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The GNA Insider

Fact checking the “State of the Union” address Part 1

Liam Carcieri, Student Writer

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On Tuesday, January 30th, President of the United States, Donald J. Trump delivered his very first “State of the Union” address. The “State of the Union” address, or some version of it, has existed since President Washington and, especially in recent years, has become an incredibly political event. This address has held true to that trend and is very political, pushing the President’s agenda.

The speech opens with the lines “Less than one year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.” Personally, I have seen very little optimism for Trump’s administration outside of his shrinking base of supporters. The atmosphere in this nation is incredibly polarized, and it’s hard to see how anyone can be optimistic about anything concerning the government. Republicans say the Democrats are blocking their every move and keeping them from getting anything done and the Democrats say the same about Republicans.

The next few paragraphs of the speech recount the tragedies, natural disasters and shootings, that took place during the early months of Trump’s administration and the heroes who rose to be instrumental in recovering. Trump also says, “To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else- we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.” While it is a lovely sentiment, the Trump administration has been specifically criticized for its slow response to the hurricane which left 95% of Puerto Rico without power.

Trump specifically makes the claim that “we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,00 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.” According to an article from Forbes ( https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2018/01/06/president-trumps-first-year-of-job-growth-was-below-president-obamas-last-six-years/#6eb2d4b25ab2), only 2.06 million jobs have been added in the last year. The same Forbes article says that wage growth is actually comparable to the past 9 years, but they do project that average wages will start to increase, at least maybe once the tax cuts are implemented. President Trump also states that “unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low” While the unemployment rate is indeed low, resting at 4.1%, it has been lower well within the 45-year period given by the president: according, again, to this Forbes article, unemployment was down to 3.9% during December of 2000.

Next, President Trump claims that his tax reforms are the “biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.” According to this article from the BBC, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42429424, these are only the largest tax reforms since 1986.

After discussing taxes, the President says “I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have.” Immediately, Donald Trump makes the claim that “faith and family, not government and bureaucracy are the center of American life. Our motto is “In God we Trust”.” However, according to https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/way-more-americans-may-be-atheists-than-we-thought/ , 10 to 25 percent of the American population do not believe in a god. On top of that “In God we Trust” has only been used on our currency since 1956. Faith is certainly important in the lives of many Americans, but there is a significant portion who do not believe in god or do not identify with any major religion, and a republic is meant to represent all of its voters.

From there, President Trump notes how he has appointed more circuit court judges than any other administration in history. This is partially accurate, but not entirely so. According to http://time.com/5066679/donald-trump-federal-judges-record/ , Trump did definitely break the record for most appointments in the first year, beating out Kennedy and Nixon by one year. However, there is a record of only the first year, not the entire administration.

Trump soon also claims “We have ended the war on American Energy and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.” I would not attribute the success of the American energy industry to this administration. According to https://seekingalpha.com/article/4148216-u-s-energy-production-exports-surge, American energy exports have grown incredibly in years that were not under the Trump administration. From 2000 to 2016, exports went from 380 million barrels to 1.9 billion. Those years were covered in equal parts by the Bush and Obama administrations. The differences in economic policy between those two administrations and the fact that the industry grew despite that tells me that the administration, any administration, does not have such a drastic effect on the industry that they can claim responsibility for its growth or recession.

Trump says that “one of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs” and “That is why I have directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities” Whether or not this is completely true, I can’t say- I’m many things, but a psychic is not among them. I can, however, say that it will be incredibly difficult for the administration to pursue this goal. The pharmaceuticals lobby is very influential in Washington and is notorious for making regulating their industry a herculean task.

(End of part 1)

 

 

About the Writer
Liam Carcieri, Student Writer
My name is Liam Carcieri. This is my junior year and second year of writing for “The GNA Insider.” I am a dual enrollment student and a member of the Upward Bound program. I do fencing, love to study history, and enjoy listening to classical music. I hope that I, and my articles, can live...
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Fact checking the “State of the Union” address Part 1