President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address included few new or unexpected proposals, but many factually incorrect or misleading assertions. Here are the lowlights.
“Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.” Wages and incomes may not always be the best measurement, because they leave out benefits, which have increased overall compensation over several decades. Regardless, Obama chose his timeframe carefully, because over the past four years, middle class income has actually declined.
“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.” Obama is referring to the sequester. He omits the fact that he (or his White House) proposed the sequester, and he personally signed it, with the hope of using it to push Republicans into passing higher tax rates on high earners.
“Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.” Both Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Read have used this claim, but it’s not true. As FactCheck.org noted recently, the figure includes over $1 trillion in spending cuts that “have yet to materialize.” It also includes $500 billion in projected reduced interest–not spending cuts or tax increases–and deficits remain high.