Serial liar and conservative propagandist Sean Hannity had a rather embarrassing interaction with a real economist on his radio show yesterday, and was ruthlessly exposed for spreading false information about President Obama's economic record and the causes for the economic crash in 2008.
Austan Goolsbee, who formerly served as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and was the youngest member of President Obama's cabinet, went on Hannity's show and thoroughly dismantled the Fox News presenter's deeply misleading statements that he professes with the certainty of a True Believer. Goolsbee was efficient in destroying all of Hannity's arguments because he used the exact same statistics Hannity attempted to use to prove his point, putting them into historic context and proving the complete opposite. Check this interaction for example:
SEAN HANNITY: I don't want to dig up our old argument because you're going to make this ridiculous argument eight years into the Obama presidency that we have now millions of millions of people in poverty, more than were before he became president, millions more on food stamps, more than when he became president, a doubling of our national debt. He said nine trillion was irresponsible and unpatriotic. He'll leave 20 trillion in debt, 125 trillion in unfunded liabilities. And for some bizarre reason, and I don't know what the reason is, you're locked into believing that in spite of all this data that proves he failed, somehow you're going to claim he's an economic success. And I don't understand --
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I'm going to claim he's an economic success because -- look, we can argue about the first 18 months of his presidency and did he mess up, was it his fault, etc. But if you look at the last six years, every one of the measures you're describing have gotten substantially better. So our whole argument is just about why was it so bad in the first year and a half of this presidency.
HANNITY: George Bush's fault.
GOOLSBEE: Because even you would have to agree that --
HANNITY: Everything is George Bush's fault. I know. I get it. I understand that argument.
GOOLSBEE: I'm just saying, you have to admit, the last six years all of those measures have gotten better. So to compare to the day he took office is to say something about those first -- that first year and a half.
Later on, Hannity moved on to blaming the economic collapse on poor people and liberals who authored the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) -- a popular conservative meme that is easily debunked by the actual facts. The CRA encouraged commercial banks and saving associations to offer mortgages to low and moderate income neighborhoods and helped stop discriminatory credit practices against them. The act did not, however, encourage banks to make ludicrous loans to people without providing proof of income, and has historically had a very low default rate given the properties were bought in neighborhoods with low cost housing. There is also the fact that the majority of subprime mortgages were made by non-banks. As Goolsbee told Hannity:
Let me tell you one thing about the Community Reinvestment Act. It only applies to banks. Two-thirds of the subprime mortgages that you're talking about and the vast majority of the ones that blew up were made by non-banks. And the Community Reinvestment Act does not even apply to them. So when people say this thing about Community Reinvestment Act it drives me crazy because that's not who was making all of the crazy loans that you're talking about. There's no way that it was the CRA.
Hannity then attempted to completely change the subject, knowing full well he'd just been bitch slapped by someone who not only knew what they were talking about, but was not intimidated by his confident bluster. After all, conservatives don't do too well with reality given it almost always directly contradicts everything they believe in.