Thanks to the fine folks over at PolitiFact, we can fact-check Gov. Sanford's charges that the stimulus will make the U.S. economy worse.
Here's the truth about Gov. Sanford and his latest unsubstantiated charges:
In an op-ed in the Washington Post on Feb. 23, Mark Sanford, the Republican governor of South Carolina, wrote that the bill would not only fail to boost the economy, but that it would actually make things worse.
"Now that the so-called stimulus plan is law, we're left with one question: Will this package help us or hurt us? Unfortunately, I believe it is the latter, for a few reasons," wrote Sanford.
"First, this package will ultimately mean less, not more, economic activity. The Congressional Budget Office has found that this bill will lead to a real 0.1 to 0.3 percent reduction in gross domestic product by 2019. That translates into our economy losing tens of billions of dollars."
When we asked Sanford's communications director to provide the source for his data, he pointed us to a Feb. 4 letter from CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf to senators and House members that projects the impact of the stimulus bill.
Sanford is quoting the number out of context and neglecting to point out that it is a reduction from the baseline, which itself was going up. So he gives the impression it is a decline in the real GDP, when it's really a decline in GDP growth. Big difference.
To say Sanford is cherry-picking the letter would be too generous. He has taken one number from a letter that seems to support his thesis and distorted it. And he's ignored several more prominent measurements that show the stimulus bill would help the economy.