De-Coding the 2019 State of the Union

by COOPER TINSLEY


WASHINGTON D.C. (Feb. 5, 2019)

“We have launched an unprecedented economic boom.”

The United States has hardly seen an “unprecedented economic boom” since Donald Trump was elected. Domestic and international markets have been extremely unstable. Furthermore, the economic warfare between the U.S and China hasn't done much good, negatively affecting consumers, companies, financial markets, global economies and politics. According to NPR, “The economy grew at an annual rate of 4.2 percent during the second quarter of last year. But it grew by 5.1 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and by 4.9 percent the quarter after that.”


“Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for. They’re growing faster than anyone else thought possible.”

A blue collar job is a job that requires manual labor. Multiple studies have proven that these wages are not “rising at the fastest pace in decades.” However, hourly wages for this group of people are up by 3.4% from last year, but by no means are they at their highest rate in decades. Weekly wages are growing, but again they are not the highest they’ve been in decades.


“Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.”

The food stamp system, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, helps Americans who can’t purchase food. Many studies have concluded that the difference in participation is just shy of 4 million, saying that about 4 million people have been lifted. That's great, but his statement of “nearly 5 million Americans” is exaggerated.


“The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world.”

In January 2019, 304,000 jobs were added and since Trump took office, 4.9 million jobs have been added. The GOP tax cut passed in December 2017 also helped with economic growth and inflation. However, critics, including the Congressional Budget Office, believe that this growth will slow dramatically, despite the fact that the Trump Administration believes that it will continue to grow for decades to come.


“Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century.”

In early 2000, the unemployment rate was just below 4 percent. It is currently at 4 percent, thus not at its “lowest rate in over half a century”; however, last fall the unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent, an all-time low. Presidents, however, can not take credit for these numbers and Trump is not the first president to do so. Additionally, Hispanic, Black and Asian-American unemployment is just about at a record-low level.


“More people are working now than at any time in the history of our country, 157 million people at work.”

Again, the President can’t take all of the credit for this. Some, but not all. It is not a huge surprise that “more people are working now than at any time in the history of our country” because there are more people living in the country than ever before. The population grows daily. A better measure to use would be the percent of people in the labor force, which has gone down.


“And to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed — very importantly — Right to Try.”

Supporters of the Right to Try legislation say that it will offer “critically ill patients access to life-saving [and most likely experimental drugs].” Critics say that it will allow for poorly executed and pieced together research. They also fear that it won't do much because the previous legislation did not work.


“Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers, thanks to our historic reductions in taxes and regulations, and we have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.”

Last year, due to the fracking revolution, the U.S pumped out more than 11 million barrels of oil a day, passing Russia and Saudi Arabia. “The Trump administration has taken steps to expand oil and gas production,” says NPR, “but the boom predates his time in office and has been fueled by a mix of market forces and advancing technology including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.” These may be good for the economy, but very harmful to the environment.


“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation”

In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats hammered the idea that they would lead dozens of investigations into political ties on the presidency. Many of these investigations involve Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort (both have been convicted) as well as many Russian nationals/officers and other associates of Manafort. Trump is asking them to withdraw from the investigations; if not, there will be no “peace and legislation.” Mr. Trump uses this as leverage to get what he wants on the “border crisis” problem--building a wall.


“The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and very unfair to our country. Now is the time for bipartisan action.”

“Bipartisan action” is the cooperation between two political parties- in this case, the Republicans and the Democrats that usually disagree with each other's policies. The nominations he is referring to are Trump's circuit court, the judicial branch and cabinet nominees. Though this process is moving very slowly, it is a lot faster than recent years to confirm circuit court and judicial branch nominees. However, the confirmation process for Trump’s cabinet members has taken a lot longer than during the Obama or Bush administrations. This is because the President takes longer to appoint these people as well as the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his top priority was filling federal courts.


“As we speak, large organized caravans are on the march to the United States. We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection.”

Trump announced that he has ordered another “3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for this tremendous onslaught,” stating that “this is a moral issue.” Many Democrats and Republicans believe that as of right now, our southern border is a threat to security and safety. The only disagreement is on how to solve the problem. Trump calls for a border wall, but the critics of that plan propose many different methods.


“Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal immigration, reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools, hospitals that are so crowded you can’t get in, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net. Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate, it is actually very cruel.”

“A respected 2016 report by the National Academy of Sciences, showed that ‘immigration, legal and illegal, does create an economic benefit for some native-born Americans,’” said NPR, “but this benefit is generated by reducing the wages of native-born workers, often the least-educated and poorest. ” Additional information can be found in my story titled “Myths about Immigration and the Truth Behind them.”


“If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea.”

This is possibly one of the most debatable statements in the entire address. U.S Intelligence officials have stated that North Korea is unlikely to disarm themselves of nuclear warheads, despite the President's contributions because they believe they are necessary for the survival of the regime. There definitely is still a threat; this is especially obvious since the most recent summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Mr. Trump ended early and without an agreement or plan for another summit.


More information on this pressing topic here.

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon

©2019 - WHS Lantern, All rights reserved.

Westfield High School Digital content is created by Students