State of the Union Address

POSTED February 13, 2018

On January 30th 2018, President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union Address. Ever since 1790, the State of the Union is an annual event in which the President updates the Congress on what the new administration accomplished in the first year after being elected.

   Trump’s eighty-minute speech was the third-longest address in over 50 years; only Bill Clinton has spoken for longer than that.

   One of his first claims is that he created 2.4 million new jobs, 200,000 in manufacturing alone. He goes on to state that there are now rising wages and that the unemployment-rates have hit a 45-year low. He gets even more specific by saying that African-American and Hispanic unemployment rates have reached the lowest point in history.

   But how much of that is true? Ever since January 2017 there have been about 1.8 million jobs created, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics which makes it the slowest gain in jobs since 2010. Regarding manufacturing jobs, Trump created about 184,000 manufacturing jobs in the first 11 months of running the office. When it comes to his claims about African-American and Hispanic unemployment-rates he’s taking credit for something that he simply didn’t accomplish. Ever since 2010, during the great recession, the African-American unemployment rates has been steadily decreasing. The same applies to the Hispanic unemployment rates which have been trending lower before Trump was elected.

   Regarding the economy, Trump emphasizes the rising stock market and wages. Also, he claims to be responsible for the biggest tax cuts and reforms in history which supposedly brought instant relief for the middle class and small businesses. Furthermore, he keeps mentioning the big gains the Trump-administration made in the coal industry.

   Just like with the unemployment rates, Trump keeps resting on other people’s laurels. Wages have been increasing since 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, it is not true that the tax package Trump passed in late 2017 is the biggest in history, in fact is only the fourth-largest since 1940. When it comes to his claims about the stock market, he is not entirely wrong. Ever since he took the oath in office $6.9 trillion in wealth has been created, but the average American didn’t see much of that. According to a survey conducted by Gallup News, only 50% of Americans own stocks and 80% of its value is held by the upper class.

   But would it really be a speech of President Trump, if he didn’t mention immigrants? Well, if you thought he would go easy on us this time, you thought wrong: He proudly declares, that he is about to stop chain migration by “ending visa lottery”. He makes it seem like the government was randomly handing out Green Cards to anyone who wants to live in the United States. Reality is far away from that: Every single person that applies for the program must have at least a high school diploma to be eligible. Also, the applicants must undergo a background check, interviews and several health checks before entering the country. If they are considered a security risk, they have to undergo an additional in-depth review which more often than not costs them the Green Card. This does not mean that the program can’t be improved, but it is by no means random.

   International reactions?

On Sunday, February 4th 2018, North Korea reached out to the media and slammed Trump’s State of the Union Address. They particularly criticized the part in which the President states that “no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.” The North Korean foreign ministry threatened that if “Trump does not get rid of his anachronistic and dogmatic way of thinking, it will only bring about the  consequence of further endangering security and future of the United States.” They went on to say that what Trump calls success is actually the “the height of Trump-style arrogance, arbitrariness and self-conceit.” How serious are these threats? Is North Korea actually willed and able to nuke the United States? The answer to both of those questions is yes. The official of the foreign ministry states that North Korea’s  “self-reliant defense capability with the nuclear force as its backbone will, however, completely deter Trump and his lackeys from showing off on the Korean peninsula.”

   To some extent history truly repeats itself because we could be on our way to a second cold war.

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