Skip to main content

Fact checking Biden's State of the Union

·2 mins

President Joe Biden delivered the State of the Union address on Thursday night. He criticized the fiscal management of former President Donald Trump, claiming that Trump added more to the national debt than any other president in American history. Biden’s claim is correct; the national debt increased by about 39% during Trump’s tenure, partly due to major tax cuts. However, it is an oversimplification to solely blame presidents for debt incurred during their terms as some factors, such as pandemic relief spending, bipartisan support, and safety-net programs, also contribute to the national debt. The national debt has continued to increase under Biden’s tenure. Biden also claimed that his administration has added 800,000 new manufacturing jobs, which is a correct figure. The US economy added 791,000 manufacturing jobs from February 2021 to January 2024. Biden mentioned efforts to reduce prescription drug costs, stating that the Inflation Reduction Act has saved taxpayers and reduced the federal deficit by $160 billion. The law authorizes Medicare to negotiate drug prices, expected to save $98.5 billion over a decade, and requires drugmakers to pay a rebate if they raise prices faster than inflation, expected to save $63.2 billion over a decade. Biden claimed to have delivered real results in fiscally responsible ways and to have cut the federal deficit by over $1 trillion, leaving out critical context. While the deficit was lower in 2023 compared to previous years, Biden’s actions have contributed to the overall effect of worsening deficits. However, Biden’s policies have also boosted tax revenues and contributed to a strong economic recovery. Biden highlighted that the economy created a record 15 million jobs in the first three years of his term, which is accurate. However, it is important to consider the context of the pandemic’s impact on the job market. Lastly, Biden mentioned a report that found 55 large corporations made $40 billion in profit but paid no federal corporate income taxes in 2020. He claimed that his minimum corporate tax of 15% ensures big companies have to pay at least something. While the minimum tax reduces the number of non-paying companies, it does not eliminate the phenomenon entirely as it only applies to companies with at least $1 billion in average annual income.