Obama's shaky claims before Congress (updated)

Thomas Lifson
If I were president I'd make damn sure every claim I made in an address before a joint session of Congress was verifiable. Last night, President Obama made two very dubious claims.

The automobile was invented in America

Yes, Henry Ford made the automobile affordable for the masses, but the actual grunt work of inventing the automobile was done mostly in Germany. Sorry. Any machinery as complex as the automobile has many people contributing to the "invention" of the product. The heart of the auto is the engine, and most of the innovations came from Germans. If any single individual is credited with the first car, it is usually Karl Benz (as in Mercedes-Benz). Even the Library of Congress says so. They are conveniently located across the street from Congress, where Obama delivered his speech. An American, Charles Edgar Duryea, played a role in perfecting the invention.


Health care costs now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds

Dan Riehl crunches the numbers and calls the foul:

That could be called a gross exaggeration ... well actually, more like a lie.

Putting aside that it now seems impossible to lose your home in Oba-land, a bankruptcy every 30 seconds equals 2 a minute, = 120 an hour =  2889 a day = 1,051,200 a year.

According to the WaPo on January 4, 08 and CNN Money for 08 and 09 projected, while it likely justifies his annual number, health care isn't even listed in the items. It's all about credit abuse - a topic about which Obama now has no room to talk, thanks to his stimulus plan. Linking health care to personal bankruptcy right now seems to amount to taking advantage of the economic crisis. Like Rahm suggested, you can't let a good one go by without change. But his numbers combined with the health care reasoning don't come close to adding up. And History has shown a president willing to lie about facts could prove to be the biggest crisis of any one administration.

More than 800,000 personal bankruptcy filings were made in 2007, compared with more than 573,000 in 2006 -- the lowest level since 1998, according to data collected by the National Bankruptcy Research Center and published by the American Bankruptcy Institute, a research group in Alexandria.

 Samuel J. Gerdano, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute, said in a statement that the trend is likely to worsen this year as consumers' high debt loads are "made worse by the home mortgage crisis."

Personal bankruptcy filings for most of this decade had been much higher -- around 1.5 million annually. But after an eight-year campaign by banks, retailers and credit card companies, Congress in 2005 passed the biggest changes in U.S. bankruptcy laws in a quarter-century, mandating an income test to measure a debtor's ability to measure a debtor's ability to repay obligations. 
Update:

FactCheck.org, the Annenberg-supported organization, agrees, and cites other dubious claims too.

Update (hat tip: Mac Fuller):

Even the Associated Press (!) isn't buying some of the baloney. AP forbids websites from quoting it, so check out the source.
If I were president I'd make damn sure every claim I made in an address before a joint session of Congress was verifiable. Last night, President Obama made two very dubious claims.

The automobile was invented in America

Yes, Henry Ford made the automobile affordable for the masses, but the actual grunt work of inventing the automobile was done mostly in Germany. Sorry. Any machinery as complex as the automobile has many people contributing to the "invention" of the product. The heart of the auto is the engine, and most of the innovations came from Germans. If any single individual is credited with the first car, it is usually Karl Benz (as in Mercedes-Benz). Even the Library of Congress says so. They are conveniently located across the street from Congress, where Obama delivered his speech. An American, Charles Edgar Duryea, played a role in perfecting the invention.


Health care costs now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds

Dan Riehl crunches the numbers and calls the foul:

That could be called a gross exaggeration ... well actually, more like a lie.

Putting aside that it now seems impossible to lose your home in Oba-land, a bankruptcy every 30 seconds equals 2 a minute, = 120 an hour =  2889 a day = 1,051,200 a year.

According to the WaPo on January 4, 08 and CNN Money for 08 and 09 projected, while it likely justifies his annual number, health care isn't even listed in the items. It's all about credit abuse - a topic about which Obama now has no room to talk, thanks to his stimulus plan. Linking health care to personal bankruptcy right now seems to amount to taking advantage of the economic crisis. Like Rahm suggested, you can't let a good one go by without change. But his numbers combined with the health care reasoning don't come close to adding up. And History has shown a president willing to lie about facts could prove to be the biggest crisis of any one administration.

More than 800,000 personal bankruptcy filings were made in 2007, compared with more than 573,000 in 2006 -- the lowest level since 1998, according to data collected by the National Bankruptcy Research Center and published by the American Bankruptcy Institute, a research group in Alexandria.

 Samuel J. Gerdano, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute, said in a statement that the trend is likely to worsen this year as consumers' high debt loads are "made worse by the home mortgage crisis."

Personal bankruptcy filings for most of this decade had been much higher -- around 1.5 million annually. But after an eight-year campaign by banks, retailers and credit card companies, Congress in 2005 passed the biggest changes in U.S. bankruptcy laws in a quarter-century, mandating an income test to measure a debtor's ability to measure a debtor's ability to repay obligations. 
Update:

FactCheck.org, the Annenberg-supported organization, agrees, and cites other dubious claims too.

Update (hat tip: Mac Fuller):

Even the Associated Press (!) isn't buying some of the baloney. AP forbids websites from quoting it, so check out the source.