Obama spent more time talking about foreign policy and the economy than immigration or gun control.
He did talk a lot about “years,” “jobs,” and “America.”
Oil imports are down. “We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20.” Thanks to a combination of improved fuel efficiency and drilling (mostly on private and state lands), oil imports are on pace to fall to their lowest level since 1987.
Obama’s target for deficit reduction. The president says that we’ve accomplished more than $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the last few years, putting us more than halfway toward his $4 trillion deficit reduction goal. Here’s how $1.5 trillion more in deficit reduction would affect the debt over the next 10 years.
Enacting Simpson-Bowles level health spending costs. “On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.” Making those cuts would hold health care spending to amount to 6.5 percent of the economy.
The (small) manufacturing rebound. “After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three.” It looks a lot more modest in graph form.
The earth’s getting warmer: “Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15.” You can see that in NOAA’s record of global temperatures.
Can Obama cut carbon emissions on his own? ”But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” A recent report by the World Resources Institute found that the Obama administration could take executive actions to cut emissions 17 percent by 2020. But big long-term cuts will likely require Congress.
Fix-it first infrastructure. ”Tonight, I propose a ‘Fix-It-First’ program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.” Infrastructure experts have argued that we should repair existing roads and bridges before building new ones. That’s because it’s often cheaper to fix a bad road early on.
The minimum wage. ”Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families.” The minimum wage, adjusted for income, is lower than it was a decade ago.
Obama’s minimum wage proposal would be a huge hike in most states: Here’s what the minimum wage is currently around the country. Obama’s $9/hour minimum-wage proposal is higher than that in every state save for Washington.
Border security is up. Obama boasted of putting a record number of agents on the border, which Congress and the White House have continued to fund. Here’s what that increase looks like:
Long legal immigration lines. Obama also promised to reduce the backlog of legal immigrants through an immigration overhaul. Here’s the official wait times for different classes of immigrants, according to the latest information from the State Department:
Withdrawing 34,000 troops from Afghanistan. “Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.” This Washington Post graphic looks at the state of the withdrawal so far.