Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address joined his other public remarks as an exercise in virtual reality. In addition to its jaundiced view of the free market and overly rosy view of the present economic crisis, his speech contained a number of factual errors, misleading statements, and outright lies.
1. “The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.”
Barack Obama took pains to present himself as a foreign policy success, the president who “got” bin Laden, ended the war in Iraq, and is winding down the conflict in Afghanistan. Far from gaining momentum, though, the Obama administration is negotiating with elements of the Taliban now – the moderate, “secular” Taliban, no doubt – even offering to release Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay, to extricate ourselves from eleven years of nation-building in the Muslim world, the fruits of which will crumble into dust the moment we are no longer present to enforce compliance. A recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) states, after the U.S. pullout, the Taliban will control large areas of the Afghan countryside, where the U.S.-sponsored government has never made headway.
2. In his brief reference to ObamaCare, he said: “our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program.”
ObamaCare requires all Americans to be covered by health insurance by August 2014, whether through private insurers or the government. (The individual mandate fines those who opt not to pursue either option.) Half of the 34 million uninsured to be added to the rolls will be enrolled in Medicaid, at taxpayer expense and under government control.
3. “Women should earn equal pay for equal work.”
A 2010 survey of 2,000 communities found young, unmarried women earn an average of eight percent more than young men – in some cities 20 percent more than their male counterparts. The remaining “disparities” largely derive from comparing apples to oranges. Women, who often take maternity leave and otherwise tend to the home, regularly put in fewer hours and hence receive less pay and fewer promotions than more dedicated employees. Even these disparities will likely disappear as women continue to outpace men in higher education.
4. “Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.”
Obama’s policies have increased the national deficit more than nearly all his predecessors combined, and there is no indication his spending habits will change. Earlier this month, he asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion; the House shot him down. Increasing the deficit differs substantially from increasing the deficit.
5. “We lost four million jobs before I came into office, and four million more before our policies took full effect.”
In fact, the nation shed four million jobs — actually, more than four million — over the first nine months of the Obama administration, long after the official “end” of the recession. That is eight months after his $1 trillion stimulus bill passed. Obama later claimed job losses proved his stimulus plan worked.
That’s four million jobs lost on Obama’s watch and three million created.
6. “On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen….Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories.”
Ford has indeed produced a success story. It also refused to receive any bailout money. Thanks to the government-arranged restructuring of which Obama boasts, Fiat, an Italian company, will own a majority share of General Motors. Ford’s American success story has nothing to do with Obama’s policies, while his plans for GM assure it is no longer an American auto manufacturer.
7. “It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no cop-outs.”
Former New Mexico governor and jilted Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson wrote, “Only in the twilight zone that is Washington could a president who has bailed out and stimulated our economy to death stand in the Capitol and declare there should be ‘no bailouts, no handouts, and no cop-outs’. Can anyone spell GM or TARP or Solyndra?”
8. Obama said politicians need to “lower the temperature in this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction.”
So said the man who promised “hand-to-hand combat” against Republicans.
9. “A world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one.”
This would come as news to China and, in some respects, Russia. Instead of a tight embargo, the United States and Israel are apparently engaged in a low-level war with Iran, arranging or tacitly approving the assassination of its nuclear scientists.
Given the numerous factual inaccuracies, members of Congress showed remarkable restraint. None shouted, “You lie!” this year. Out loud.
It seems the smartest person was Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO, who chose not to attend.