8 State of the Union Promises Obama Has Made

6. Sign an Executive Order to Help Construction. Obama in 2012: "In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects." Did it happen? Yes. On March 22, Obama signed an executive order to create a multi-agency steering committee to streamline federal construction contracting. Among other related goals, the committee was tapped to "significantly reduce the aggregate time required to make Federal permitting and review decisions on infrastructure projects while improving outcomes for communities and the environment."

7. Establish a Financial Crimes Unit. Obama in 2012: "We'll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people's investments." Did it happen? Yes. The Department of Justice had already created a Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, and the financial crimes unit, known officially as the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group, arose as a working-group within the task force, according to a Department of Justice official. The working group has hired about 200 dedicated staff of prosecutors, investigators, and other employees, the official said, and it has produced numerous recommendations in the past year.

8. End the High-Income Bush Tax Cuts, Close the Carried-Interest Loophole, and End Oil Incentives. Obama in 2010: "[A]t a time of record deficits, we will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it." Did it happen? No. Obama and Republicans agreed to a fiscal-cliff deal that allowed taxes to expire on married couples making over $450,000, not $250,000. They did not eliminate the "carried interest loophole" that allows hedge-fund managers to claim their pay as investment income, nor did they end domestic-production credits or other corporate tax incentives that help oil companies.

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