Truth Test: Scott & Crist political ads on the recession

CREATED Feb. 4, 2014

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If you've spent any time watching TV lately, you know it's political ad season.
And the fight for the governor's office is getting heated, with the first attack ads from both sides.

This set of political ads centers on the recession of 2008. The Republican Party of Florida seemingly blaming former Governor Charlie Crist.  Crist's answers with, "It wasn't me, it was guys like Governor Scott." One economist says, you might not like the real answer.

The Republic Party of Florida spent more than six figures to place its ad, Run Away, which starts:  
"800,000 jobs lost, property values down, bankruptcies up, more foreclosures than any state."

Charlie Crist took office in 2007. The recession happened in 2008. 

The ad continues: "Which governor took Florida to the bottom?  Charlie Crist."

But can we blame Crist for the down turn? Economics scholar, Dr. Brad Hobbs says the candidates pointing fingers over who caused the recession is just wrong. 

"I don't think Charlie Crist had much to do with that. The ads are not truthful. To pick out one group and vilify them or blame them for it, I think is disingenuous on both sides," says Hobbs.

Charlie Crust answers: "Rick Scott is blaming me for the financial crisis? That's ridiculous." 

"There's a lot of blame to go around. One is regulations designed to increase home ownership, which started to be actively enforced more than 30 years ago," says Hobbs. "As a result of that, the banks started to make loans to people who didn't have enough down payment or didn't have enough credit history to buy a home. Then the Federal Reserve, the country's central bank,  lowered interest rates in the early 2000s, making it really cheap to borrow money," Hobbs continues to explain. 

Crist's ad goes on to say: "Here's the truth: the recession wasn't caused by me or by you."

But that's not true either. Hobbs says people started to use their homes as ATMs, taking out equity as home prices rose unsustainable until it all came crashing down in 2008. 

Hobbs said, "People were not prudent. They borrowed too money against a home."  Fox 4 asked, "So we're to blame for the recession."  Hobbs said, "I think to some extent we are to blame."

Crist goes on to say, Wall Street and guys like Rick Scott caused the recession.
But our economist says that's not true either. Again, it took many decades and many players to crash the economy six years ago.