FACT CHECK: Obama Claims Credit for an Incomplete Recovery

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP Fact Check Obliterates Obama SOTU.

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 will also say that the United States is stopping the advance of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, but that the process will take time, and he will call on Congress to pass a resolution authorizing force against the group. “If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.

He drew a broad portrait of a liberal economic program that would take billions from the wealthiest Americans and use it to finance a long list of programs for the working and middle classes. “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?” Obama asked a joint session of Congress gathered in the Capitol where he took office exactly six years earlier. “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. 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.

Republicans, who took control of both chambers in November on a platform that included vows to cut spending, had rejected many of Obama’s proposals before he began speaking. “The American people aren’t demanding talking-point proposals designed to excite the base but not designed to pass,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “Challenge us with truly serious, realistic reforms that focus on growth and raising middle-class incomes – reforms that don’t just spend more money we don’t have.” “We heard the message you sent in November – loud and clear,” said Ernst, whose November victory helped Republicans take control of the Senate. “Now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.” Obama called for $320 billion in tax increases over the next 10 years, including fees on certain Wall Street companies, eliminating a “trust fund loophole” the White House says allows the super rich to pass on estates tax free, and raising the top tax on investment gains for the wealthy. Also in his speech, Obama skimmed over the cost to taxpayers of free community college tuition and invited closer scrutiny with his claims about U.S. support for Syrian moderates and about his record of public-lands preservation. 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.

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. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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. Military leaders, however, agree that coalition airstrikes and the military effort in Syria and Iraq have stopped the momentum of the Islamic State group, or ISIL, made it hard for the insurgents to communicate and travel, and hurt their oil revenues.

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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