FACT CHECK: Obama claims credit for an incomplete recovery

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Revmitchell, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. may not have "risen from recession" quite as rousingly as President Barack Obama suggested in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Seven years after that severe downturn began, household income hasn't recovered and healthy job growth is complicated by the poor quality, and pay, of many of those jobs.

    It's always problematic when a president takes credit for an improving economy, just as it is when he's blamed for things going bad. A leader can only do so much, for better or worse, and there are two sides to every economy. But after an election in which Obama largely held off on chest-beating, he claimed credit in bold terms for what is going right.

    Also in his speech, Obama skimmed over the cost to taxpayers of free community college tuition and invited closer scrutiny with his claims about U.S. support for Syrian moderates and about his record of public-lands preservation.

    A look at some of his claims, and the facts and the political climate behind them, as well as a glance at the Republican response:

    OBAMA:

    —"At this moment - with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production - we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth."

    THE FACTS: 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.

    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.


    More fact checking here:

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1800...check-obama-claims-credit-incomplete-recovery
     
  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    .....Claim 2: “Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.”

    Heritage’s Sherk writes:

    Obama touted the fact that unemployment has fallen to 5.6 percent. That’s good news. But he neglected to mention the fact that the proportion of Americans with jobs has changed little over his presidency. The vast majority of the improving unemployment picture comes from Americans dropping out of the labor force and no longer looking for work. In part that has to do with demographics—the ageing of the baby boomers means more retirees and thus fewer workers. But demographics only explain one-quarter of the drop in labor force participation. For many workers the economy offers less opportunity than it did before the recession. The official unemployment figures hide that fact.

    Claim 3: “This Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It’s 2015. It’s time.”

    Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia responds:

    Actually, Congress did pass such a law in 1963 and President John F. Kennedy signed it. It is called the Equal Pay Act and the country is 52 years into it. Now on to statistics. Based on previous remarks by the president, the gender wage gap is the basis for the president’s claim that women do not receive the same pay for the same work as men. Yet even that claim has little basis in reality. The president’s very own Labor Department concluded that “the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.” No thank you, Obama, we’re doing more than fine making our own choices without your misguided labor policies—they only promise to do more harm than good.

    Claim 4: “We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned.”

    Heritage’s Sherk:

    Obama proposed boosting wages by expanding overtime. He failed to mention that even economists close to his administration think it won’t work. When the government expands overtime businesses offset that cost with lower base wages. In the end, workers get essentially what they made before. Economists of all political stripes understand this. As Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Biden, wrote last year the argument that overtime raises wages: “erroneously assumes that the incidence falls on the employer, not the worker. Labor economists consistently assume otherwise—that the incidence falls on the worker—which in this case means that the wage offer reflects expected overtime hours.” Bernstein supports expanding overtime, but even he recognizes this will do little to help “families make ends meet.” It will effectively convert millions of salaried workers into hourly workers. Overtime eligible workers must log their hours. This makes it very hard for employers to give them workplace flexibility. If employers make a mistake tracking hours worked remotely they risk massive lawsuits. The president’s proposal would hurt many of the workers he wants to help.


    http://dailysignal.com/2015/01/21/f...-union/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social
     

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