The White House was fact-checked by Twitter users on Monday after it attempted to credit itself with the “biggest” one-year federal budget deficit cut in American history.
President Biden’s communications team attempted to exaggerate the administration’s deficit-cutting record on Twitter and received another community note that provided the lack of context for the White House’s claim.
“The Biden-Harris administration cut the deficit in the largest single cut in American history in a year,” the White House tweeted Monday.
However, readers added key details that the White House had omitted, noting that deficit spending surged between fiscal years 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“COVID-related deficits in both FY2020 and FY21 were approximately double the previous record (09), making the drop to FY22 significant,” reads the community note.
“But the FY22 deficit is still the fourth-largest in history and 41% larger than FY2019,” Twitter users pointed out.
Community Notes, formerly called Birdwatch, is a feature on Twitter that allows legitimate users to log in to provide missing context on factual claims. The program is not administered by Twitter. Instead, users rate notes they find helpful and can develop writing skills over time.
“Community Notes don’t work by majority rules. To identify notes that are helpful to a wide range of people, notes require agreement between contributors who sometimes disagreed in their previous reviews. This helps avoid biased reviews,” Twitter explains in its Community Notes Guide.
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In this case, the Twitter community observed that the White House deficit call fails to notice that deficit spending has reached record highs under the Trump and Biden administrations, largely due to the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between fiscal years 2019 and 2021, federal spending increased about 50% due to pandemic-related legislation, according to the Treasury Department.
The deficit for fiscal 2020 was $3.13 trillion, followed by a deficit of $2.77 trillion for fiscal 2021. While the deficit for fiscal 2022 was $1.38 trillion — down nearly 50 percent % YoY – Biden’s government still has the fourth-largest budget deficit of all time.
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The national debt is more than $31.2 trillion, which is 121.51% of gross domestic product, a measure of the total value of goods and services in the US economy.
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This wasn’t the first time the White House has been flagged down by Twitter users for exaggerated claims.
Earlier this month, the White House deleted a tweet that credited Biden’s “leadership” with the “biggest increase” in Social Security payments in 10 years. Twitter users added that the increase in Social Security payments was “due to the annual cost-of-living adjustment based on the rate of inflation.”
Fox News’ Peter Kasperowicz contributed to this report.