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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)