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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fact Checkers Nail Obama On His SOTU 2013 Spinning Of Facts

By Susan Duclos

Washington Post's The Fact Checker and Fact have already starting picking through Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union address and have detailed some of the spinning of numbers and facts that Obama's speechwriter produced.

Starting with Wapo's The Fact Checker:

Here is a guide through some of President Obama’s more fact-challenged claims

Obama's Jobs Spin:

“After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs.”
The president is cherry-picking a number that puts the improvement in the economy in the best possible light. The low point in jobs was reached in February 2010, and there has indeed been a gain of about 6 million jobs since then, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the data also show that since the start of his presidency, about 1.2 million jobs have been created—and the number of jobs in the economy is about 3.2 million lower than when the recession began in December,2007.

“After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three.”
Obama again is cherry-picking a jobs number. The low point for manufacturing jobs was reached in January 2010, and so there has been a gain of 500,000 jobs since then. But BLS data show that the number of manufacturing jobs is still 600,000 fewer than when Obama took office in the depths of the recession—and 1.8 million fewer than when the recession began in December, 2007.

Obama's Deficit Spin:

“Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.”
This is debatable, depending on how you do the numbers. Many budget analysts do measure the decline in deficits from August 2010—which was a high point for spending—and Obama’s figure is derived from that date. (He also adds in interest savings from reducing anticipated debts, which is different than actually cutting spending or adding revenue.)

But agreement starts to break down quickly about the $4 trillion goal, which translates to just $1.5 trillion in additional work. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, in a recent report, argued that $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years has been enacted so far, including tax increases, but that another $2.4 trillion was needed to reduce ratio of debt-to-gross-domestic-product to 70 percent. The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues instead that $1.5 trillion is needed to achieve a 73-percent ratio. Those numbers could have real world consequences for government programs.

Obama's Foreign Oil Claims:

“We buy … less foreign oil than we have in twenty [years].”
This claim lacks context. The Energy Department has cited a host of reasons why foreign oil imports have declined, noting the main reason was “a significant contraction in consumption” because of the poor economy and changes in efficiency that began “two years before the 2008 crisis” — in other words, before Obama took office.

 Read more over at The Fact Checker.

Fact Check org covers the deficit and manufacturing jobs claims, but also they delve into Obama's spin on Obamacare and gasoline.

He claimed that “we have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas.” Actual mileage is improving, but Obama’s “doubled” claim refers to a desired miles-per-gallon average for model year 2025.

Obama said the Affordable Care Act “is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” It may be helping, but the slower growth for health care spending began in 2009, before the law was enacted, and is due at least partly to the down economy.

That is from their summary, readers can click over to read the detailed explanations.