The State of “The State of the Union”

A fact check of President Trump’s State of the Union Address

Reed Wahington

The news is filling with reports of hilariously petty interactions between President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, however, beyond that it is important to think critically about claims made during the approximately hour and a half address to the entirety of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and the majority of the executive branch.

To begin with the president claimed on multiple occasions that jobs were “booming”, however, how booming was it? In 2018 and 2019 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported job growth of 4.8 million jobs, while this may seem like alot this is compared to 5.7 million jobs created in 2014 and 15 during the Obama administration. While unemployment rates were down from 2018, particularly with young people, may suggest an increase in economic hardship as opposed to an increase in availability of jobs.

The president also enjoyed touting a decrease in people on welfare programs for example food stamps as a way to say that the economy was booming however, this is more likely caused by the change in policy that disqualified over 600 million people from food stamps, as reported on by NBC News, as well as similar reportings from FOX Business about the welfare program. Meaning people weren’t “Lifted off of welfare” as Trump claims but rather forced out.

Furthermore, while I am confident that at least some of the presidents statistics claiming an increase in wages and government spending of historic levels are true they fail to account for inflation. Anyone can tout that they are spending more money and twist it to seem like a good thing however spending has increased because the value of money has decreased.

One of the more shocking claims of the evening was President Trump calling for Congress to pass nationwide school choice legislation because “American children have been trapped in failing government schools”, however, his administration has done little if anything to help uplift public school systems. Does the leader of a nation not hold the responsibility to help uplift public school systems, or at least work with the states to enact legislation that would, or have we settled to allowing the man who oversees the entire nation to claim that we should abandon the school system.

Of course one big topic was healthcare and pharmaceuticals, making the claim that “We have approved a record number of affordable generic drugs, and medicines are being approved by the F.D.A. at a faster clip than ever before”. While that claim is true, it isn’t necessarily a good thing, drugs being approved by the FDA, Food and Drug Administration, faster is that medicines are not doing going through as thorough trial periods and regulations have been weakened. Finally for the most outlandish claim of the evening the president said, “I’ve also made an ironclad pledge to American families: We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” this after the presidents repeated attempts to take insurance off of healthcare for preexisting conditions. Newsweek reported that, on various occasions, Trump has tried to undo the current legislation protecting those with pre-existing conditions as part of his vendetta against The Affordable Care Act.

Through all the boos and applause, publicity stunts, and the degrading of the country’s highest civilian honors it is important to pick out the lies and misinterpreted statistics that plagued the state of the union, a speech that deserved to be ripped in half.