

      You said: "why would you have to read my mind (are you that desperate for coherent thought?)?" Well, here's why I asked, because you said, "You are correct that I stated Bush averaged, per year, an increase of 31.5%. I bow to your greatness, thank you for correcting my error. However, I don’t really think anyone is dumb enough to not make the connection that, really, I mistyped and meant to say, ‘per term’. But, you did get me… Kudos!!!"

      You see one minute you are asking me if I read all the words, the next minute I am supposed to read your mind (you know, right after I read your WORDS that you can't even type correctly).

      Then you say I can't come up with anything factual. Uh, I have been using the data provided in my original post all the way through our back and forth. I can't help it that you can't do math. Your lame attempts at being sardonic would be better if you didn't have to correct your own math every other post. I sure hope for your sake that crow and humble pie aren't too fattening.

      OK whatsamattausa, let's try this. Let's say that at the end of Bill Clinton's term there were only 1 million on Food stamps. Let's further say that after Bush's first year there were 10 Million on Food stamps but in his second year it decreased to 8 million, decreased to 6 million in his third year and decreased to 4 million in his fourth year. In this scenario, using your logic of staring at Bush's first year, instead of Clinton's final year, Bush could take credit for cutting Food Stamp enrollment. He could say because of his policies that people needing food stamps had fallen dramatically. So if that were the case (which it is not as this is a purely hypothetical scenario), would you just nod and agree with Bush, or, would you say, but hey what about those first 9 million people that you put on food stamps?

      Honestly, whatsamattausa, how do you call that one? Did Bush (hypothetically still) DECREASE Food Stamp participation by 60% or did he INCREASE it by 300% in the above scenario?

      I am guessing that since you said, "Not mucking up Bush's number by adding a little Clinton in there and not mucking up Obama by putting some Bush in there.", that you would say, if you stayed true to your own logic, that Bush cut the participation by 60%.

      Now, as far as your unemployment numbers go, it appears that you are using the AVERAGE unemployment rates for 2008 and 2009. The difference between 9.3% and 5.8% is 3.5 PERCENTAGE POINTS, not 3.5%. If you increased the 5.8% unemployment rate by 3.5% (5.8 X 1.035) you would only have an unemployment rate of 6.003%.

      I hope that this little math tutorial has been beneficial to you. I could give a flying fornication about Bush, but the numbers are the numbers pal.

    13. Actually, the 3.3% is a number and not a word but that likely relates back to your problems with both.

      And yes, DURING HIS TERM, he would have reduced it by 60%. He, in my opinion, shouldn't be saddled with Clinton's policies that accounted for the 9,000,000 in your scenario. That's why each time, I say things along the lines of 'during his term' or simply give the dates. I figured the words, you know, if you read and understand them, would be sufficient but I see that's not the case for all. That is also why I differentiate the 'bridge year', as I've been calling it because it simply doesn't belong to a single president and more squarely falls on the prior administration. Oh, and sorry for not being 100% clear relating to percentage points to where you had to use that big brain of yours to understand what I'm saying.

      Am I angry??? No, more irritated... Ignorance has a tendency to do that to me. Have a good night pal!

    14. His Greatness 32slim32January 31, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Well, hopefully you'll get over your ignorance problem and you won't be so frustrated with yourself.

      Thanks, I will have a great night, you do the same buddy.

  6. The number of Food Stamp recipients has consistently rose at close to the same rate over the past 11 years, through not just Obama's administration but also Bush's administration. Needless to say it increased at the highest rates since the crash of 2008, as a result of the economy and job losses.

    I don't see why this is an attribute that has to be blamed to any one person/administration over the economic collapse. If you want a reason to dislike Bush or Obama, there are plenty actual reasons that don't have to be exaggerated by spinning facts.

    1. Rates? 11 million in 8 years is a far lower rate than 16.2 Million in 3. Slim wins the argument there buddy.

    2. Obama has made no changes to Food Stamp Eligibility (only to the maximum benefit). President Bush is the one that increased Food Stamp Eligibility with the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (ref:

      I'm sure President Bush didn't anticipate the huge economic collapse that occurred during the end of his second term, but that is (currently) the primary reason for welfare increases.

      You can argue that Obama should decrease Eligibility, but it is fact that Bush's policies included increasing Eligibility.

    3. You're right, anonymous. Obama didn't change eligibility requirements. They haven't changed in 10 years. He just failed to follow through on improving the economy (most specifically, the unemployment rate) and more and more Americans (sadly) went on welfare under him. That's the problem

  7. 32Slim32,
    I find it odd that Obama said such a thing, “Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor, not under me.”According to the Democrats, the Republicans are for the rich, so how could Obama be boasting Bush expanded help for the needy, and he didn’t? I have always found it odd that the poorest states are Republican (Republicans red states) the richest states are Democrats (Democrats blue states). How can it be that the Republicans give more to charity, but the Democrats SAY they want to help the poor? It’s much easier to give away someone else’s money is my guess.
    Here are some facts: according to tax returns, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle gave $10,772 of the $1.2 million they earned from 2000 through 2004 to charities, that is less than 1% since then they have done a little better, 2006 show a little over 5%
    According to the USA Today 9/12/2008 “The Bidens reported giving $995 in charitable donations last year — about 0.3% of their income and the highest amount in the past decade. The low was $120 in 1999, about 0.1% of yearly income.” “Then-Vice President Al Gore came under fire when his 1997 tax return showed only $353 in donations to charity; he and his wife, Tipper, gave $15,000 to charity, or nearly 7% of their income, in each of the following two years.” The Los Angeles Times noted, for instance, that the Gores' slender donation "caused some bewilderment in philanthropic circles because of the vice president's 'good guy' image as an advocate for public service and social causes."
    In one of the largest sums ever donated to charity by a U.S. public official, Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne gave away nearly $7 million last year to help the poor and to medical research.
    According to income tax information released by the White House, the Cheneys' adjusted gross income in 2005 was $8,819,006.
    The sum was largely the result of Mr. Cheney's stock options from Halliburton and royalties from three books written by Mrs. Cheney.
    The Cheneys gave more than three-quarters of their income, and guess what, they were bashed for trying to get out of paying their taxes!
    It is easy to SAY you want to help the poor, but what are the facts? At least for once Obama made it clear Bush helped the poor!

    1. Wow, good point Anonymous. How is it that a Republican is helping the poor and downtrodden? Another funny point, they (Democrats & media) talk about how the Republicans hate the elderly and want to push granny over a cliff, then turn around and bash Bush for the expansion of Medicare which helped 40 million senior citizens.

      You also forgot about Bill Clinton donating his used underwear and claiming a $2 per pair deduction. Heck, I buy a 3 pack of NEW underwear for about $8.

      Yeah, I always loved that he gave $7 Million dollars away to keep from paying $1 Million in taxes story.(the article said the majority of their income was stock options and royalties, capital gains rate is 15%)

  8. In my prior post I forgot to mention Bush and his amounts to charity, let’s keep in mind Obama admitted he didn’t expand help for the poor Bush did.
    During his presidency, Bush gave away more than 10 percent of his income (his own money) each year. (Refer to tax returns) In 2005, Barack Obama made $1.7 million that was more than twice President Bush's 2005 income of $735,180 -- but they both gave about the same amount to charity. The following year, in 2006, Bush gave more to charity than Obama on an income one-third smaller than Obama's.
    We need NOT listen to what people say, but watch what they do!

    1. Seem to be cherry-picking information here, and also ignoring some practicalities in the situation.

      I’m familiar with the statistic of Republicans often donating more to charity than Democrats, and I’m not debating that right now, but I am debating you cherry-picking bits of information and attempting to use it against Obama.

      Cherry-picking, because the most recent tax returns of Obama are far different from his tax returns 5-10 years ago.

      2009: 6% of income to charity ($329k)
      2010: 14.2% of income to charity ($245k)
      2011: ~16% is current estimate

      Which are admirable amounts. Why you would flat-out ignore those and instead go straight for statements from 2001-2005, is blatant cherry picking.

      And, what should be needless to say, it seems like common sense to me that Obama didn’t donate as much 5-10 years ago because the guy was never even very well-off until recently. He’s by far the poorest president we’ve had over the past 100 years, and it is far easier to donate a large amount of your wealth to charity as someone born into wealth (see: most presidents) than someone working there way up from nothing to establish themselves.

      If not for Obama’s money made through book sales his net worth wouldn’t have even passed the $1million mark until ~2010/2011, which is dirt-poor by political standards. Heck, most congressman have higher net worth than that.

    2. RKen,
      I am sorry you believe me to be cherry picking. I believe , and would hope that you agree, the TRUE heart of a man is determined by what he does when no one is looking, NOT what he is doing when all eyes are on him, so it's not relevant what he did after he was scrutinized. Wouldn't you agree? I did add he increased his giving, even though it was after he was made to look bad. You are wrong about charity and giving. It is a known FACT that people with less money (Republican red states) give more than those with more money (Democrats blue states) Do you understand how % works? The Republicans do not have as much money to give, but their % is much greater. Example a Rep. makes $10,000 a year he gives 10%=$1000 a Dem. makes $100,000 gives $5,000=5% it looks like the Dem. gave more but he didn't. This is common knowledge that the poor give more you can find this anywhere. I will give only one source, because this fact is undeniable.

      NY Times "individuals earning over $200,000 and couples with revenues over $250,000. For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans don’t give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous. A number of other studies have shown that lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans. In 2001, Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization focused on charitable giving, found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes; those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

      This situation is perplexing if you think of it in terms of dollars and cents: the poor, you would assume, don’t have resources to spare, and the personal sacrifice of giving is disproportionately large. The rich do have money to spend. "

    3. Good morning Anon,

      Sorry if my post came across harsh; I think I'm too used to posting on news boards. You make a fair enough point, in that you can gain a far better judge of someone's character by what they're doing before they have the spotlight on them. That said though, I think that judging Obama's character is a bit of a different conversation. To be completely fair, Obama did spend quite a bit of time before being a Senator working as a community organizer and for his church. But I don’t really want to diverge into that topic.

      Additionally, I’m pretty sure that the same can be said for most (if not all) presidents, presidential candidates, and congressmen/woman, in that you can find a period of their lives during or right before becoming involved in politics where they didn’t donate as much to charity as they may at later points. It’s not really uncommon.

      I do know what you mean by percentage, and while it wasn't made completely clear I was discussing that as well (and not the actual figures). I understand that typically, the poor give more than the wealthy as well, and I wasn't making a statement on that as much as I was making one on how common it is to donate to charity when comfortable and certain about your wealth and security (which Obama obviously became over the last 3 years) as opposed to when you're uncertain (as a newly elected Senator, just starting a family, and coming from humble beginnings).

      Unfortunately, I don’t quite have the time at the moment to find sources to verify the statements I made, though I think that they’re pretty fair assessments to make. I do appreciate your source.

    4. "The Republicans do not have as much money to give, but their % is much greater."

      That is a fallacy.

      Higher Income levels split fairly evenly between Democrat and Republican, leaning slightly (between 2-4%) toward Republican.

      VOTE BY INCOME TOTAL Democrat Republican
      Less Than $100,000 (78%) 55% 43%
      $100,000 or More (22%) 47% 52%

      source: 2006 exit polls (

      And the fact that people with higher incomes are more likely to vote Republican has been consistently true since 1972 (source:

      Thus the rest of your argument is actually showing that Democrats give more to Charity than Republicans.

  9. RKen.....Good morning. When you post a statement like, "He’s (Obama) by far the poorest president we’ve had over the past 100 years" on a conservative site I am sure you will find all kinds of people that agree with that. Just kidding. I know what you mean.

    However, financially speaking, he is NOT the poorest. According to there are at least 5 US Presidents that have less of a net worth than President Obama.

    27th President William H Taft $3 Million
    28th President Woodrow Wilson less than $1 Million
    29th President Warren G Harding $1 Million
    30th President Calvin Coolidge less than $1 Million
    33rd President Harry S Truman less than $1 Million
    44th President Barack H Obama $5 Million

    That is just over the last 100 years, like you said, in your post. So to be accurate, he is the 6th poorest President over the past 100 years.

    In fact here is a list of other Presidents that Obama has a greater net worth than:

    Chester A Arthur
    James Garfield
    Rutherford B Hayes
    Ulysses S Grant
    Andrew Johnson
    Abraham Lincoln
    James Buchanan
    Franklin Pierce
    Millard Fillmore
    William Henry Harrison (Tie $5 Million)

    1. "44th President Barack H Obama $5 Million"

      In early 2008, Barrack Obama's net worth upon campaigning for the Presidency was ~$800k. That puts him in the less than $1 Million range and definitely among the poorest Presidents we have ever elected.

      Since his Campaign and Presidency, his book sales sky rocketed and pushed his Net Worth into the $5 Million range.

  10. Good morning to you as well; and I expected the statement would garner criticism, though I do appreciate you bringing light to the actual figures. I'll submit to my statement not being accurate, and honestly I couldn't remember the actual number of years. 50-years it is.

    I believe the point still stands though, he is one of the poorer presidents and most of his net worth is through the book royalties he’s earned over the recent few years. As such I don’t think that comparing his charitable donations before he even was a millionaire to those that have been millionaires for much longer/their entire lives really says much of anything.

    I know, personally, I’d feel far more comfortable donating large percents of my income to charity after being an established millionaire for 10 years, than I would while still working my way towards the first million. I don’t think I’m by any means alone in that either.

    1. RKen, no sir, I was not criticizing. I did make a tongue in cheek comment but did acknowledge I was just kidding. I meant no offense at all by it.

      0bama has more wealth than several of his predecessors. The numbers I used were obviously inflation adjusted.

      I don't think the Anonymous poster was singling out 0bama so much as calling out the hypocrisy of the liberal Democrats and their alleged support of the poor. They do appear to be a lot more generous with taxpayer money than their own. The poster even concluded with "We need NOT listen to what people say, but watch what they do!". I totally agree. Talk is cheap.

    2. Oh, yeah, I recognize you weren't criticizing me; I just meant it in a more general sense. :)

      I'll agree in that actions speak louder than words too, and it is particularly ironic that as a whole Democrats that claim to be all about helping the less fortunate do it less often than Republicans.

      I just didn't agree with calling out Obama's donations 5-10 years ago.

      Call him out now and over the future? Definitely, he's more than well-off and capable of donating large amounts (and will be for life). But before he was established? Not completely fair.

  11. So long story short..... under both bush and Obama food stamps dramatically increased.
    Under both a republican and democratic congress food stamps dramatically increased.

    I wish both parties would stop pointing your fingers and relies your side of the isle is just as big of a joke as the other side. Once u figure that out mabee we can get somewhere.

    I personally would rather my taxes go to feed a child or a family than to give a tax break to a billion dollar company or subsidize products in an industry that has record profits.

    But that's just me. Im sure we wont see any articles on that on this forum though.

    1. Loyal Watcher - good morning, and thanks for writing.

      First, let me say I didn't write this. I think it's well written, and it contains facts to back up the thesis. That being said, I don't personally have an opinion on it. My opinions aren't the gold standard, and for this, I'm undecided, but again, I think the writer did an excellent job.

      That being said, I think you make some very fair points. I completely agree with both parties working together. Dems and repubs, Senate and House and Executive are supposed to work together. There seems to be VERY little of that in recent years.

      As far as having your taxes go up... I respectfully disagree with you on that one somewhat. My take is: what about charity? If we do raise taxes to support the needy (which I don't agree with), but if we did, everyone's taxes should go up by the same rate. If we raise taxes by 1.5%, everyone should feel it. I am vehemently against government-sponsored, pick-and-choose discrimination.

      As far as charity, I don't think the government should be a system that feeds, houses, and supplements people in any way. The government, in my opinion, should not be a free insurance company. We can tax people less if the gov't didn't tax more to give to people via entitlements of all kinds. I don't believe the government should FORCE people through taxation (and more specifically through different rates for different people) to pay for feeding other people. I am perfectly fine with people paying the same rate, and if they want to donate more, that's fine.

      As far as those articles on this forum, you're probably right. The "record" profits argument you've made hasn't really been backed. I would write about it if there was proof behind it. The corporate welfare point doesn't seem to have a thesis, evidence, conclusion argument. I and the other main writer of this blog are only 2 sets of eyes and ears. We do not see it all. With that, IF you feel you know the truth, and want to write about it, by all means... we are a great bulletin board for you. Write it up in a Reader's Post, and we will be happy to post your views, thesis, opinions, etc.

      Thank you!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I completely understand that you don't want your taxes going to certain things.

    I don't want my taxes going to:
    pay for a war I don't agree with.
    funding the operation of 100's of military facilities around the world
    subsidize ANY product
    giving other country's money
    bailing out the financial sector
    making low interest loans to banks
    lavish pay and benefits to government officials
    paying politicians after they leave office

    I don't mind my taxes being used for:
    Feeding children
    Helping the poor (not keeping them poor but helping them get out of poverty)
    Securing our Country
    Funding electoral races
    Investing in future technology
    highways/high speed rail/
    helping with worldwide desease problems or food shortages

    I am sure we all have our own list of things we value and think need to be invested in by our country.

    I can speak from personal experience I lost my job in 2010. I was on unemployment for 3 months before i finally found a job. I took a 20k cut in pay (went from 42k to just over 20k) but I found a job and worked. I was on food stamps for about a year after that and could not afford the insurance provided by my company (500 a month) and since my company offered it i did not qualify for my states insurance plan that was cheaper. I only receive $260.00 a month in food stamps to feed me my wife and my 3 kids. That small amount of food stamps plus me working full time at work and trying to build my business working 30+ hours on the side for almost nothing a week helped me survive for the next year till i got my new job and got back to around 38k. Now I am off food stamps and im starting to make a small income from my business. I still can't afford health insurance but I am able to buy my own food and start to save a small amount of money.

    You can demonize a program or person that's just fine

    The fact is food stamps help allot of hard working Americans skim by till they can get back on their feet.

    We all know a small amount of people abuse the program.
    We also know people and corporations abuse allot of government programs.

    I would focus your time worrying about the programs that line someones pocket with more money and worry less about a program that helps someone buy food and eat.

    Priorities people, priorities....

    1. Someone that knows what he is talking aboutApril 17, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      42k and 3 kids?

      YOU chose to have those kids. So YOU should have to deal with the financial issues that come with supporting 3 mouths on a 42k income. I don't have kids because I can't afford them, and I don't feel financially sound enough to have them yet. YOU had kids when you probably shouldn't have and then when you fell on hard times, you didn't have enough saved up because you had to shell out so much money for raising 3 kids. If you want to talk about priorities, talk about the choice to have children without being able to take care of them through thick AND thin. Maybe you knew you could afford them when times were good but you couldn't when times were bad, but that didn't matter because you had big daddy government taking care of you. Is that why you had them?

      Don't lecture us on priorities when you chose to have kids you couldn't afford, didn't have a back up plan, and went on taking MY tax dollars to feed your kids that you couldn't feed yourself.

      P.S. You're welcome

    2. Your comment says everything i need to know about you.

      and trust me i will pay my share of taxes throughout my life and will pay far more into the system than i took out.

      I am just grateful it was there when i needed it.

      I am also grateful we live in a country that takes care of its people when they hit a ruff patch. I think small things like this help god look down on us all and smile every once and a while and be proud he still has some people willing to help each other without judging them.

    3. Someone that knows what he is talking aboutApril 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Your comment doesn't change the facts:

      You had 3 kids and no means to pay for them, but for some reason you think you have the wherewithal to talk about "priorities"

      Multiply your situation of many many people having kids and no way to afford them and falling back on the gov't for support and you have dependency. Why was I able to support myself when things got bad? I was responsible. Not only did I hold up my end, I paid for yours, too. Don't step away from the truth.

    4. Loyal Watcher, at $38,000 per year with a wife, 3 kids and your mortgage interest deduction I doubt that you pay any federal income taxes at all. I would dare to say that you receive more back than you paid in. 47% of the country pays no federal income taxes. You may be in that 47%. If so, you don't have any taxes going to wars you don't support, funding 100's of military bases, the subsidization of anything (as is you are most likely being subsidized), nor would you have taxes going to things that you agree with.

      I don't mean this as an insult, personal attack, or any thing other than just merely making a GUESS based on statistics. According to TurboTax with $38,000 income and 5 dependents (you, your wife, and 3 kids) and NO CALCULATION for your mortgage interest you would qualify for $4,275 in credits versus a $553 tax bill meaning you were subsidized $3,722 by the 53% of people that do pay federal income taxes or Chinese lenders.

      I am not saying that you cheated the system as these are all legal credits/deductions and such. I am just merely saying that you most likely aren't funding the things you don't like or even the things you do like.

      I also realize that our tax code is very complex and if your wife has an income that changes everything. You didn't mention one so I assumed there wasn't one when I went to TurboTax.

      Yes, I realize that you pay Social Security and Medicare but that is funding those "old folk" (from your post on Pachyderm Prides article the other day)you seem to have great disdain for, not all the stuff you don't like.

      Have a great day.

    5. Once again u disregard the point I was making and focus on one part of my statement. (very common on this forum)

      Yes I listed things I did not want my taxes going for and things I would not mind my taxes going for.

      It was to make the point everyone has different views of were our money should go.

      I understand how some people do not want to support a food stamp program and how others would.

      I never claimed to pay income taxes. Yes I DO PAY TAXES but you are correct I DO NOT PAY INCOME TAX. Everything I pay I receive back at the end of the yer.

      I find it very amusing there is a focus on a program that takes up so little of the budget, Focus your time and energy on other programs

      Look at how much money was lost due to the bush tax cuts and due to tax breaks given to billion dollar corporations then we can talk about wasting money but on people who live lavish lives not on helping poor people eat.

    6. Someone that knows what he is talking aboutApril 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      Clarify, please: "I never claimed to pay income taxes. Yes I DO PAY TAXES but you are correct I DO NOT PAY INCOME TAX. Everything I pay I receive back at the end of the year."

      Everything you pay back? So do you pay $xxx in income tax during the year, and you get $xxx back, or do you pay no income tax during the year, and everything you paid in payroll/employment taxes you get back? HUGE difference.

      If your refund is greater than your net tax paid, you had a negative tax rate, and that's a very real possibility with that many dependents.

      While it's true, it does take up a small part of the budget (not including SS and MC and MA, those are HUGE allowances the government just pays people), to compare it to corporations is just silly. How many corporations are there in this country? Well about 30,000x less than the amount of people. The government feeding people, to me, is far worse. People can feed themselves.

      And as far as spouting incorrect statements about the Bush tax cuts, care to give some backing on that? Because, if you look at actual facts, on this (I even saw it here on this blog), government revenues steadily INCREASED for 5 fiscal years following the tax cuts. The recession destroyed all things, but that is a fact you cannot get around.

    7. Someone that knows what he is talking aboutApril 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      And oh yeah. Slim was right.

  13. "Look at how much money was lost due to the bush tax cuts "

    Let's do look at it. The Bush tax cuts were passed in 2003. Receipts had fallen for 4 straight years. (source: Table 1.1)

    Year.......Total Receipts
    2003.......$1,782,314 (in millions)
    2005.......$2,153,611 (all time record)
    2006.......$2,406,869 (new all time record)
    2007.......$2,567,985 (another new all time record)