Bernie Sanders in 2019 State of the Union address


On Free Trade: FactCheck: NAFTA displaced 851,700; but net loss 15,000/year

CLAIM: Trump, in urging Congress to support his new trade agreement, said he had met men and women across the country whose "dreams were shattered by NAFTA" [implying job losses].

FACT-CHECK: One analysis of the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) found that about 851,700 U.S. jobs were displaced by the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico between 1993 (shortly before NAFTA was implemented) and 2014. That's a data point that was cited by Bernie Sanders during his 2016 campaign, when he frequently decried job losses due to NAFTA.

A 2014 study found that while NAFTA has caused about 203,000 jobs to be displaced by NAFTA-related imports annually, imports support 188,000 new jobs, leading to a net loss of only about 15,000 annually.

And the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote in 2017 that "in reality, NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics... because trade with Canada & Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP."

Source: NBC News Fact-Check on 2019 State of the Union address Feb 6, 2019

On Jobs: FactCheck: Unemployment under Trump is lowest in decades

A "fact-check" video by Bernie Sanders misrepresents employment data in an attempt to prove President Trump "wrong" about the economy. The data actually show employment continues to improve under Trump.

The video features Warren Gunnels, the senator's top aide on the Senate budget committee. Trump said in the SOTU speech, "unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century." The official unemployment rate dropped as low as 3.7% in November--marking the first time it had been that low since 1969.

In the "fact-check" video, Gunnels says "the real unemployment rate--which includes those who have given up looking for work and those who are working part time when they need a full-time job--is 8.1%, not 4%." Gunnels is referring to the U-6, an "alternative measure of labor underutilization." Gunnels is right that the U-6 rate is 8.1%. But this is what he doesn't tell his viewers: Under Trump, the U-6 rate had dropped to its lowest level in 17 years, the lowest since April 2001.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2019 State of the Union response Feb 6, 2019

On Budget & Economy: US "hottest economy" only applies to the wealthy

[In the 2019 State of the Union speech], and on numerous occasions, Donald Trump has told the American people that the U.S. economy is "the hottest economy anywhere in the world."

Well, that may be true for the members of his Mar-a-Lago country club where the price of admission has doubled to $200,000. For those folks and for the wealthiest people in our nation, Trump is right. The economy is really booming. In fact, for many of Mr. Trump's billionaire friends, they have never, ever had it so good.

But for the middle class and working families of this country, the truth is that the economy is not so great.

Despite what President Trump says, it is not "a hot economy" when 43 percent of households can't afford to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone without going into debt. That is not a hot economy.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Corporations: Economy is great, for those who get corporate stock buybacks

In America today, we have more wealth & income inequality than almost any major country on earth and it is more unfair now than at any other time since the Gilded Age of the 1920s.
Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Corporations: Majority want tax on wealthy and regulation of Wall Street

Trump said tonight that we should "govern not as two parties, but as one nation." I agree. But his agenda of providing tax breaks to billionaires is the exact opposite of what the overwhelming majority of the American people want:If the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to pass these popular initiatives, why can't Congress pass them? The answer is pretty simple. The monied interests--Wall Street, multi-national corporations and the billionaire class--are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get Congress to do their bidding.

If we are serious about transforming our country, let us bring people together to take on and defeat a ruling class whose greed is destroying our nation. Together, Let us fight for economic, social, racial and environmental justice, not unbridled greed.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Energy & Oil: We have 12 years to transform to sustainable energy

As important as it is to respond to what President Trump said [in the State of the Union speech], it is even more important to discuss what Trump refused to talk about--which happens to include some of the most important issues facing our country and the world.

How can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change when the leading scientists of the world tell us that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and is already causing devastating harm in the United States and in much of the world. Further, they tell us that we have a very short 12 years in order to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy if we are going to have a planet that is healthy and habitable for our kids and grandchildren.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Free Trade: Real problem with trade is jobs shipped overseas

Tonight, Trump talked about what a great job he has done on trade. But what he forgot to tell you is that the annual trade deficit has gone up by over $100 billion since he became president and our trade deficit with China and Mexico has gone up by tens of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, since Trump was elected corporations have shipped 185,000 American jobs overseas.
Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Immigration: Undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes than citizens

[In the State of the Union speech], in terms of crime, Trump talked about a terrible and heinous murder in Reno, Nevada committed by an undocumented immigrant who happens to be Latino. In fact, over the last several years, Trump has talked time and time again about crimes committed by undocumented Latino immigrants.

His demonization of Latinos is racist, it's wrong, and it also happens to be factually inaccurate. Undocumented Latino immigrants commit fewer crimes in America than the general public.

Isn't it strange, however, that when we talk about terrible crimes committed in Nevada, Trump forgot to mention that, in 2017, a white man named Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded 851--the deadliest shooting in modern American history.

If he is concerned about crime how come Trump didn't mention that? Needless to say, he also didn't mention the need for common-sense gun safety legislation which would lower the terrible rate of mass shootings in our country.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Immigration: Comprehensive reform instead of an emergency wall

President Trump stated tonight, and, over and over again in recent weeks, that building a wall on the Mexican border is a national emergency. In fact, he shut down the government and caused enormous pain for some 800,000 federal employees because of his insistence for his wall.

No, Mr. Trump, building a wall is not an emergency.

In terms of immigration in this country, what we need to do is not to waste billions of dollars on a wall, but to finally address the need for comprehensive immigration reform--including a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented people.

It is inhumane, and not what America stands for, that tiny children at the border have been torn away from their parents. It is disgraceful that 1.8 million young people have lost their legal protection under the DACA program because of Trump's actions. It is heartbreaking that almost 11 million undocumented people living in this country worry every day about being deported & separated from their loved ones.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Jobs: Real wages for working class in 2019 are lower than in 1973

For the middle class and working families of this country, the truth is that the economy is not so great [despite Trump's truthful claims that the economy is great for the billionaire class].

Over the last year, for example, real inflation accounted for wages for the average American worker is up by all of 1.2 percent--just $9.11 a week. In fact, real wages for that same worker are lower today than they were in 1973. Let me repeat. The average American worker, after adjusting for inflation, is earning less today than he or she did 46 years ago--despite huge increases in productivity. Sadly, millions of American workers today are forced to work 2 or 3 jobs just to pay the bills and to keep their heads above water economically.

And, let us never forget that, in America today, millions of our people are working for starvation wages--$8, $9, $10 an hour and here is the simple truth. Nobody can raise a family or pay the rent on these poverty wages.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On Technology: Fix our nation's infrastructure; don't privatize it

President Trump talked [in the State of the Union] about the need to rebuild our country's crumbling infrastructure. And he is absolutely right. But the proposal he is bringing forth is dead wrong.

Trump would encourage states to sell our nation's highways, bridges, and other vital infrastructure to Wall Street, wealthy campaign contributors, even foreign governments. The reality is that Trump's plan to privatize our nation's infrastructure is an old idea that has never worked and never will work.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

On War & Peace: Our Saudi allies give US-made weapons to Al Qaeda in Yemen

As important as it is to respond to what President Trump said [in the State of the Union speech], it is even more important to discuss what Trump refused to talk about --which happens to include some of the most important issues facing our country and the world.

How can the President say nothing about Yemen, where the worst humanitarian crisis in the world is currently taking place, brought on by a Saudi-led war that the United States is supporting? Just yesterday, a CNN report detailed how our Saudi and Emirati allies have been giving U.S.-made weapons to Al Qaeda-linked fighters in Yemen, and have also fallen into the hands of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. This war is a disaster, which is why the Senate passed my resolution last December calling on the president to end our support for it, and why colleagues in both the House and Senate re-introduced that legislation last week. Yet the president did not even mention it.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech Feb 5, 2019

The above quotations are from 2019 State of the Union address to Congress, plus the Republican Democratic Feb. 28, 2019.
Click here for other excerpts from 2019 State of the Union address to Congress, plus the Republican Democratic Feb. 28, 2019.
Click here for other excerpts by Bernie Sanders.
Click here for a profile of Bernie Sanders.
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Page last updated: Mar 19, 2019