FACT CHECK: Obama and the phantom peace dividend
President Barack Obama laid claim to a peace dividend that doesn’t exist when he told the nation he wants to use money saved by ending wars to build highways, schools and bridges.
The wars were largely financed by borrowing, so there is no ready pile of cash to be diverted to anything else.
The claim was one of several by Obama in his acceptance speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., and by Vice President Joe Biden in earlier remarks that did not match the facts. A look at some of their assertions:
OBAMA: “I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges, schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.”
THE FACTS: The idea of taking war savings to pay for other programs is budgetary sleight of hand, given that the wars were paid for with increased debt. Obama can essentially “pay down our debt,” as he said, by borrowing less now that war is ending. But he still must borrow to do the “extra nation-building” he envisions.