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Old 02-13-2013, 04:55 AM   #1
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Wink fact-checking SotU

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...7adb_blog.html

“After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs.”

The president is cherry-picking a number that puts the improvement in the economy in the best possible light. The low point in jobs was reached in February 2010, and there has indeed been a gain of about 6 million jobs since then, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the data also show that since the start of his presidency, about 1.2 million jobs have been created—and the number of jobs in the economy is about 3.2 million lower than when the recession began in December,2007.

“We buy … less foreign oil than we have in twenty [years].”

This claim lacks context. The Energy Department has cited a host of reasons why foreign oil imports have declined, noting the main reason was “a significant contraction in consumption” because of the poor economy and changes in efficiency that began “two years before the 2008 crisis” — in other words, before Obama took office.

“Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.”

This is debatable, depending on how you do the numbers. Many budget analysts do measure the decline in deficits from August 2010—which was a high point for spending—and Obama’s figure is derived from that date. (He also adds in interest savings from reducing anticipated debts, which is different than actually cutting spending or adding revenue.)

But agreement starts to break down quickly about the $4 trillion goal, which translates to just $1.5 trillion in additional work. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, in a recent report, argued that $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years has been enacted so far, including tax increases, but that another $2.4 trillion was needed to reduce ratio of debt-to-gross-domestic-product to 70 percent. The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues instead that $1.5 trillion is needed to achieve a 73-percent ratio. Those numbers could have real world consequences for government programs.

“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.”

This carefully crafted phrase recently earned the president a prized Geppetto Checkmark. Obama wants us to compare the savings in 2022. Granted, that would be six years after Obama’s second term ends. But administration officials argue that changes in health-care policies take time to achieve budget savings, and that the right mix can produce greater savings in the long run.

Using Congressional Budget Office estimates of the president’s budget, we see that over 10 years, Obama’s proposals would achieve $337 billion from 2013 to 2022, compared to $483 billion for Bowles-Simpson in the same time period. (Bowles-Simpson, or more accurately the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, is considered by many in Washington to be the model for a bipartisan approach for deficit reduction.)

However, in 2022, both would achieve exactly the same amount of savings — $68 billion.

Administration officials say they believe their proposals would achieve greater savings than Bowles-Simpson after 2022, which would be consistent with the increase in savings toward the end of the first 10-year budget window.

“Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy.”


This interesting factoid comes from this 2011 study, which we have not had a chance to fully study. But about two-thirds of the calculated impact comes from “indirect impacts" and “induced impacts” (see page ES-3)--which is always the subject of debate and conjecture.

“After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three.”

Obama again is cherry-picking a jobs number. The low point for manufacturing jobs was reached in January 2010, and so there has been a gain of 500,000 jobs since then. But BLS data show that the number of manufacturing jobs is still 600,000 fewer than when Obama took office in the depths of the recession—and 1.8 million fewer than when the recession began in December, 2007.

“I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year.”

There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women--such as women tending to leave the workforce when they have children--make it difficult to make simple comparisons.

The administration’s back-up document for this statement asserted that “on average women generally make 23 cents on the dollar less than men.” But the White House is using a figure (annual wages, from the Census Bureau) that makes the disparity appear the greatest. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, shows that the gap is 19 cents when looking at weekly wages. The gap is even smaller when you look at hourly wages — it is 14 cents — but then not every wage earner is paid on an hourly basis, so that statistic excludes salaried workers.

In other words, since women in general work fewer hours than men in a year, the statistics used by the White House may be less reliable for examining the key focus of the legislation — wage discrimination. Weekly wages is more of an apples-to-apples comparison, but it does not include as many income categories.

Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis surveyed economic literature and concluded that “research suggests that the actual gender wage gap (when female workers are compared with male workers who have similar characteristics) is much lower than the raw wage gap.” They cited one survey, prepared for the Labor Department, which concluded that when such differences are accounted for, much of the hourly wage gap dwindled, to about 5 cents on the dollar.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:03 AM   #2
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I had my speculations about the pay gap being that large between men and women...
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:20 AM   #3
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I had my speculations about the pay gap being that large between men and women...
That is a huge fallacy, often repeated. As the article touches upon, there are numerous factors that determine why employee X makes one salary and employee Y makes another.

Also, women are starting to make more than men

http://www.time.com/time/business/ar...015274,00.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...g-men-age.html

Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with facts.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:31 AM   #4
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That is a huge fallacy, often repeated. As the article touches upon, there are numerous factors that determine why employee X makes one salary and employee Y makes another.

Also, women are starting to make more than men

http://www.time.com/time/business/ar...015274,00.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...g-men-age.html

Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with facts.
I know this is not entirely credible but I know women who are doing very well and received generous starting salaries upon graduating from college.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:47 AM   #5
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I know this is not entirely credible but I know women who are doing very well and received generous starting salaries upon graduating from college.
I can speak of the same through experience. When we graduated law school in 2002 the market was horrible. I was top 15% of my class and couldn't get a job. EVERY girl in my graduating class had a job, and no the top 15% wasn't all women.

Also, my gf at the time was on a full ride scholarship and she came from a worse college than mine, had a worse LSAT than mine and had a lower college GPA than mine. I didn't get a dime from the school.

There is an inconvenient fact that usually gets left out. A lot of women graduate school/grad school and get a job. The company or firm spends time and money to hire them and train them. They eventually get married and have kids. At that point they take maternity leave. When maternity leave is up they use all of their sick days and vacation days. When those days are up they quit and be stay at home moms.

That's a major loss on investment for an employer. I've seen it happen at my law firm several times. I don't begrudge a woman for wanting to be home with her child (I think that is the best way to raise a kid), but you have to look at it through the eyes of the employer that just invested in you.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:47 AM   #6
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So the fact-checkers accuse Obama of cherry-picking and juxtapose his claim with cherry-picked numbers of his own. Was there anything untrue in the SOTU?
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:49 AM   #7
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I can speak of the same through experience. When we graduated law school in 2002 the market was horrible. I was top 15% of my class and couldn't get a job. EVERY girl in my graduating class had a job, and no the top 15% wasn't all women.

Also, my gf at the time was on a full ride scholarship and she came from a worse college than mine, had a worse LSAT than mine and had a lower college GPA than mine. I didn't get a dime from the school.

There is an inconvenient fact that usually gets left out. A lot of women graduate school/grad school and get a job. The company or firm spends time and money to hire them and train them. They eventually get married and have kids. At that point they take maternity leave. When maternity leave is up they use all of their sick days and vacation days. When those days are up they quit and be stay at home moms.

That's a major loss on investment for an employer. I've seen it happen at my law firm several times. I don't begrudge a woman for wanting to be home with her child (I think that is the best way to raise a kid), but you have to look at it through the eyes of the employer that just invested in you.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:51 AM   #8
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“They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet.” - Saul Alinsky, quoting Lenin

"You don’t burn books because they’re irrelevant. You burn books because you’re terrified that they’re not. You don’t muzzle people who have no audience. You muzzle people only when their voices are amplified far beyond your liking."
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:29 AM   #9
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I can speak of the same through experience. When we graduated law school in 2002 the market was horrible. I was top 15% of my class and couldn't get a job. EVERY girl in my graduating class had a job, and no the top 15% wasn't all women.

Also, my gf at the time was on a full ride scholarship and she came from a worse college than mine, had a worse LSAT than mine and had a lower college GPA than mine. I didn't get a dime from the school.

There is an inconvenient fact that usually gets left out. A lot of women graduate school/grad school and get a job. The company or firm spends time and money to hire them and train them. They eventually get married and have kids. At that point they take maternity leave. When maternity leave is up they use all of their sick days and vacation days. When those days are up they quit and be stay at home moms.

That's a major loss on investment for an employer. I've seen it happen at my law firm several times. I don't begrudge a woman for wanting to be home with her child (I think that is the best way to raise a kid), but you have to look at it through the eyes of the employer that just invested in you.
Appears you thought you were entitled to a job. Having a better LSAT, having gone to a better school and not being a maternity leave risk does not guarantee you a job.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:43 AM   #10
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Appears you thought you were entitled to a job. Having a better LSAT, having gone to a better school and not being a maternity leave risk does not guarantee you a job.
Not all couples and women have children. I'm sure their salaries are comparable to their male counterparts.
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If there is one thing I despise most it's blacks always pulling the race card. It's so annoying and is often misplaced.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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Not all couples and women have children. I'm sure their salaries are comparable to their male counterparts.
I'm sure assumptions don't mean much.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:02 AM   #12
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Obama is not going to let fact checkers run his campaign.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:03 AM   #13
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I'm sure assumptions don't mean much.
That's why made an assumption and not a claim. I'll dig into this later when I'm not working.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:46 AM   #14
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Appears you thought you were entitled to a job. Having a better LSAT, having gone to a better school and not being a maternity leave risk does not guarantee you a job.
But having boobs or darker skin than me does?
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:22 PM   #15
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There is an inconvenient fact that usually gets left out. A lot of women graduate school/grad school and get a job. The company or firm spends time and money to hire them and train them. They eventually get married and have kids. At that point they take maternity leave. When maternity leave is up they use all of their sick days and vacation days. When those days are up they quit and be stay at home moms.

That's a major loss on investment for an employer. I've seen it happen at my law firm several times. I don't begrudge a woman for wanting to be home with her child (I think that is the best way to raise a kid), but you have to look at it through the eyes of the employer that just invested in you.
Probably touches on the lack of affordable child care and other child-rearing options in the U.S., something as a father of 15-month old I am quickly and grimly becoming familiar with.

Perhaps back in the day, when gender roles were rather rigidly established and men made twice as much as the few women in the labor force, this wasn't as much an issue, the husband was essentially earning a double wage for the mother who wasn't working.

Worked well enough I suppose, though only as long as you followed that rigid social structure. Now that men and women are treated as equals in the eyes of the workplace (a good thing), and fathers only make an individual's rather than whole families wage, that previous arrangement has broken down yet with no viable new one to really replace it.

Do we somehow retreat back to the rigid old paradigm? If so, how? "All you working women, sorry, you are hereby summarily fired and commanded to go back, breed and raise kids. Men, congratulations, your salary just doubled!"

Does more of the burden get shifted somehow to the employers?

Do families simply keep taking it on the chin, financially and otherwise, if they (even) decide to have children? Have a kid > household income drops by half or household expenses go up a similar amount (daycare, nannies, etc.) + other added new expenses (food, clothing).

Does broader society take up the slack somehow to support families (I can already here the keen of "SOCIALISM!!!!")? Much bigger child tax deductions? Supports? Paid time off to have and raise children? Government supports for child care options?

Or do we simply do nothing and continue to watch our birthrate plummet in this unenviable situation?

So as not to reinvent the wheel, how are other countries dealing with this and are their approaches working any better.

PS I might edit your one comment to read: "I don't begrudge a parent for wanting to be home with his/her child..."
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:11 PM   #16
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I also would like to add that these statistical compilations are mostly useless. You can take man attorney A and woman attorney B. They could have went to the same school. They could have been at the same firm for the same amount of time. If A makes more than B it is not indicative of discrimination on its face. There are so many other things that go into who gets what raises and when it would be next to impossible to actually prove systematic discrimination. Heck, personality plays a role. Also, men tend to work more hours than women. You can't discount that.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:52 PM   #17
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So the fact-checkers accuse Obama of cherry-picking and juxtapose his claim with cherry-picked numbers of his own. Was there anything untrue in the SOTU?
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #18
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Whoah, Obama actually said that Obamacare is already slowing health care costs? Come onnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:53 PM   #19
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Still waiting for Pancakes to point out the "numerous inaccuracies" that he sees on the daily show each night.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:30 AM   #20
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But having boobs or darker skin than me does?
How awful it must be to be the repressed majority. You're so focused on race and gender that you've likely overlooked other qualities that allowed them to be more successful than yourself. If only you had worked harder.
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