Politics

Reality Check: State Of The Union Promises

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

WASHINGTON (WCCO) – President Obama made news in his State of the Union message by proposing what sounds like a hard freeze on federal spending.

But he skipped the biggest cuts and called for billions of dollars in new programs.

“I am proposing that starting this year we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years,” said the president in his annual address to Congress.

IN FACT…

A spending freeze sounds good, but doesn’t get anywhere near erasing the U.S. deficit. A five-year freeze could save $400 billion.

But the deficit, according to the latest figures from the Congressional Budget Office, is $ 1.5 trillion.

And the president did not offer cuts to the biggest, most costly programs like Medicare and Social Security.

And new spending? Billions.

“All these investments — in innovation, education and infrastructure — will make America a better place to do business and create jobs,” said President Obama.

Here’s what you NEED TO KNOW.

Among the new programs the president promised:

- High-speed rail in 25 years.
– 1 million electric cars by 2015.
– Making permanent the $10K tuition tax credit.
– More Race to the Top school grants.
– Clean energy by 2035.
– New efforts to fix roads and bridges.

But there’s one area in spending where the president’s changing his tune.

Earmarks.

President Obama told Congress: “Both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.”

That’s a FLIP FLOP.

In 2009, the president defended earmarks as “worthy projects” and he “opposed their outright elimination.”

It won’t matter, anyway.

New Republican House Speaker John Boehner already promised that not a single bill will include one.

That’s Reality Check.

Click on the links below to check Pat Kessler’s resources for this Reality Check.

Goldman Sachs Global ECS Research: US Economics Analyst
Congressional Budget Office
Social Security: Summary of the 2010 Annual Reports
White House: State of the Union
Obama Defends Earmarks: “There Are Times Where They May Be Good”
House Republicans Adopt Earmarks Ban in New Congress

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