House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew the scorn of Republicans and their acolytes in the media for demonstrably tearing up her copy of President Donald Trump's printed State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
"I thought she was tearing up the Constitution," a trying-to-be-funny Vice President Mike Pence commented.
No, Mike, your guys have already done that.
The reason, I suspect, that Pelosi made a show of ripping the speech to shreds when Trump finished talking was because of what it contained — probably the biggest collection of half-truths and outright lies in the history of presidential speech making.
Let's make it clear — hyperbole and truth-stretching is something in which every politician, regardless of party, engages.
But, this one, who likes to proclaim that everything he does is a historic first, does make history with virtually every speech he makes or tweet he sends. Makes no difference how many times he's corrected, he repeats the same erroneous statements nonstop.
He keeps insisting, for instance, that since he became president and instituted his "bold regulatory reduction campaign," the U.S. has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world, "by far." Yes, it is, but to claim that this energy revolution began because of Trump policies is a lie. The U.S. has been number one in gas production since 2009 and number one in crude oil production since 2013, three years before he was elected.
And to claim that occurred because of "bold regulatory reduction" is absurd since the regulations under former President Barack Obama were the law back then.
But, that was a minor falsehood compared to his tall tales about the economy. Once again he claimed that his policies built jobs at a pace like never before. Truth is, the number of jobs created in the three years of his presidency is slightly below the number created during Obama's last three years.
While the stock market is considerably higher and unemployment much lower, the overall growth of the country's economy is remarkably similar to Obama's second term, averaging around 2.5%, not the 3-4% that Trump assured us he could easily achieve.
Let's look at what wasn't mentioned in the speech Nancy Pelosi tore up. Trump's "bold regulatory reductions" have reversed the progress the country was making in reducing greenhouse gases. Thanks to a rollback in environmental regulations, we're now emitting nearly 1% more carbon into the atmosphere. This at a time when climate change is melting the polar caps, catastrophic weather has become the normal and our coastal cities are threatened by higher seas.
Ill-advised trade policies have increased the trade deficit by 24% despite Trump's promises to bring it to zero.
Two million more people are without health insurance thanks to Trump's continued attacks on the Affordable Care Act. And he had the audacity to claim he would always protect insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, when his administration is in court to destroy the ACA and that protection.
And let's not forget the national debt.
While Trump was handed an economy that was humming along, he decided he could boost it by enacting a $1.5 trillion tax cut, mainly for big corporations and those in higher income brackets.
The result? The economy continued along at about the same pace. The national debt jumped by $2.8 trillion. It's now more than $23 trillion.
Any wonder why Nancy Pelosi tore up the speech?
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. email@example.com, 608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.
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