Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has made quite a career out of talking politics since leaving Congress. But his public appearances, books and political commentaries are filled with statements that do not necessarily reflect reality.
PolitiFact.com put together a long list of Gingrich’s less-than-accurate statements. For example, in a campaign announcement video released on May 11, Gingrich said, “For four years, we balanced the budget and paid off $405 billion in debt.”
PolitiFact.com rates this statement as “False,” saying, “The federal government did run four consecutive surpluses, but for the last two of those — fiscal years 2000 and 2001 — Gingrich was no longer serving in the House,” and “If you look just at the two years Gingrich can claim credit for where the federal government was in surplus — fiscal years 1998 and 1999 — the government did pay down about $200 billion in debt. But that would be cherry-picking, because over the full four years of his speakership, the debt rose by about $800 billion.”
In the same video, Gingrich said that “unemployment came down from 5.6 percent to under 4 (percent)” during his time as Speaker of the House.
The site says that this statement is also “False,” because “the unemployment rate didn’t fall below 4 percent until September 2000, which was 21 months (after Gingrich resigned). The lowest the unemployment rate fell during Gingrich’s time as speaker was in April 1998, when it was 4.3 percent.”
In an April 2010 speech to Southern Republican Leadership, Gingrich, a former history professor, claimed that when the United States “first created the federal income tax, frankly, nobody below a million dollars a year paid anything.”
Again, this statement is “False.” “According to an online Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, the 1913 equivalent of $1 million in today’s money was $45,677,” says PolitiFact.com. “Joint filers earning between $4,000 and $45,677 were liable for the federal income tax — at either the 1 percent or 2 percent level — but were less affluent than a ‘millionaire’ in today’s dollars, which was Gingrich’s cutoff point. The fact that these Americans paid taxes make (sic) Gingrich’s comment wrong on its face.”