State of the Union Address Contained Falsehoods

No one will be shocked to learn that President Obama told untruths in the State of the Union address.


More than one mainstream media outlet has pointed out to various false statements in Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address.

While Obama boasted on giving us a healed economy by his miraculous powers, the Associated Press disagreed that it was going so well: “FACT CHECK: Obama claims credit for an incomplete recovery

By many measures, the economy is still recovering from the deep scars left by the Great Recession.

Job growth has been healthy, but fueled in part by lower-paying jobs in areas such as retail and restaurants, which have replaced many higher-paying positions in manufacturing and construction. Part-time jobs also remain elevated: There are still 1.7 million fewer workers with full-time jobs than when the recession began in December 2007.

And the faster hiring hasn’t pushed up wages much. They have been growing at a tepid pace of about 2 percent a year since the recession ended 5 1/2 years ago. That’s barely ahead of inflation and below the annual pace of about 3.5 percent to 4 percent that is typical of a fully healthy economy.

That has left the income of the typical household below its pre-recession level. Inflation-adjusted median household income reached $53,880 in November 2014, according to an analysis of government data by Sentier Research. That is about 4 percent higher than when it bottomed out in 2011. But it is still 4.5 percent lower than the $56,447 median income in December 2007, the month the recession began.

We can add to that fact that this “recovery” has already lasted longer than it should. We are due for another recession of some size. So it will likely get worse.

On the other hand, there is one major bit of good news that might help the economy: the price of fuel. Naturally, President Obama is pretending to take credit for that. But the AP is wonderful on the issue:

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.

By any real economic analysis the President that did the most to create America’s domestic energy capacity was George W. Bush—but not in a way that many of us would praise him for. By pursuing a world strategy that drove up the price of oil, Bush sparked a surge of investment and innovation as people tried to find new sources of fuel. These investments became financially attractive because of what we were willing to pay for energy. Those investments eventually succeeded so powerfully that the investors themselves might view them as a failure. They massively drove down the price of oil.

This is better news than anything Obama claimed: normal market forces and people acting spontaneously and freely eroded and overturned the status quo of high oil prices. Obama can try to pose as our savior, be we should all know he is claiming credit for what we did for ourselves.