Snow jobs and minimum honesty: Fact-check roundup on SOTU

posted at 9:21 am on January 29, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Usually after the State of the Union, we’d feature a media fact check to see where spin crossed the line in the presidential address into “You lie!” territory. Perhaps because Barack Obama managed to “win” Politifact’s Lie of the Year in 2013, we have a few media outlets on the case today — the Associated Press, Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post, and Politico all got rapid research completed overnight. What nuggets did they find?

OBAMA: “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”

The AP and Kessler picked up on this one, while Politico never bothers to mention anything on the core issue of Obama’s speech. Kessler throws a flag on this one:

Close readers of the president’s speeches might have noticed an interesting shift in the president’s rhetoric. Just in December the president gave a speech on economic mobility in which he three times asserted that it was “declining” in the United States. But earlier this month, renowned economists  Raj Chetty, Emmanuel Saez and colleagues published a paper based on tens of millions of tax records showing that upward mobility had not changed significantly over time. The rate essentially is the same now as it was 20 years ago.

The AP is a little more direct:

The most recent evidence suggests that mobility hasn’t worsened. A team of economists led by Harvard’s Raj Chetty released a study last week that found the United States isn’t any less socially mobile than it was in the 1970s. Looking at children born between 1971 and 1993, the economists found that the odds of a child born in the poorest 20 percent of families making it into the top 20 percent hasn’t changed.

Next, we have the ObamaCare defense:

Obama: “More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.”

All three media outlets dinged this claim. Politico says that the President is “technically” correct, but Kessler reminds readers that Obama has lied about this before. “Obama carefully does not say these numbers are the result of the Affordable Care Act,” Kessler writes, “but he certainly leaves that impression. 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.” All three note, as the AP does, that “it’s not known how many of those who signed up for private coverage were previously insured.” One insurer says that figure is 89%, which means only a small number of the uninsured have been added net to the insured rolls.

Obama: “I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you should not have to live in poverty.”

Politico and the AP both hit this claim. The contract requirement won’t start until next year, and it only applies to new contracts. Both also note that “his ability to act unilaterally on this point is very limited as most employees of federal contractors make well over $10 an hour.” The AP also point out that this won’t be added to renewed contracts, so the actual impact of this will approach nil.

OBAMA: “We’ll need Congress to protect more than 3 million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer.  But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.”

Only the AP points out that the “shovel-ready” argument still lives, in concept if not in name. The problem now isn’t so much red tape as it is funding, and Obama can’t do that on his own. Obama wants a tax hike on businesses to extend this work that even Democrats are probably wanting to avoid in an election year.

“A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.”

Kessler’s the only one to notice this:

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.

He’s also the only one to notice this on jobs:

“The more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.”

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 8 million jobs since then, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the data also show that since the start of his presidency, about 3.2 million jobs have been created — and the number of jobs in the economy still is about 1.2 million lower than when the recession began in December 2007.

Let me provide the final fact check on this point, from my post-speech reaction at CNN:

He started out the speech bragging about adding eight million jobs in four years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that figure is 7.5 million since December 2009, although it’s closer to 6.5 million in the Household survey. Even at the higher number, job growth works out to an average of 156,250 net jobs added each month.

Thanks to population growth, the U.S. economy needs to add about 150,000 jobs each month just to stay even in terms of workforce employment. What President Obama fails to mention is that his economic policies have dragged employment and active engagement in the workforce as a percentage of the civilian population down from 64.6% at the beginning of that four-year period to 62.8% now, a level not seen since Jimmy Carter gave his first official State of the Union speech in 1978.

Well, it is the Polar Vortex season. Who didn’t expect a snow job?


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What dis Barry Have to say ’bout

Unfettered surveillance of absolutely everything, militarized police, the military as private presidential army, searches without probable or indeed any cause, photo ID required to buy train tickets, on and on.

Not a Peep

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 29, 2014 at 9:26 AM

“I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour

This is the most cowardly part of the entire speech, especially when you note the particulars.

Dog Eater might as well have said “I’m going to raise the wages of all left-handed, bucktoothed plumbers who work at Grant’s Tomb.”

Bishop on January 29, 2014 at 9:26 AM

The biggest lie:

If you like your Constitution, you can keep your Constitution.

Wino on January 29, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Hey Obama:

Golf. Foxtrot. Yankee.

Nutstuyu on January 29, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Listening to him speak is like listening to Satan saying, “Blah blah blah, blah blah, thaaaaat blah blah blah, uh, blah blah, let me be clear….”

Akzed on January 29, 2014 at 9:28 AM

The average American voter is pathetically ignorant…and our government is a direct result…nothing will change…

PatriotRider on January 29, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Trick @$$ hoe.

Murphy9 on January 29, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Obama lies. Facts die.

BuckeyeSam on January 29, 2014 at 9:29 AM

When you’ve got nothing, throw bull shit. At least 33% will be dumb enough to buy it.

GarandFan on January 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Nice wrap up Ed

cmsinaz on January 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM

…and our government counts on the average voter being pathetically ignorant…

PatriotRider on January 29, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.

… this is as close as Obama got to stating in clear terms the “state of the union” … why not just say the “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem” ?

J_Crater on January 29, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Obama literally reiterated every single failed Political Strategy of his Administration so far, somehow thinking, if he focused attention on them, once again, they would magically be universally accepted by the American Public, while his Popularity Polls continue to reflect the harsh reality of his failed Presidency.

kingsjester on January 29, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Morning Joe ‏@Morning_Joe 1h

.@Morning_Joe panel weighs in on the SOTU. What’s your take on the President’s big address? #morningjoe pic.twitter.com/v6mgjaeGvI
===============================================================

SOTUA

Issues By Word Count:

https://twitter.com/Morning_Joe/status/428514109378662400/photo/1/large

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Well, it is the Polar Vortex season. Who didn’t expect a snow job?
======================================================================

Meany ole’ Gop’rs,….and Congress , Door-Stopping Hopeys
ImPlementation of his Utopian Plans!!

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Upward mobility has stalled.

Upward mobility? Obama’s trickle up economics is absurd. Giving all sorts of handouts to parasites contributing nothing to society does not result in jobs creation or upward mobility. It leads to government dependence which has been the point all along.

I didn’t watch the speech last night but I’m guessing he didn’t brag about more people on food stamps than ever before. That he didn’t take credit for the number of people no longer participating in the job market. That he makes the claim that his administration is doing a wonderful job helping Americans.

The whole SOTU was a “you lie” moment no matter what kind of nuggets liberal outlets like the WaPo and Politico cull out.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 9:38 AM

kingsjester on January 29, 2014 at 9:31 AM

He’s the tourist who thinks screaming English will make the foreign waiter understand that he needs to know where the bathroom is.

“SOCIAL JUSTICE! FAIRNESS! DEATHCARE!”

Bishop on January 29, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Obama is right: Stock prices have been very high. But a lot of that is because of the unprecedented, open-ended “quantitative easing” (the Fed pumping massive amounts of dollars around).

People are buying a selling stocks like gangbusters because they know this QE can’t last forever. And when it stops, the stock market will self-regulate, big time. Even the most die-hard Leftists will bring themselves to admit this. In other words, stock prices are high not because of Obama signature policies such as, say, The Porkulus, but rather because of all of the funny money being printed behind the scenes.

visions on January 29, 2014 at 9:39 AM

I watched the speech just to see how many times Joe Biden would stick out his jaw to punctuate an Obama statement or give a crazed grin that made you wonder what he is smiling about.

albill on January 29, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Bishop on January 29, 2014 at 9:38 AM

And, when Mooch travels abroad (pun intentional,she gives the term “ugly American” a whole new meaning.

kingsjester on January 29, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters 17m

Obama hits the road to sell minimum wage, savings proposals http://reut.rs/1fdc6gB
Expand
========

Obama hits the road to sell minimum wage, savings proposals

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:12am EST
***************************************

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/29/us-usa-obama-idUSBREA0S0D320140129?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 9:42 AM

“A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.”

He’s counting the people making jewelry at their dining room tables.

forest on January 29, 2014 at 9:44 AM

What President Obama fails to mention is that his economic policies have dragged employment and active engagement in the workforce as a percentage of the civilian population down from 64.6% at the beginning of that four-year period to 62.8% now, a level not seen since Jimmy Carter gave his first official State of the Union speech in 1978.

Perhaps Republicans will notice this also. That is, the emphasis should be on jobs and bringing people back into the workforce.

Ya know, as opposed to the laser focus on allowing illegal immigrants, who are not their constituents and mostly a cheap workforce labor pool for the Chamber of Commerce.

Marcus Traianus on January 29, 2014 at 9:44 AM

US State of the Union address 2014
1m
==
Photo: Front pages of some US newspapers the morning after President Obama’s State of the Union address – @Schultz44
===============================================

https://twitter.com/Schultz44/status/428536604647776256/photo/1/large

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 9:45 AM

So,

like ACA, ya have to pass it to see whats in it!

Therefore, Implement Hopeys Polices,
and then, worry and find ways to fund
them!!!!

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Obama: “I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you should not have to live in poverty.”

Left unsaid: If you are a troop, you’ll just have to suck it up.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Left unsaid: If you are a troop, you’ll just have to suck it up.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 9:49 AM

I had exactly the same thought.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 9:56 AM

He’s the tourist who thinks screaming English will make the foreign waiter understand that he needs to know where the bathroom is.

Bishop on January 29, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Without once thinking about screaming in Austrian!

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Both also note that “his ability to act unilaterally on this point is very limited as most employees of federal contractors make well over $10 an hour.” The AP also point out that this won’t be added to renewed contracts, so the actual impact of this will approach nil.

A number of HA posters in previous threads have observed that some (many?) labor contracts are pegged to the minimum wage, which will result in ratcheting up those levels as well, hardly a “nil” impact. Correct or not?

bofh on January 29, 2014 at 9:58 AM

speaking of snow jobs the mayor of atlanta is on cnn.

in short he’s not to blame.

obama 101

renalin on January 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

Compliance Assistance

The Department of Labor is committed to providing its customers — America’s employers, workers, job seekers and retirees — with clear and easy-to-access information on how to comply with federal employment laws. Such information and guidance is known as “compliance assistance.” Browse the following list of laws administered by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs for law-specific compliance assistance information:

http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/ofcpcomp.htm

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

United States: Federal Contractor Affirmative Action Regulations Take Effect March 24, 2014
Last Updated: January 28 2014
Article by Brian M. Doyle
Holland & Knight
****************

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/289006/Government+Contracts+Procurement+PPP/Federal+Contractor+Affirmative+Action+Regulations+Take+Effect+March+24+2014

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Since when have facts gotten in the way of the President’s narratives?

Imrahil on January 29, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Thanks for this roundup, Ed.

I did watch the SCOAMF talk, but for the life of me I can’t remember a thing he said. Just maybe this has a wee bit to do with Relevance.

NOMOBO on January 29, 2014 at 10:08 AM

All, if you think the STOU address was bad, you should have seen it on AlJazera TV with Closed Caption on. Translation made it seem we would be better off if President Obama would only tell the truth – he is a member of alQuida hierarchy that is being groomed as Grand POOBA of U.S. forever.

MSGTAS on January 29, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Didn’t watch it…Did he talk about Pot?

workingclass artist on January 29, 2014 at 10:14 AM

because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes,

When did the military do away with KP duty?

CurtZHP on January 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Reminded me of the pathetic showboating speech the Minister of Magic gives in HPATDH Part 2. “Youhhr ministry is sshhtrongg” right before HWMNBN destroys them.

Nutstuyu on January 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

When did the military do away with KP duty?

CurtZHP on January 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Katy Perry duty? Hehehe, you said duuuuty.

Nutstuyu on January 29, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Left unsaid: If you are a troop, you’ll just have to suck it up.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Do E-1s or E-2s even make $10/hr?

Nutstuyu on January 29, 2014 at 10:55 AM

From looking at the transcript of the speech, it was full of bogus claims and cherry-picked stats meant to give the impression that things are looking up, while still claiming that things are bad enough the president can’t wait for Congress to act.

The media called out a few of the more obvious errors, but they leave the impression the speech was mostly accurate. Let’s be honest, the claims about the number of jobs added was picked to ignore the sheer numbers of jobs that were lost, the lowest participation in the labor force since the 70s, and a complete flop of a recovery. It’s not just individual facts that are false here. The entire sweep of the speech was false.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 29, 2014 at 11:00 AM

How about paying the rank level equivalence for jobs contracted out so that those doing those jobs don’t make any more money than the troopers doing them? Heck do that for all of the federal government!

ajacksonian on January 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

From looking at the transcript of the speech, it was full of bogus claims and cherry-picked stats meant to give the impression that things are looking up, while still claiming that things are bad enough the president can’t wait for Congress to act.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 29, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Why is it that no one ever heads this off? The bogus “facts” that were stated should have been easily predicable. From bogus manufacturing stats to the number of people “enrolled ” in Obamacare..the unemployment numbers, etc, etc.
Having the conservatives defuse his bullshit days before the SOTU could have had the same affect as pointing out the “tell” of a magician. Point out what he is doing and how the diversion works. By the time the performer takes the stage, people will be looking for the fake part. And be specific about it.
Had this been done, the right wouldn’t have to say much at all other than “We told you so.”
Without doing something along those lines, any response looks weak and making excuses.
Always playing defense.

Mimzey on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Exactly what I expected from the spinning liar in chief.

sadatoni on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

“A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.”
He’s counting the people making jewelry at their dining room tables.

forest on January 29, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Well, whatdaya know, my wife is in manufacturing now.
She quit the library (too dang liberal) to start a craft business.

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Do E-1s or E-2s even make $10/hr?

Nutstuyu on January 29, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Not if you use their actual work hours.

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

When did the military do away with KP duty?

CurtZHP on January 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Cooks have their own MOS – it’s an entire career path now in the military.
BTW – I was once told by an Air Force Master Sgt that you have to score 4 points higher on your ASVABS (sp?) to be a cook than to go into security police.

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

“The more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.”

He lied on the number, and omitted saying that 1/3 of all the jobs created in the USA are in TX.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Why is it that no one ever heads this off? The bogus “facts” that were stated should have been easily predicable. From bogus manufacturing stats to the number of people “enrolled ” in Obamacare..the unemployment numbers, etc, etc.
Having the conservatives defuse his bullshit days before the SOTU could have had the same affect as pointing out the “tell” of a magician. Point out what he is doing and how the diversion works. By the time the performer takes the stage, people will be looking for the fake part. And be specific about it.
Had this been done, the right wouldn’t have to say much at all other than “We told you so.”
Without doing something along those lines, any response looks weak and making excuses.
Always playing defense.

Mimzey on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Um..yeah! Great comment! Wimps to the right of us and so ineffective — they need to take lessons on how to fight. They think they are counter punching but not landing a glove.

Christian Conservative on January 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Didn’t watch it…Did he talk about Pot?

workingclass artist on January 29, 2014 at 10:14 AM

I didn’t watch it for health reasons: lies raise my blood pressure.

…besides, I knew O Bozo was going to repeat the same lies he’s been telling since 2008. Reading the on-line coverage today, I was 100% right.

landlines on January 29, 2014 at 2:03 PM

He started out the speech bragging about adding eight million jobs in four years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that figure is 7.5 million since December 2009, although it’s closer to 6.5 million in the Household survey. Even at the higher number, job growth works out to an average of 156,250 net jobs added each month.

Employment: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12000000
2007-2010 Speaker Nancy Pelosi: ↓ 6.7 M
2011-2013 Speaker John Boehner: ↑ 5.3 M

Monthly change in employment:
2007-2010 Speaker Nancy Pelosi: ↓140k/month
2011-2013 Speaker John Boehner: ↑148k/month

ITguy on January 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM