FACT CHECK: Obama claims credit for an incomplete recovery

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP Fact Check Obliterates Obama SOTU.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. may not have “risen from recession” quite as rousingly as President Barack Obama suggested in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Seven years after that severe downturn began, household income hasn’t recovered and healthy job growth is complicated by the poor quality, and pay, of many of those jobs.

Obama urged Congress to raise taxes on the wealthy and spend the proceeds on helping middle-class Americans with a long list of new government help, including paid family leave, free community college, and new tax breaks for working couples and parents. “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?” Obama said in a text of his speech as prepared for delivery. “Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?” Speaking for the first time to a Congress that is now entirely Republican-led, Obama suggested ways he could work with the House of Representatives and the Senate, including on tax reform and trade. Tuesday’s speech capped a remarkably activist 11 weeks since Obama suffered the humiliation of Democratic losses that gave Republicans control of both chambers of Congress. But he also seized for himself — and presumably for 2016 Democrats — the banner of income inequality, arguing that while the U.S. economy is recovering and Wall Street is booming, the middle class still needs a boost.

He even followed on his historic decision last month to normalize ties with Cuba by calling on Congress to lift the economic embargo against the island. “In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. And while he offered a nod to bipartisanship on issues such as trade, he pushed a traditional Democratic economic agenda of tax increases for the rich, expanded paid leave for workers and increased aid for education. Instead, he brashly wagged his finger at his critics. “At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits,” he said. “Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years.” The White House is betting that by promoting the economic successes, Obama can boost his governing credibility. By laying credit at the doorstep of his own administration, Obama is looking to gain leverage over Republicans and weaken their resolve to undo his go-it-alone initiatives on immigration, climate change and Cuba.

In return, Obama proposed using the new tax revenues to make two years of community college free for students, tripling the child care tax credit to $3,000 per child, increasing the minimum wage, providing workers with paid leave and creating a second-earner tax credit of up to $500 for families. Obama’s speech came amid an uprising in Yemen, which Obama last year pointed to as a model of counterterrorism cooperation as he has resisted pressure to intervene militarily at flashpoints around the globe. Though he used the speech to formally ask Congress to authorize the use of force against the Islamic State, he stressed that the U.S. is not considering ground troops. “Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group,” Obama said. “This effort will take time.

Booming energy production is indeed a reality, but that’s a phenomenon many years in the making, with the development of cost-effective extraction from fracking and other means playing into the rise of the U.S. as an energy production giant. Gross was released last month as part of President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Raúl Castro’s government. “After years in prison, we’re overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs,” Obama said pointing him out in the audience. “Welcome home, Alan.” Gross wasn’t the only reminder about how U.S.

Many states refused to expand Medicaid under the health care law, for example, even though Washington is picking up the entire cost in the first years. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday showed Obama with an approval rating of 50 percent, the poll’s highest rating for the president in more than 18 months.

On the other hand, community college is an issue close to home for state government, perhaps more appealing than partnering with Washington on the health law, so the idea could have a fighting chance if it can get through Congress. Educators are divided on its merits, with some worrying that aid for a community college education could divert students and scholarships away from four-year schools. Before expanding the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument last year from almost 87,000 square miles to more than 490,000 square miles, Obama had protected far fewer acres than his four predecessors, including President George W. With her seven-year-old son in mind, she left her position at Florida International University last year to become the Florida coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force, the group that nominated her to attend. The president is seeking “trade promotion authority,” or the ability to negotiate trade deals that Congress can either approve or reject but not change.

While it bans commercial fishing, deep-sea mining and other extraction of underwater resources, little fishing or drilling occur in the mid-ocean region now. Hammer, who was born in Guatemala and moved to Miami in middle school, brought along her mother, who recently underwent a kidney transplant and marked five years of cancer survival. “For her to see her kids move ahead and make a difference in the world, she’s incredibly proud,” said Hammer, whose brother, the actor Oscar Sanchez, starred in the movie “Inside Llewyn Davis” and the upcoming “A Most Violent Year.” U.S. We know that more small-business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.” THE FACTS: A survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business does show that a rising proportion plans to raise wages.

Cuban opposition leader Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as Antúnez, and his wife, Yris Pérez Aguilera, among the more outspoken of Cuba’s dissidents, were guests of U.S. Republicans began the year by seeking to undo Obama’s immigration initiative, weaken provisions in the 2010 financial regulations law, and force approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. Economists generally expect wage gains to accelerate this year, as unemployment continues to fall and businesses are forced to offer higher pay to attract workers.

We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort.” THE FACTS: The U.S. also has been slow to set up long-promised training for the moderate Syrian opposition, and has yet to begin the actual vetting of the rebels. The share of Americans forgoing needed medical care because of cost is down significantly, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey, and fewer are struggling to pay medical bills. As for harm caused by lost insurance, many in Ernst’s party are intent on repealing the law, which would probably mean even more lost coverage, because many of the estimated 10 million uninsured people who have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act would no longer be able to afford their premiums.

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