When U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his final, 58-minute-and-40-second-long State of the Union address Tuesday night – the 16th longest in history – he devoted nearly six minutes to claims that the U.S. economy has become more robust than ever under his tenure.
We're not buying it.
We haven't forgotten when, in July, the number of layoffs reached the highest level in four years – 125% higher than the same period a year before. And we remember in October, when Forbes reported the sad state of the oil industry. More than 200,000 oil jobs were lost in the sector worldwide last year.
Here are the mistruths our Commander-in-Chief uttered about the state of the U.S. economy last night…
A Fact Check of the President's Economic Claims in SOTU 2016
What the president said in SOTU: President Obama started out with jobs – an interesting choice considering jobs have been one of the darkest spots for the U.S. economy since the 2008 financial crisis.
But, laced with embellishment and omissions, his numbers did sound inspiring:
Additionally, the number is only since job losses hit bottom in February 2010 – the net gain in total employment since he was first elected is 9.3 million. The president failed to mention that more than 4 million jobs were lost in the first 13 months of his presidency. He also didn't count losses of state and local government jobs.
As to "an unemployment rate cut in half," that's only true if measured from the lowest point of his presidency in October 2009, when unemployment was 10%. FactCheck points out the jobless rate was actually 7.8% when he took office. It fell to 5% in December, for a 2.8% drop – so not even close to "cut in half." (Not to mention, we know the government's unemployment numbers are questionable in the first place – Gallup CEO Jim Clifton outted them as "a Big Lie" in a Feb. 3, 2015, op-ed.)
What the president said in SOTU: The next blatant omission changes the president's claim that manufacturing jobs drastically grew in his tenure. The president noted that the economy has added nearly 900,000 manufacturing jobs "in the past six years":
What the president said in SOTU: President Obama's claim we've cut our deficits "by almost three-quarters" is fuzzy math:
"It is true that Obama's 2015 budget deficit was about 25% of his 2010 deficit. But he referred to 'deficits,' plural. Until last year, all of Obama's deficits were worse than all of Bush's deficits except for the last two… He spent staggering amounts of money in his first months in office – which he assigns, dishonestly, to the previous fiscal year, under George W. Bush. He 'cut' (i.e. spent more gradually) from that spending, but only under protest, after Republicans took the House in 2010."
FactCheck further illuminates that the president's claim ignores his own contribution to the record 2009 deficit:
"As we've shown before, Obama's early initiatives increased FY 2009 spending – and thus the deficit – by as much as $203 billion. So his claim to have reduced the deficit by three-quarters is akin to a merchant who raises his price one day and declares '75% off' the next."
How the Fed Killed the Housing Market: Don't believe the headlines – there is no housing recovery in the United States. In fact, the Fed's disastrous zero-interest-rate policy has all but decimated the single-family housing industry. These five charts illustrate exactly how damaging that monetary policy has been…
- FactCheck.org: FactChecking the State of the Union
- Breitbart: Fact Check: Top 10 Lies in Obama's State of the Union