Fact-checking the debates 2.0
Before Wednesday's debate even begins, you can easily predict which lies George Bush will use. Here are a few outlined by Paul Krugman in the New York Times:
Mr. Bush will boast about the decline in the unemployment rate from its June 2003 peak. But the employed fraction of the population didn't rise at all; unemployment declined only because some of those without jobs stopped actively looking for work, and therefore dropped out of the unemployment statistics. The labor force participation rate - the fraction of the population either working or actively looking for work - has fallen sharply under Mr. Bush; if it had stayed at its January 2001 level, the official unemployment rate would be 7.4 percent.
Mr. Bush will claim that the recession and 9/11 caused record budget deficits. Congressional Budget Office estimates show that tax cuts caused about two-thirds of the 2004 deficit.
The tax cuts
Mr. Bush will claim that Senator John Kerry opposed "middle class" tax cuts. But budget office numbers show that most of Mr. Bush's tax cuts went to the best-off 10 percent of families, and more than a third went to the top 1 percent, whose average income is more than $1 million.
-Paul Krugman, "Checking the Facts, in Advance"