News & Politics

State of the Union, Sliced and Diced

A guide to the truth behind the lies and fabrications in George Bush's State of the Union speech to Congress.
Note: The following is a list of corrections to false and fabricated claims in President Bush's State of the Union speech from Think Progress.

On Katrina:

Bush said: "As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope and rich in opportunity."

Fact -- White House stonewalling Katrina investigations: Congressional investigations into the administration's inadequate response to Katrina have stalled because the "Bush White House is now refusing to turn over Hurricane Katrina-related documents or make senior officials available for testimony." (MSNBC, 1/26/06)

Bush said: "In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country."

Fact -- Poverty rates have increased under Bush: The poverty rate has risen each year since 2001, with 12.7 percent of the population now living in poverty. African-American poverty has risen from 22.7 percent in 2001 to 24.7 percent in 2004, and child poverty has gone from 16.3 percent in 2001 to 17.8 percent (1.3 million children under the age of 18). (U.S. Census Bureau, Aug. 2005, Tables B-1 and B-2)

Fact -- Bush tax cuts targeted at high-income households: The tax bills enacted since 2001 "have helped high-income households far more than other households," according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Households with incomes exceeding $1 million have received average tax cuts of $103,000, "an increase of 5.4 percent in their after-tax income." But in 2005, the bottom fifth of households "will receive an average combined tax cut of $18 from these bills, raising their after-tax income by 0.3 percent." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 10/17/05)

On Energy:

Bush said: "The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances."

Fact -- Bush pushed for renewable energy cuts in latest budget: President Bush's FY06 budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) energy efficiency and renewable energy programs envisioned "reductions totaling nearly $50 million -- an overall cut of roughly four percent." (Renewable Energy Access, 2/28/05)

Fact -- Bush rejected bipartisan plan to set goals for renewable energy: Last year, President Bush "oppose[d] efforts to include a national renewable energy requirement for utilities in Congress's broad energy legislation." According to the Union of Concerned Scientists it "is a cost-effective, market-based policy that requires electric utilities to gradually increase their use of renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, and bioenergy," to between 10 percent and 20 percent by 2020. A 10 percent standard "would have virtually no impact on electricity prices and could save consumers as much as $13.2 billion." (Reuters, 2/10/05; Union of Concerned Scientists; Union of Concerned Scientists)

Fact -- Bush energy bill contained little on renewable energy: The energy bill supported and signed by President Bush dropped a provision that would have required utilities "to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity through renewable fuels by 2020." (New York Times, 7/26/05)

On Iran:

Bush said: "The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions -- and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats."

Fact -- Bush Middle East policy has weakened our hand: By invading Iraq without enough troops and without a plan for stabilizing the country, the administration allowed an historic expansion of Iranian influence westward into Iraq, even as the country's new leadership has drifted further towards radicalism and rabid anti-Semitism. The Bush administration substituted a policy of dual containment (of Iran and Iraq) for something more dangerous: a single-minded focus on Iraq that has hampered our efforts to fight global terrorism and has strengthened Iran's influence.

Fact -- Bush opposition to negotiations weakened our hand: The Bush administration dismissed three separate invitations to open back-channel communications with Iran's government under the more moderate President Khatami. It refused to participate directly in the talks involving Britain, France and Germany, despite warnings from diplomats and the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) that the talks were likely to fail without U.S. involvement. Instead of being an active player, the Bush administration sat on the sidelines and ceded leadership to others. As Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., stated last November, "The United States is capable of engaging Iran in direct dialogue without sacrificing any of its interests or objectives."

On Tax Cuts:

Bush said: "Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent."

Fact -- Tax cuts will cost $3.4 trillion over 10 years: The cost of making the tax cuts permanent will be $3.4 trillion through fiscal year 2015. This includes the cost of extending the Alternative Minimum Tax relief associated with these tax cuts. (Congressional Budget Office, 1/26/06)

Fact -- Permanent tax cuts overwhelmingly favor the wealthiest: If Bush's tax cuts are made permanent, the top 1 percent of households will gain an average of $71,420 a year when the tax cuts are fully in effect. By contrast, people in the middle of the income spectrum would secure average tax cuts of just $870. (Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, 12/20/05)

Read the rest of the SOTU slice and dice at Think Progress.
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