Friday, January 29, 2010

Fact Check: Obama State of the Union Address

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The Cato Institute did some fact checking, and in addition to Obama's foreign corporations remark that made Justice Alito's head shake, it turns out that the State of the Union speech was filled with a few more untruths.

When Obama said that in regards to the stimulus, "Economists on the left and the right say that this bill has helped saved jobs and avert disaster," it turns out that is not completely true. More than 300 economists (Nobel laureates among them) signed a statement saying a massive government spending package was among the worst available options.

When Obama said, "We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers." It turns out he was not exactly accurate on that one either. After all, he failed to note that more than 40 percent of Americans pay no federal incomes taxes and the administration has simply increased subsidy checks to this group. Obama’s refundable tax credits are unearned subsidies, not tax cuts.

When Obama said, "Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years," he not only contradicted what he said during the campaign a year before when McCain was suggesting the same strategy, but also Obama's idea of a spending freeze is hardly one. The proposed spending freeze covers just 13 percent of the total federal budget, and indeed doesn’t limit the fastest growing components such as Medicare. The freeze also doesn’t cover the massive spending under the stimulus bill, most of which hasn’t occurred yet.

When Obama said his administration has created jobs, saying ". . .there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed," he is partially right, and partially lying. Yes, jobs were created, but in the public sector. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has lost 2.7 million jobs since the stimulus passed and 3.4 million total since Obama was elected. More private sector jobs has been lost than government jobs have been added - so how is that creating jobs? Besides, the government doesn't create jobs. Government employees do not create anything. Economies get moving when manufacturing is producing. Without a turn around in the private sector job market, we will continue to be in trouble, no matter how many times Obama lies about creating jobs.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

State of the Union Fact Check - Cato at Liberty

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