Tea Partyer Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the author of the recent federal government shutdown and expected 2016 Republican presidential candidate, went on the Tonight Show this past Friday and proved that while he knows little about economics, he knows a lot about how to swindle voters.

Cruz is polished, to a fault.  You listen to the man speak, answer questions, and you get the impression that no thought, no word, leaves his lips that hasn’t been previously vetted in 100 focus groups.  Ted Cruz is Washington slickness at its distilled worst.

In addition to criticizing “the 1%” (like anyone believes that Ted Cruz is on the side of the 99%), Cruz also told Leno that he was actually one of those opposed to the recent government shutdown. (In fact, Cruz was the architect of the shutdown.)

Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz (bottom right) lead "veterans" in protesting the Republicans own shutdown of the government.

Ted Cruz (wearing Rick Perry’s gay Brokeback Mountain jacket) leads “veterans” in protesting the his own shutdown of the government.

TED CRUZ: Listen, Jay, I’m one of the many people who was not a fan of shutting down the government, throughout this whole thing I said…

JAY LENO: You looked like a big fan from where I was sitting.


TED CRUZ: I said throughout, we shouldn’t shut down the government.

Cruz goes on to explain that it was the Democrats who shut the government down by refusing to negotiate on a law that already passed Congress, won several elections, and then passed constitutional muster before the Supreme Court.  Keep in mind the depth of Cruz’s disingenuousness when I get to my next point, Cruz’s take on the economy.

TED CRUZ: You know in the last four years our economy has grown on average 0.9% a year. It’s not working.

What’s not working are Ted Cruz’s math skills.

The economy did not grow on average only 0.9% a year over the last four years.  The last four years would be the 4th quarter of 2009 to the 3rd quarter of 2013.  And the % change in real GDP per quarter, averaged together, is decidedly higher than 0.9% – in fact, we only had one quarter of negative growth during the entire last four years (all data from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis):


You could also look at the annual percent change in real GDP for the last four years – which is what I suspect Cruz is doing – but we don’t yet have the GDP growth for the 4th quarter of 2013 (since the quarter hasn’t finished), but estimates are putting it at between 2 and 2.5% (Ted Cruz’s government shutdown is expected to shave off 0.6% from the 4th quarter, so we have him to blame for that.)  Here’s GDP growth in the 3 years before this one:


In order for the annual GDP growth from 2010 to 2013 to average 0.9%, 2013 GDP growth would have to be -3.5%.

But that’s going to be tough, as the first three quarters of 2013 aren’t anywhere near -3.5% growth:


That means that in order for Ted Cruz to be right – in order for us to have -3.5% GDP growth in 2013 – the 4th quarter change in real GDP would have to be -20.4%.  And that’s not going to happen, especially when even the pessimists are talking about this quarter’s growth being more on the order of +2%.

Now, we all know what Cruz was really doing. He wasn’t talking about the last four years.  He was talking about the four year period from 2009-2012, which includes George Bush’s near-depression that President Obama inherited.

If you average annual real GDP growth from 2009-2012, you get a little more than 1% growth annually on average:


But how can Cruz honestly blame President Obama for the near-depression that he inherited from Ted Cruz’s own president and Texas compatriot, George Bush?  The data makes clear that the near-depression began during Bush’s term, and in fact the experts says the Bush recession started in December, 2007 and ended in June, 2009 (President Obama was sworn in on January 20th, 2009).

Here’s the quarterly data showing when the recession began:


Now let’s look one more time at Ted Cruz’s quote from the Tonight Show:

TED CRUZ: You know in the last four years our economy has grown on average 0.9% a year. It’s not working.

The reason the average annual real GDP growth is so low is the Bush recession bringing the average down – in other words, the data from the first six months of the Obama presidency.  There was no way that “it” was going to “work” to eradicate that negative growth those first six months.  In fact, “it” did work – the President was responsible for slowing the economic collapse, saving jobs, and ensuring that the GDP shrinkage wasn’t far worse.  Don’t forget the CBO analysis from late 2011 that showed just how much the stimulus added to GDP:


Whether you take the high or the low estimate, what CBO showed was that economic growth would have been worse had we followed the Republican’s advice – Ted Cruz’s advice – and not done the stimulus at all.

But what these numbers do show is that Ted Cruz epitomizes the very kind of politician he claims to want to replace.  He’s your typical Washington flim-flam man, playing fast and loose with the numbers in order to confuse you into voting for him.  By claiming that economic growth only averaged 0.9% during the Obama years, Cruz is making people think that the economy basically didn’t grow at all these years.  When it did.  It didn’t grow enough – but that was predicted early on.  That recession was nasty, and everyone knew it was going to cripple us for years.

But rather than the Obama years being about zero growth, they were in fact about 2.36% average annual growth from 2010 to 2012, with 2% growth expected this year.  Now, that’s not enough, don’t get me wrong.  But 2% on average (give or take) is hardly 0.9% either.

By the way, you know who else saw average annual economic growth of “only” 2% during their presidency?  Yep – Cruz’s fellow Texan, George W. Bush.


Bill Clinton’s average was 3.9%.

George H.W. Bush’s average was 2.3%.

Then again, Ted Cruz also claimed that he opposed the government shutdown.  So I think we have the measure of the man pretty well taken at this point.

(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

Share This Post

© 2018 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS