Fact Checking Biden’s 2022 State of the Union Address
In his state of the union address on March 1, 2022, President Biden detailed his administration's accomplishments in its first year. Here’s a look at some of the claims he made in his address, as fact-checked by CNN and CBS News.
Biden discussed sending aid to Ukraine, economic growth, and plans for infrastructure improvements and climate-friendly goals for the nation.
Biden claimed the U.S. added the most jobs in one year in the nation’s history
This is partially true, as 6.6 million new jobs were added. That's more than any year since 1939, when this metric was first recorded (so, not in the nation's history). Contextually, pandemic job losses prior to Biden taking office may be largely responsible for the recent job growth.
Biden claimed 2021 was the strongest economic year in four decades
This is true but needs context. The GDP grew by 5.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysts, the fastest since 1984. However, remember that, prior to this growth, the pandemic led to a contraction of the GDP in 2020. Also, inflation indicators from both the CPI and the Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditures price index rose.
No one earning less than $400,000 will pay more in taxes
Biden claimed people won’t pay “a single penny” more in taxes if they make less than $400,000 annually. This is true but also needs context. Two economic models showed that, based on direct income and payroll taxes, sub-$400,000 earners wouldn’t pay more in taxes. Some analysts believe people may indirectly be impacted, however, as corporate tax rate increases could reduce wages and earning power.
Biden claimed 55 Fortune 500 companies paid no federal taxes
This is generally true, but Biden was meant to say “federal income taxes” and not just “federal taxes,” noted CNN, which cited The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s report showing 2020 tax information for corporate federal income taxes.
President Biden stated that the U.S. is giving more than $1 billion in aid to Ukraine
According to a statement by secretary of state Antony Blinken, over $1 billion in security assistance was given to Ukraine over the past year. This figure doesn't include aid given since the Russian invasion.
The ruble dropped 30 percent and the Russian stock market dropped 40 percent
CBS News noted that this is true. During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the ruble dropped 30 percent based on data from Feb. 22 to March 2, and the Russian market dropped 40 percent between Feb. 16 and 24.
Biden's clean energy bill will save Americans an average of $500 per year
This is true, although Biden didn't clarify that the estimated $500 per year in savings are expected to come by the year 2030, not immediately. The clean energy bill could bring those savings largely via tax credits.
Biden claimed he will build a network of 500,000 EV charging stations
In pursuit of climate goals, Biden spoke of installing 500,000 EV (electric vehicle) charging stations on the nation’s roads. This forward-looking statement may be partially true, as the current bill allocates just $7.5 billion instead of the $15 billion originally planned for the EV chargers. Also, different chargers have different price tags, and states have some choice in what types to install.
He claimed that the government banned chokeholds for federal officers
This is true, but this does not apply to state and local law enforcement. The Justice Department stated in Sept. 2021 that neck restraints are banned “unless deadly force is authorized,” but only for federal police officers.
Biden claimed gun manufacturers make up the only industry that cannot be sued
This is false or misleading. Gun manufacturers are not exempt from being sued, and there are other industries with limits to liability. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 holds that gunmakers aren't liable if their products are used in crimes. Gunmakers can, however, be sued for other issues such as negligence or damages caused by gun design defects. Remington Firearms, for example, recently reached a $73 million settlement with families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims.