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We fact-checked the State of the Union, and yes, it was all exaggerated

President Donald Trump made his first State of the Union speech on Tuesday, calling upon everyone to “set aside [their] differences” and “seek out common ground.”

Before we move on, let me preface this with the glorious reaction of Nancy Pelosi, which pretty much sums up how I felt during his address.
[Image Description: Nancy Pelosi’s sour reaction to President Trump’s speech at the State of the Union] Via Twitter/@goldengateblond
Just a few minutes into his speech, it was evident that Trump was going to be self-congratulatory, and of course, we should’ve all expected it. In a speech of 80 minutes, the man literally boasted about his accomplishments for about two-thirds of it. Trump is proud of everything he has done, but most of all, he claims that he has singlehandedly caused the economic growth of America.

He loves to boast about his economic accomplishments…but can he claim full credit for everything he has said that he has done?

First of all, it’s absurd to even think that a leader of a country can catapult the economy towards growth at such a rapid pace. If he has actually managed to do it in one year, it’s definitely not a sustainable growth, and one can only expect long-term problems. However, in the case of USA, the growth hasn’t just been a result of the one year of Trump’s reign.

According to Trump, both unemployment levels and African-American unemployment rates have decreased.

The latter has hit a record low amount at 6.8%. Of course, that’s true. But both these levels have been decreasing gradually for years now. There’s nothing significant about the decline in these rates, as they’re just following a pattern kicked off the by the previous government for almost 10 years now. If Trump really managed to close the unemployment gap between black people and their white counterparts, that would’ve been something to be proud of.
[Image Description: A line chart showing the decline in unemployment levels in recent years, and the gap between white and black unemployment] Via Business Insider
The president outright lied about certain facts, such as declaring that he’s implemented the biggest tax cuts and reforms.

Too bad Reagan has already beat him to the position, and several presidents in between – and proved his lack of research in some areas (does anyone remember hearing “we are now an exporter of energy to the world?”)

He also touched on his favorite concept ever – immigrants and their impact on the economy. Now according to Trump, if you erase out immigrants, USA will be safe, and the economy will flourish. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has published a 2016 report that says “when measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.” However, Trump seems to think that immigrants steal Americans’ paychecks, and therefore, limiting them would lead to a greater growth.

According to The Guardian, Trump is counting jobs since election day 2016, months before he became president. About 1.8m Americans have found jobs since Trump’s inauguration, averaging roughly the slowest rate of hiring since 2010.

Furthermore, Trump’s tax plans have always favored the wealthy, and what good is stock market success going to do for the everyday lives of the people of his country?

In the end, the US president can’t really take credit for half of the things he proudly announced for the better part of his speech.

Maybe, as Kamala Harris noted, he should’ve finished his accomplishments with a thank you for President Obama.


Senior News & Society Editor Asma Elgamal launches Policy channel to face the new political era

2016 was a tough year. In looking at the global political landscape, 2016 presented us with events like Brexit and the Trump administration, propelling hate groups into mainstream platforms and frankly terrifying the hell out of some of us.

[bctt tweet=”In times like these, the most powerful thing we can do is equip ourselves with knowledge.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Social activism hit a new high, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat – all became tools to resist and to make our voices heard. But even that sometimes, isn’t enough. As horrific as it is, a lot of the awful things that have been happening are completely legal. It’s like Hydra has infiltrated the highest levels and we are playing a very tricky game of dismantling policies while pretending that evil isn’t currently reigning over us.

“In times like these, the most powerful thing we can do is equip ourselves with knowledge,” Elgamal noted.

Like most things governmental, policies are shrouded in technical language, used to make things complex and drawn out. Some policies and legislation are incredibly long and honestly, that kind of information is not appealing to read. Although it’s super important to know what laws govern us, who really has the time to go through all these new documents to ascertain what is going on?

It’s hard to speak out against something that we don’t really understand.

So to help us deal with the aftermath, Asma Elgamal, our Senior News & Society Editor at The Tempest decided to approach things in a different way, launching the Policy channel at The Tempest.

Elgamal said, “The sole purpose of this vertical is to target and help decipher laws and policies so that everyone knows exactly what is going on. The aim of this is so that it is easier to understand which policies affect you and what they set out to do. In turn, preparing us for doing whatever is necessary to combat these policies.” Read more about The Tempest’s Policy vertical here.