Fact-checking President Biden’s State of the Union speech

President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Here’s a reality check on some of Biden’s claims:

“Over the past two years, my administration has reduced the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion, the largest deficit reduction in American history,” Biden said.

Facts first: Biden’s boast misses important context. It is true that the federal deficit was reduced by $1.7 trillion under Biden in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, including A record $1.4 trillion A decrease in 2022 — but it’s highly questionable how much credit Biden deserves for that decrease. Biden did not mention this. The main reason The deficit fell to a record high in 2020 due to bipartisan emergency pandemic relief spending under then-President Donald Trump, then fell as expected when planned spending expired. Independent analysts say that Biden’s own actions, including his laws and executive orders, have had the cumulative effect of increasing current and projected future deficits, not reducing them.

Dan White, senior director of economic research at Moody’s Analytics — an economic firm whose assessments have been repeatedly cited by Biden during his presidency — told Matt Egan in October: “On net, the administration’s policies have increased the deficit, It hasn’t been reduced.” The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an advocacy group, wrote in September that Biden’s actions would add more than $4.8 trillion to the deficit from 2021 to 2031, or if you count the 2021 deficit. The US rescue plan would increase by $2.5 trillion if the pandemic relief bill is not counted.

National Economic Council Director Brian Days wrote on the White House website in January that the American Rescue Plan pandemic relief bill “facilitated a strong economic recovery and enabled the responsible wind-down of emergency spending programs, “Thus reducing the deficit; David Kelly, chief global strategist at JP Morgan Funds, said in October that the Biden administration deserves credit for the recovery that has pushed the deficit down. And Diez correctly notes that Biden’s signature legislation, last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, is expected to reduce the deficit by more than $200 billion over the next decade.

Still, the deficit reduction of this one bill is expected to be offset by the deficit-increasing effects of various additional bills and policies that Biden has endorsed.

From Daniel Dale

“In the past two years, a record 10 million Americans have applied to start new businesses,” Biden said.

Facts first: this is true. There were about 5.4 million business applications in 2021, the highest number since 2005 (the first year for which the federal government released data for a full year), and about 5.1 million business applications in 2022. Not every request turns into a real business. , but the number of “high-trend” business applications — those deemed more likely to convert into paid businesses — also hit a record in 2021 and its second highest in 2022. See the collection.

Former President Donald Trump’s last full year in office, 2020 also set all-time records for total and top trending applications. There are various reasons for the pandemic-era boom in entrepreneurship, which began in the early 2020s after millions of Americans lost their jobs. Americans had extra money from the stimulus bills signed by Trump and Biden. Interest rates were notably low until a series of rate hikes that began in the spring of 2022.

From Daniel Dale

“There is near-record unemployment for black and Hispanic workers,” Biden said.

Facts first: Biden’s claims are true.

The black or African American unemployment rate was 5.4% in January 2023, just above the record low of 5.3% set in August 2019. (This data series goes back to 1972.) The rate was 9.2% in January 2021, the month Biden took over. Office.

The Hispanic or Latino unemployment rate was 4.5% in January 2023, not far from the record low of 4.0% set in September 2019 – although the rate of 4.5% in January 2023 was 4.1% in December 2022. There was a jump from (This data series goes back to 1973.) In January 2021, the rate was 8.5 percent.

Daniel Dale

Biden criticized former President Donald Trump’s administration’s fiscal management, saying “about 25% of the entire national debt, a debt that took 200 years to accumulate, was added by just one administration — the last.”

Facts first: Biden’s claim is correct. national debt, Now over $31 trillion, Just under $8 trillion has grown during Trump’s four years, for a reason. Trump’s Big Tax Cut. It’s important to note, though, that some of the debt was due to increase under Trump. Trillions I Emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic Expenditure that goes through bilateral cooperation. National debt The first half increased. After 2020, Trump’s first three years in office grew gradually, and because of spending needed for safety net programs created by previous presidents. A significant amount of spending under any president is the result of decisions made by his predecessors.

Charles Billhaus, a researcher at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center who authored the 2021 paper “Why We Have Federal Deficits,” wrote that the effects of recent legislation on long-term structural fiscal imbalances have been reduced by the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. . And Social Security increases, all of which happened between 1965 and 1972.

“Despite all the political rhetoric today in the Joseph R. Biden Jr. administration or the Donald J. Trump administration, either congressional Democrats or congressional Republicans have spent blaming the federal deficit, the biggest driver of federal fiscal imbalances. . . was enacted nearly half a century ago,” wrote Ballhaus.

From Katie Lobosco and Daniel Dale

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