Staff Editorial: State of the Union address missed important points

By Duke Staff

As President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last Tuesday, members of the audience applauded nearly after every topic. While it seemed like a successful evening, a closer inspection of Obama’s words left us at The Duke less than willing to give a standing ovation.

Going green (but not evergreen)

As President Obama remarked on the current climate changes in the U.S. and our effect globally, he mentioned that “over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth.” While this is true, the president failed to mention that the United States increased its carbon dioxide emissions by 2 percent as of last year. Even with the decrease in carbon pollution during the past eight years, much of the reduction was not brought on by government policies but instead by development in technology.

Jobs gained (but also lost?)

Another remark that brought attention focused on job growth. The president mentioned the country generated “more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.” While the president and his speech writers were technically correct, the statistic was only half true. 8.8 million private sector jobs were created in the last four years, leaving out the astonishing 4.2 million public sector jobs that were lost since Obama took office, according to last December’s  recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

Health care takes off (but for how long?)

Another important quotation  was the president’s remark on health care. Obama stated that “More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.” That statement once again is correct, but to an extent. There has been a huge increase in Obamacare enrollment (three million as of last week compared to the 106,000 start up in October according to CNN) But the question remains how many were replacing previous insurances that didn’t meet Obamacare standards versus those signing up for the first time?

Minimum wage raised (but not for you?)

Lastly, the issue of minimum wage was a topic of substance to many. The president claims to “issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.” This minimum wage raise seems great, but it does not apply to everyone. This only applies to federal labs, such as meal cooks in the military, or lower level positions in the government.

So what can we take away from Obama’s fifth State of the Union? Listen to the facts, but also look for the ones left out.