Washington Post Factchecker Glenn Kessler has become increasingly non-partisan in his assessment of political decsption since the sheen fell off of Barack Obama. He’s not there yet, but increasingly Kessler has refused to pull his punches regarding the President’s habitual dissembling. Although he did not give out any of his trademark “Pinocchios” for the biggest whoppers in Tuesday’s State of the Union message (ah, for the days when a blunt President Ford had the integrity to say, “The State of the Union is not good!”) because, well, he just doesn’t on the State of the Union, okay?—Kessler did point out six significant examples of deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation:
I. “The more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.”
Classic deceit. Kessler notes, “since the start of his Presidency, about 3.2 million jobs have been created (not “more than 8 million”), and the number of jobs in the economy still is about 1.2 million lower than when the recession began in December 2007.” There has been a gain of about 8 million private sector jobs since the low point in 2009, though adding government jobs to the total reduces it to 7.6 million. Notice that the President is doing exactly what his pro-climate change supporters correctly accuse the anti-climate change skeptics of doing with global warming statistics: cherry picking a starting point that misrepresents the nature of the whole. In global warming wars, this means picking the hottest year within memory and arguing that it hasn’t gotten hotter in the 15 years since then. Obama picked his jobs year low point to make his jobs record look artificially good.
II. “A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.”
Same trick here! Kessler explains,
“The low point for manufacturing jobs was reached in January 2010, and there has been a gain of 570,000 jobs since then. But BLS data show that the number of manufacturing jobs is still 500,000 fewer than when Obama took office in the depths of the recession — and 1.7 million fewer than when the recession began in December 2007. The gain in manufacturing actually has begun to stall a bit in the past year. The only reason Obama can tout a gain in manufacturing jobs “for the first time since the 1990s” is because, before the recession, manufacturing had been on a slow decline for many years.”
III “Our deficits — cut by more than half.”
ARRRGH!!!! This one again! Kessler: “The United States still has a deficit higher than it was in nominal terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product than it was in 2008 and a debt much greater as a percentage of the overall economy than it was prior to the recession.”
IV. “Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”
Oops! Kessler notes that Obama pulled back from the talking point that economic mobility was “declining” in the United States. Why? Renowned economists Raj Chetty, Emmanuel Saez and colleagues published a paper based on tens of millions of tax records that proved fairly conclusively that upward mobility in the U.S. is essentially is the same as it was 20 years ago. This is still deceit, as the President wants everyone to think it has “stalled” recently, “stalled” being obviously worse than “getting better every year.” I guess he should get some credit for not lying outright.
V. “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”
There’s an embarrassment all right: the embarrassment is that the President of the United States is still pushing this phony, old, misleading and invalid figure decades after it has been thoroughly debunked as a junk stat. Doing his part to kill a NOW enabled lie that is harder to kill than Dracula, Kessler writes:
“Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis surveyed economic literature and concluded that “research suggests that the actual gender wage gap (when female workers are compared with male workers who have similar characteristics) is much lower than the raw wage gap.” They cited one survey, prepared for the Labor Department, which concluded that when such differences are accounted for, much of the hourly wage gap dwindled, to about 5 cents on the dollar.”
VI. “More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.”
We all knew that there would be an Obamacare lie, right? “Obama carefully does not say these numbers are the result of the Affordable Care Act, but he certainly leaves that impression, ” says Kessler….
“But the Medicaid part of this number — 6.3 million from October through December — is very fuzzy and once earned a rating of Three Pinocchios. The ACA expanded Medicaid to those who earn less than 133 percent of the poverty line — about $15,000 for an individual — to 26 states (and the District) that decided to embrace that element of the law. But no one really knows how many of the 6.3 million are in this expansion pool — or whether they are simply renewing or would have qualified for Medicaid before the new law. Indeed, the number also includes people joining Medicaid in states that chose not accept the expansion.The private insurance numbers — about 3 million — are also open to question. The troubled federal exchange counts people as enrolled if an individual has selected a plan, but it does not know if a person enrolled and paid a premium because that part of the system has yet to be built.”
These are substantial misrepresentations. Did the network TV coverage inform viewers about them—that the President of the United States, giving his one traditional overview of the nation’s status and progress, intentionally misled them? No. Why does the public tolerate that?
Facts: Washington Post