8 inaccuracies, misleading statements, and bad ideas in the State of the Union Address


Last night, President Obama gave his first second-term State of the Union (SOT) address. (Check out the speech and transcript in full here.) The speech, which was like every other in recent history insofar as it was long on political talking points and short on an actual assessment of the nation’s “state,” had a number of inaccuracies in it. Below are a few:

1) President Obama said “In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year.” First, $1.2 trillion is not “about a trillion dollars’ worth” of spending. Second, the “cuts” are spread over a decade. Lastly, the President signed the sequester into law, and the White House invented the entire concept.

2) The President said “Most Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.” Actually, we can. Cutting hundreds of billions in unconstitutional programs, duplicative programs, and regulatory bureaucracies would allow America to flourish, especially since our debt-to-GDP ratio is so high.

3) “They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share.” This statement by the President promises a push for tax increases, which are very harmful to economic growth. Increased revenue from economic growth is the only acceptable way for federal tax revenue to increase, because people are earning more for their businesses and families. Otherwise, the government is merely taking your hard-earned money for its fiscally irresponsible coffers.

4) “Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” Roll eyes and move on. It’s hard to believe the President persists in this false claim.

5) “To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested, and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and the well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special interest tax breaks?” If the President really wants to close loopholes, why did he sign the fiscal cliff deal into law, which included over $60 billion in special interest tax loopholes and credits?

6) “So let’s set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let’s do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. (Applause.) The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. (Applause.) We can’t do it.” If the President and Congress had a balanced budget, the debt ceiling wouldn’t be an issue. The sequestration deadline would never have happened. And if the President’s allies in the Senate could actually get a budget passed, the “manufactured crisis” of continual partial-year budgets wouldn’t exist.

7) The President also kindly wants to give your money away. “Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates.” Yet, according to the President, prior to talking about this transfer of wealth, “Let me repeat — nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth. (Applause.) That’s what we should be looking for.”

It seems clear that expanding the role of the government in housing would increase the size of government and increase the deficit unless spending is cut elsewhere or taxes are raised. Considering the President’s unwillingness to cut spending, it’s pretty clear where his priorities would lie – hiking more taxes.

8) Apparently, the President doesn’t read the Tea Party Patriots blog. If he did, he would know his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour is a really bad idea for low-skilled workers.