Fact Checking The 2015 State Of The Union Address

I watched the 2015 State of the Union address by the president.

As usual, he was most eloquent in his delivery. He spoke mainly to those who support him; and who could blame him. It appears that the president's main supporters are more than willing to accept his spoken words at face value; no research, no checking facts, just blind acceptance. NOT a good thing.

However, as I listened, much of what he offered in the way of accomplishments and in what he offered for the future didn't exactly seem "on target" with the facts of the situation(s) as I understood them.

It could have been just me; so, I decided to do some "fact checking". Here are but a few items I found that were disingenuous - to be polite about it.

1. His statement: "..our deficits cut by two-thirds..".

And, it turns out that his statement here is pretty much correct - especially if one takes the word "our" to mean the president's own administration. However . . .

A slight pause here for something remedial: DEFICIT means spending more than income - or, you have to borrow money just to keep going.

Before presenting real data/facts, an analogy may help:

Assume I have a product I'm selling and I offer to the publich that I have reduced the price by 2/3. If I had previously tripled the price and then reduced the price by 2/3, I am now selling the item for more than my original price. Good marketing prehaps, but not too good for the consumer, obviously.

How is this analogy relevant? See the below chart.

When Bush #2 left office, that year's deficit was $459 Billion. In Obama's first year in office, the deficit was 1.413 TRILLION. That's tripling the deficit in 1 year. People will correctly argue that in that first year under Obama the country was operating under a "Bush Budget". True enough - but, that same budget was passed by Congress which was 100% controlled by the Democrats. Yes, Bush could have refused to sign it and cause the government to shut down. Not a viable option, to be certain.

So, at the end of 2014 the defict was $492 Billion - more than the deficit when he took office; i.e., $459 Billion. True, his administration has been reducing the deficit - ONLY after his own party tripled it.

Now, deficits (of course) lead to increased debt. The USA debt is now over 18 Trillion dollars. If the current trend continues, debt incurred under this president will exceed the debt incurred by all prior 43 presidents combined. See the below chart. He made no mention of financial debt in his speech.

Below are the deficits incurred by each administration since FDR. (If you don't care about seeing this, just scroll down to the next topic.)

2. His statement: "Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis."

Note: All data below comes from http://www.bls.gov - The Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor

The current unemployment rate is 5.6%. Not too bad considering the impact imposed by the financial crisis. However, consider:

The financial crisis began mid-2007. The unemployment rate at that time was 4.6% - clearly below 5.6%. The number of persons unemployed at that time was 7.1 million. The number of unemployed persons now is 8.7 million.

Well, OK, maybe he messed up on the percentages AND the higher number of unemployed now might be accounted for by the percentage error. Maybe! But, ...

The unemployment rates used by politicians of both parties "since time began" are bogus. Why? They ALL use the U3 rate vs. the U6 rate. What are these? Well, the official definitions may be found HERE.

But, from the "30,000 foot level" the U3 rate does NOT count anyone who could be employed but is not looking for work or who have "left the work force". The U6 rate includes such people. The U6 rate as of the end of last year was 11.1%.

Current estimates are that more than 92 million persons have "left the work force" and, therefore, are not included in the advertsised unemployment rate.

This chart from Forbes may shed some light on how employment has progressed overall:

3. His statement: "If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. "

His point on raising the minimum wage sounds reasonable on the surface. However, . . .

It stands to reason that if the cost of doing business increases due to forced wage increases, then the cost of what that business offers for sale must increase as well. Therefore, even though the minimum wage worker would have more money, the costs of everything they need to buy would have increased as well. So, they would be no better off than before the increase.

Second, the vast majority of minimum wage earners are between the ages of 16 and 24 and do not have families. By the president's own words he often used the term "working families" - implying (correctly) that both people in a committed relationship, with or without children, must be employed in today's economy. Therefore, even 2 minimum wage workers living togather, both working, are making around $30,000 a year. Still pretty darned low for what is needed. But, virtually no one is raising a family, by themselves, on mimimum wages alone.

In fact, 109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded "means-tested programs" ó also known as welfare as of the end of 2012. Further, the 109,631,000 living in households taking federal welfare benefits as of the end of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time.

4. His statement: "..for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America - by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year."

Aside from the fact of who is going to pay for this - remember the government operates via debt just to stay open.

As most of us are aware, upwards of 50% of the US population pays no income tax. Mostly because these people don't make enough money to actually owe tax. Now, this "up to $3,000" is mainly geared toward those of lower/lowest income levels. The way it works (really!) is that these people actually receive tax dollars rather than paying taxes. This occurs via the Earned Income Credit (EIC) part of our tax code.

People of the poorer strata, on average, have 2.24 children per family; non-poor families have 1.79 children. So, with this "suggested" change to the tax code, poorer families, on average, will receive an additional $6,700 (after tax) income yearly.

Again, let's forget for a moment who is paying for it - we all know the answer to that. There is a more significant issue.

This new "benefit" is a deterent to bringing oneself out of poverty. If one is at the poverty level and truly desires to rise above that financially, one has to be able to find work that pays them an additional, after tax dollars of $6,700 just to "break even". Pretty tough these days, I'm guessing.

So, to feed one's family one is better off staying at the poverty level, staying on welfare, etc.

This appears to me to be a "plan" to keep the poorest among us "down home on the farm" - or, being dependant on the government for almost everything. Since the correct perception is that Republicans' view is that individual responsibility is the way to succeed and not government handouts, these folks receiveing the "government benefits" will vote for the Democrat Party, not the Republicans.

It's all about power and control - pure and simple.

5. His statements: "So letís set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline." and "..we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as weíve been in almost 30 years."

The president, of course, is referring to the Keystone Pipeline which he has stonewalled since it was first proposed. We are truly freer from foreign oil than before. But, this is in spite of the president and his administration. Oil production in this country is UP some 63% on "private land" and DOWN some 6% on federal land. "Use permits" have been held up for federal land's use for oil by this administration. Without private entrepreneurs this country would be in dire straights re: energy availability.

6. His statements: "My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. " and "In Iraq and Syria, American leadership - including our military power - is stopping ISILís advance."

My thoughts on his speech in this area were that he just had to be "putting us on". If he is truly being honest with the American people and truly believes what he is doing is best for the Nation, then he is the most ill equipped, ignorant, and spineless Commander and Chief this country has even endured. He will not even acknowledge that Radical Islamic Terrorism is the root cause of most of the terror acts across the globe. However, if he is not being honest with the American people, then more - much more - serious considerations should be entertained.

His rhetoric will only allow him the use of the term "violent extremism". There possible a reason for this. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides definitions relating to "violent extremism". To see my offering on this most informative and deceptive use of terms by the DHS, Click here. Hint: these definitions do not include international terrorism, Islamic Jihad, or anything similar.

It is widely reported (if one looks) that our military, our intel community, our international friends and enemies all regard this president as "weak". Not good for us, to be sure. By the way, don't look for a strategy for dealing with Islamic terrorism - there appears to be none.

There are so many instances in his speech that are frought with mis-directs, obfuscations, and out-and-out falsehoods, I could go on forever. However, I elected to end this fact checking exercise when I learned of an interview the president was granting.

With all that I've brought forth above (and so much more), it would seem reasonable that a qualified journalist would ask for an interview with the president to obtain clarification or expansion of what he said. After all, it was just a speech.

Well, the president has granted an interview. The person conducting the interview is what stopped me in my tracks, leaving me in total disgust.

Take a look at a highy abbreviated video of this person. NO, THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!!!

Not just God Bless America, but GOD HELP AMERICA NOW!!!

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UPDATE: Picture taken during the actual interview: