FactCheck.org http://www.factcheck.org A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:49:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 Trump Blasts Kaine for Syrian Refugee Plan http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trump-blasts-kaine-for-syrian-refugee-plan/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trump-blasts-kaine-for-syrian-refugee-plan/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:41:36 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111659 Donald Trump falsely claims that Tim Kaine signed a letter recently asking to bring in even more Syrian refugees to the U.S. than Hillary Clinton has proposed. But Kaine recently only asked President Obama to honor his commitment to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees.

Trump made his claim at the VFW National Convention on the night before Kaine is scheduled to accept the vice presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Trump, July 26: Hillary Clinton wants to bring in, if you can believe this, 550 percent more [Syrian refugees] than President Obama. More. And Tim Kaine wrote a letter very recently asking for more than even Hillary wants.

Trump frequently notes that Clinton wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees — above what Obama has authorized — by 550 percent. Clinton has said that she would admit as many as 65,000 refugees from Syria, which is a 550 percent increase from the 10,000 Syrian refugees that Obama said that he would authorize for admission in fiscal year 2016.

But did Kaine recently pen a letter seeking to admit even more Syrian refugees than Clinton called for? We reached out to the Trump campaign for support for the claim, but we did not hear back. And we could find no evidence of a letter that backs up Trump’s claim.

On May 18, Kaine was one of 26 senators who signed a letter to Obama calling on him to honor his pledge to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. this fiscal year. In the first seven months of the fiscal year so far, they noted, only 1,736 Syrians had been admitted to the U.S.

Letter to Obama, May 18: Last September you announced a plan to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States during fiscal year 2016. We appreciate your recent affirmation that “we can hit those marks before the end of the year.”

Nonetheless, we are deeply concerned about the slow pace of admissions for Syrian refugees in the first seven months of the fiscal year. During this timeframe only 1,736 Syrian refugees were admitted to the United States. By contrast, more than 6,000 refugees have been admitted from Burma, more than 5,000 refugees have been admitted from both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, and more than 4,000 refugees have been admitted from Iraq. To fulfill the commitment you announced last year, at least 8,264 Syrian refugees would need to be admitted during the remaining five months of the fiscal year. We would appreciate an update on specific measures your Administration plans to take to fulfill its stated commitment to resettle the additional Syrian refugees by the end of September 2016.

Kaine’s figure on the number of Syrian refugees accepted in the first seven months of the fiscal year was correct, but we note that in the two months since then, the U.S. accepted an additional 3,475 refugees from Syria, bringing the total for the first nine months to 5,211 as of the end of June. The letter makes the case for the need for the U.S. to open its doors to Syrian refugees, but does not place a figure on an appropriate number, let alone call for more than Clinton has.

Kaine has long made the case that the U.S. has a moral responsibility to take in more Syrian refugees.

In April 2015, Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Sens. Dick Durbin, Lindsey Graham and John McCain, sent a letter calling on Obama to create and enforce humanitarian safe zones to protect Syrian refugees.

The following month, on May 21, 2015, Kaine was among 14 senators who wrote to Obama, urging him to significantly increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle in the United States.

The letter asks Obama to accept “at least 50 percent of Syrian refugees whom UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] is seeking to resettle.” The UNHCR was seeking to resettle 130,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years — so that comes to 65,000 refugees, the same number that Clinton proposed accepting.

Letter to Obama, May 14, 2015: Indeed, we cannot expect countries hosting Syrian refugees to continue shouldering such a disproportionate burden if the United States and other industrialized countries do not begin resettling many more Syrian refugees. UNHCR is seeking to resettle 130,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years and has thus far submitted more than 12,000 resettlement cases to the United States for consideration. …

Following the international community’s tragic failure to shelter Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi genocide, the United States played a leadership role in establishing the international legal regime for the protection of refugees. Since that time, the American people have generously welcomed millions of refugees fleeing war and totalitarian regimes. In keeping with this history, we urge your Administration to work to accept at least 50 percent of Syrian refugees whom UNHCR is seeking to resettle, consistent with our nation’s traditional practice under both Republican and Democratic Presidents.

After the ISIS attacks in Paris, Kaine also warned that those attacks should not discourage the U.S. from accepting Syrian refugees.

Kaine, Nov. 18, 2015: And of course we must have the toughest screening process possible in terms of refugees coming here. But I worry that calls to end or pause our refugee resettlement program are misguided. The fact is that refugees are currently subject to the absolute highest level of security checks of any category of traveler coming to the U.S. — with special criteria in place for those coming from Syria on top of the normal procedures. Getting admitted as a refugee generally takes more than a year and a half and involves signoff from numerous agencies including the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the State Department and the Department of Defense.

Bottom line – it’s not easy to come into our country as a refugee, at all. But the notion of “no Syrian can ever come here” is antithetical to our values – especially when the innocent civilians and families seeking refuge in our country are fleeing the very violence and terror we saw in France and Lebanon that they experience every day in Syria.

So Kaine has a well-documented history of advocating the U.S. take in Syrian refugees. But we couldn’t find any evidence that he supports bringing in more than Clinton has proposed, nor that he wrote a recent letter to that effect.


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FactChecking Day 2 of the DNC http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/factchecking-day-2-of-the-dnc/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/factchecking-day-2-of-the-dnc/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:21:48 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111700 Summary

PHILADELPHIA — On a night headlined by President Bill Clinton’s admiration for his wife — the now official Democratic nominee — there was a less-than-glowing treatment of some facts.

  • Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean claimed that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “whole” health care plan was to replace the Affordable Care Act with “quote, ‘Something so much better.'” In fact, Trump has released a seven-point health care plan
  • Bill Clinton said that the United States’ approval rating soared 20 percentage points during the time that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. But analyses of the U.S.’s global ratings don’t support such a claim.
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder said “1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in their lifetimes,” an outdated projection based on the incarceration rate for black males as of 2001. That rate has declined since then.
  • Bill Clinton said that Arkansas schools went from “worst” when he started as governor to one of two “most improved,” and he gave Hillary Clinton much of the credit. The record is mixed: An expert did say in 1992 that the state had made progress, but the New York Times reported then that the state was “still near the bottom in most national ratings.”
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer repeated a convention talking point, claiming that Trump said that “wages are too high.” He was talking about a $15 minimum wage being too high.
  • Dean said that GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence “voted to end Medicare as we know it.” Pence did vote for a budget plan that called for a major change to Medicare, but it would have retained a health insurance system for seniors.

Note to Readers

This story was written with the help of the entire staff, including some of those based in Philadelphia who are at the convention site. As we did for the Republican National Convention, we intend to vet the major speeches at the Democratic National Convention for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.


Trump’s Health Care Plan

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said Donald Trump’s “whole plan” for health care was to replace Obamacare with “quote, ‘Something so much better.'” Dean added: “Six-word plan for health care.” In fact, Trump has more than 1,000 words on his plans for health care on his campaign website.

Dean: Now, Donald Trump has a plan, too. He would rip up Obamacare and throw 20 million people off their health insurance; Donald Trump will take us back to a time when insurance companies could deny you coverage if you have a preexisting condition, or he will take you back to the time where insurance companies could charge you more just because you are a woman. And what is he going to replace this with? Quote: “Something so much better.” “Yuge,” no doubt. That’s it. That’s the whole plan right there. Six-word plan for health care.

Dean was referring to comments from Trump at a debate in February, when he said, “We are going to replace Obamacare with something so much better.” Even then, he went on to say the replacement should rely on private insurance and do something to help low-income Americans. And in March, he released a seven-point plan.

It calls for: repealing the Affordable Care Act, allowing the sale of insurance across state lines, allowing individuals who buy their own health insurance to take a tax deduction for the cost of premiums, enabling health savings accounts that could be used by other family members or inherited by heirs, changing Medicaid to a block-grant program, instituting price transparency, and allowing the sale of imported drugs.

Trump’s plan calls these ideas “simply a place to start,” but it’s far from a “six-word plan.”

The list of proposals doesn’t include subsidies or other aid to low-income Americans. It doesn’t say anything about keeping the ACA provisions that Dean mentions — requiring insurance companies to cover those with preexisting conditions and not charge higher premiums based on gender. And an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget supports Dean’s claim that Trump’s repeal-and-replace plan would “throw 20 million people off their health insurance.”

CRFB said that the two aspects of the plan that would increase insurance coverage — selling insurance across state lines and allowing a tax deduction for premiums — would “only cover 5 percent of the 22 million individuals who would lose coverage upon the repeal of Obamacare.” That estimate relies on past figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on the impact of similar proposals.

So far, the number of uninsured has dropped by 15.2 million people since 2008, before President Obama took office, through 2015, according to the most recent data from the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Obama administration puts the total who have gained coverage under the ACA at 20 million through early 2016.

U.S. Approval Ratings

Bill Clinton said that the United States’ approval rating soared 20 percentage points during the time that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. But analyses of the U.S.’s global ratings don’t support such a claim.

Bill Clinton: That’s why the approval of the United States was 20 points higher when she left the Secretary of State’s office than when she took it.

Hillary Clinton served as the United States secretary of state from January 21, 2009, to February 1, 2013.

We asked the Clinton campaign to support this claim, but got no response.

But three different international polls show the country’s approval ratings went up during Clinton’s tenure, but then dipped again before the end of her term, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Politics.

Weighting the poll data from several different countries by their populations, Bloomberg found mixed results.

The Toronto-based GlobeScan poll, which asks whether the U.S. is “having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world,” found that sentiment improved during the first two years of Clinton’s tenure, but fell to nearly the point where it was when she took office.

The Pew Research Center, which asks, “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the U.S.?” found the favorability rating of the U.S. rose steeply in 2009 and continued to improve through April 2010. But then “net favorability fell steeply, and continued to decline until just after her departure,” Bloomberg stated.

Gallup’s U.S.-Global Leadership Project, which asks, “Do you approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of the United States?” didn’t start polling until August 2009, seven months after Secretary Clinton’s start date. Bloomberg found that from August 2009 until the summer of 2011, the Gallup measure declined — and then essentially remained flat for the next two years.

None of this supports former President Clinton’s claim of a 20-point boost in U.S. approval. Furthermore, none of the polls asked specifically about the role of the secretary of State, as opposed to that of her boss, President Obama.

Black Male Incarceration Rate

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said “1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in their lifetimes.” That’s an outdated projection that assumed the incarceration rate for black males as of 2001 would remain unchanged, when in fact it has declined.

Holder: At a time when our justice system is out of balance, when 1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in their lifetimes, and when black defendants in the federal system receive sentences 20 percent longer than their white peers, we need a president who will end this policy of over-incarceration.

It is accurate that black defendants in federal courts received sentences that are 19.5 percent longer than white defendants, according to a 2012 report by the Sentencing Commission, an independent agency within the judicial branch. In writing about the report, the Wall Street Journal said that the “racial gap has widened since the Supreme Court restored judicial discretion in sentencing in 2005.”

However, Holder’s statistic for the percentage of black males incarcerated over their lifetimes comes from a 2013 report by the nonprofit Sentencing Project, which advocates changing sentencing laws. The report made headlines, such as this one on Huffington Post: “1 In 3 Black Males Will Go To Prison In Their Lifetime, Report Warns.”

We looked into this statistic when Hillary Clinton cited it during a debate and found it was outdated. The report said, “If current trends continue, one of every three black American males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as can one of every six Latino males — compared to one of every seventeen white males.”

But that 1-in-3 estimate was based on an August 2003 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The BJS report projected that 32.2 percent of black males born in 2001 “are expected to go to prison during their lifetime, if current incarceration rates remain unchanged.” However, the incarceration rate for black males has declined since 2001.

The incarceration rate for black males was 3,535 per 100,000, or 3.5 percent, in 2001, (see Table 16), according to the annual Bureau of Justice Statistics report on prisoners. The most recent report put that figure at 2,724 per 100,000 black males, or 2.7 percent, in 2014. (See Table 10.)

Holder has a point that black males are overrepresented in state and federal prisons. The latest BJS report said, “On December 31, 2014, black males had higher imprisonment rates than prisoners of other races or Hispanic origin within every age group. Imprisonment rates for black males were 3.8 to 10.5 times greater at each age group than white males and 1.4 to 3.1 times greater than rates for Hispanic males.”

But the 1-in-3 statistic is outdated and not based on current incarceration rates.

Arkansas Schools’ Improvement

Pushing the theme that his wife is “the best darn change maker I have ever known,” Bill Clinton said that Arkansas schools went from “worst” when he started as governor to one of two “most improved,” and gave Hillary Clinton much of the credit.

But we find that the facts are not so clear.

Bill Clinton: Well, by the time I ran for president nine years later [in 1992], the same expert who said that we had the worst schools in America said that our state was one of the two most improved states in America. And that’s because of those standards that Hillary developed.

It’s true that Bill appointed Hillary as head of a state commission to study the issue of education standards. It’s also true that Bill Clinton worked to improve Arkansas schools. The New York Times, in an article summing up his record as governor when he was running for president in 1992, said:

New York Times, April 1, 1992: Arkansas has done much to improve its schools — increasing expenditures, requiring competency testing for teachers, broadening curriculums, setting new academic standards, slowing the dropout rate and encouraging greater college attendance.

The “expert” that Clinton mentioned was Kern Alexander, then a professor at the University of Florida. According to a 1992 article in Education Week, Alexander conducted a study commissioned by the Arkansas Legislature and concluded that, “from an educational standpoint, the average child in Arkansas would be much better off attending the public schools of almost any other state in the country.”

But in 1992, Alexander told Education Week, “I think he changed the attitude of that state toward education. …They have made enormous progress.”

What is the evidence of progress, aside from increased spending and teacher salaries? That same Education Week article said, “Statistical evidence indicates that [student] achievement has improved as well.”

Education Week, Feb. 5, 1992: In 1991, Arkansas students took far more advanced courses and 18 times as many Advanced Placement tests as they did in 1983. The high school graduation rate has risen steadily, and is the highest in the South. The percentage of students going on to college rose from 39 percent in 1981 to 52 percent last year.

Student competency-test pass rates have risen steadily since the tests were inaugurated in 1985. Percentile scores on nationally normed standardized achievement tests rose about 10 points from 1981 to 1991, and are now above 50 percent in every grade and subject.

On the other hand, the 1992 New York Times article said, “But even with all Mr. Clinton has done in 12 years as Governor, the Arkansas school system … is still near the bottom in most national ratings. And state officials acknowledge that real improvement is years away.”

The paper cited, for example, that the “cumulative test scores of Arkansas students who took one popular college-admittance test” fell from 20th among 28 states in 1979 to 25th in 1992. The state also ranked 48th in spending for each pupil, despite increased spending on education, the paper wrote.

“By most accounts Mr. Clinton’s efforts seem to have simply kept Arkansas, one of the nation’s poorest states, from falling even farther behind,” the Times wrote.

Trump on Wages, Again

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California said that Trump said that “wages are too high.” As we wrote on Day 1 of the convention, Trump was talking about a $15 minimum wage being too high, not all wages in general.

Boxer: We can count on Hillary to fight to raise the minimum wage. Her opponent says, “wages are too high.” Now, that’s un-American.

At a Nov. 10, 2015, debate hosted by Fox Business Network, Trump was asked if he was “sympathetic” to those who were calling for a $15 minimum wage. He responded that he “can’t be” and went on to say, “taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.”

Here’s the question and Trump’s full answer:

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Nov. 10, 2015: Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?

Trump: I can’t be Neil. And the and the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I’ve come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It’s going to be a tremendous plan. I think it’ll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.

Cavuto: So do not raise the minimum wage?

Trump: I would not do it.

Two days later in an interview with Bret Baier on Fox News, Trump made it clear that he was talking about a proposed minimum wage hike, not wages overall.

Baier, Nov. 12, 2015: In the debate you said wages are too high. What do you say to somebody in South Carolina where the median per capita income is only about $24,000 and wages are stagnant and costs are going up?

Trump: I didn’t say that. Bret, we were talking about the minimum wage.

Baier: Yes.

Trump: And they said should we increase the minimum wage? And I’m saying that if we’re going to compete with other countries, we can’t do that because the wages would be too high.

Ending Medicare ‘As We Know It’

Dean said that GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence “voted to end Medicare as we know it.” Pence supported Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which did call for a major change to Medicare, but it’s important to note the plan would have maintained a system to provide health insurance coverage to seniors.

Support for Ryan’s plan has been mischaracterized repeatedly by Democrats in the past as a vote to “end Medicare.” Dean moderated those claims by adding the words “as we know it.” It’s true that what Ryan proposed would have significantly changed the system for future beneficiaries — those under age 55 — to a premium-support plan in which seniors would select, with government subsidies, private plans on a Medicare exchange. But that initial proposal from Ryan would have kept traditional Medicare for all those who had been on it before the new premium-support plan was launched.

And Pence also supported a subsequent budget plan from Ryan the following year, which also included traditional Medicare as an option for future beneficiaries on the Medicare exchange. As a member of the House of Representatives, Pence voted for Ryan’s budget in 2011 and 2012.

— Eugene Kiely, with Brooks Jackson, Lori Robertson, Robert Farley, D’Angelo Gore and Jenna Wang


Trump, Donald. “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again.” donaldjtrump.com. accessed 27 Jul 2016.

Ferris, Sarah. “Trump: I’ll replace ObamaCare with ‘something terrific.’” The Hill. 29 Jul 2015.

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Analysis of Donald Trump’s Health Care Plan.” 9 May 2016.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Health Interview Survey. “Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2015.” May 2016.

FoxNews.com. “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Transcript. 12 Nov 2015.

WashingtonPost.com. “Who said what and what it meant: The 4th GOP debate, annotated.” 10 Nov 2015.

Robertson, Lori, et al. “Democratic Convention Day 1.” FactCheck.org. 26 Jul 2016.

Miller, Julie A. “With a Track Record on Education, Campaigner Clinton Speaks With Authority.” Education Week. 5 Feb 1992.

Ayers, Drummond Jr. “The 1992 Campaign: Candidate’s Record; Despite Improvements, the Schools In Arkansas Are Still Among Worst.” New York Times. 1 Apr 1992.

McIntyre, Alexander. “Did Hillary Clinton Really Restore America’s Reputation in the World?” Bloomberg Politics. 2 Jun 2016.

U.S. Sentencing Commission. “Demographic Differences in Sentencing.” Dec 2012.

Regarding Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System.” Sentencing Project. Aug 2013.

Knafo, Saki. “1 In 3 Black Males Will Go To Prison In Their Lifetime, Report Warns.” Huffington Post. 4 Oct 2013.

Kiely, Eugene et al. “FactChecking the Fourth Democratic Debate.” FactCheck.org. 18 Jan 2016.

Bonczar, Thomas P. “Prevalence of Imprisonment in the U.S. Population, 1974-2001.” Bureau of Justice Studies. Aug 2003.

Harrison, Paige M. and Allen J. Beck. “Prisoners in 2001.” Bureau of Justice Studies. Jul 2002.

Carson, E. Ann. “Prisoners in 2014.” Bureau of Justice Studies. Sep 2015.

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Democratic Convention Day 1 http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/democratic-convention-day-1/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/democratic-convention-day-1/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 06:24:27 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111568 Summary

PHILADELPHIA — The 2016 Democratic National Convention is underway, and the factual inaccuracies on the first night focused on income, college tuition and something the Republican ticket had said or done.

  • Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class.” But all income levels would get some tax relief under Trump’s plan.
  • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy wrongly claimed that Mike Pence, the GOP vice presidential nominee, “signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses.” The law said aborted or miscarried fetuses “must be cremated or interred” by the hospital or abortion facility.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton “will guarantee” free tuition at public colleges or universities for families with annual incomes of $125,000 or less. But free tuition is not guaranteed. States must put up matching funds for the students to receive free tuition.
  • Sens. Casey and Kirsten Gillibrand both claimed that Trump had said that wages are “too high.” Trump was specifically talking about a $15 minimum wage when he made that comment, not wages overall.
  • Sanders said the “top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent,” a statistic that has been questioned by economists at the Federal Reserve Board.
  • Sanders also said the “top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income,” but economists whose work Sanders has cited put the figure at 52 percent for 1993 to 2015.
  • Rep. Joe Kennedy III said Americans’ wages “have not budged in 40 years,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren said wages were “flat.” Wages plunged in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently have showed strong growth.

Note to Readers

This story was written with the help of the entire staff, including some of those based in Philadelphia who are at the convention site. As we did for the Republican National Convention, we intend to vet the major speeches at the Democratic National Convention for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.


Trump’s Tax Plan

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Donald Trump “would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class.” The wealthiest Americans would receive the largest tax cuts under Trump’s tax plan, but everyone would get some tax relief. Middle-income Americans would receive average tax cuts of about $2,700 in 2017 under Trump’s plan, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center.

Trump’s plan would, among other things, consolidate the current seven income tax brackets into four, with a top marginal rate of 25 percent (it’s currently 39.6 percent).

According to an analysis of the plan by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Trump’s proposal would “reduce taxes throughout the income distribution.” Nonetheless, the biggest cuts would come for the wealthiest Americans, in both raw dollars and as a percentage of income, the Tax Policy Center found. The top 1 percent, for example, would get an average tax cut of more than $275,000 (about 17.5 percent of after-tax income) in 2017.

But middle-income people would see a tax cut, too. “Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of about $2,700,or about 5 percent of after-tax income,” the Tax Policy Center concluded.

An analysis by the Tax Foundation reached a similar conclusion — the biggest gains in after-tax income would accrue to the wealthiest taxpayers under Trump’s proposal. But the plan “would cut taxes and lead to higher after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all levels of income.”

The Tax Foundation analyzed the plan’s impact with (dynamic) and without (static) taking into account the expected effect on the economy. On a static basis, middle-income taxpayers — between the 30th to 80th percentiles — would see an increase in their after-tax adjusted gross income of between 3 percent and 8.3 percent. Taking into account the positive effects on the economy that the tax cuts could be expected to stimulate, the Tax Foundation found middle-income taxpayers — between the 30th to 70th percentiles — would see a nearly 20 percent increase in after-tax adjusted gross income.

The Tax Foundation cautioned that the loss in revenue under Trump’s plan — even with expected benefits to the economy — would “increase the federal government’s deficit by over $10 trillion” over 10 years. One could argue that such large tax cuts might lead to spending cuts that disproportionately affect middle-income taxpayers. But Trump has not been specific about where he would begin making spending cuts.

Funerals for Miscarriages?

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy claimed that GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence “signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses, even in some cases, for a miscarriage.” That’s not so.

The controversial anti-abortion bill Malloy referred to, which Indiana Gov. Pence signed into law March 24, contained a provision stating that an aborted or miscarried fetus “must be cremated or interred,” and that the hospital or abortion facility (not the mother, as Malloy suggested) is responsible for the disposition.

Some have characterized this as fetuses receiving “what amounts to a funeral.” But that’s incorrect.

The word “funeral” refers to a ceremony, not to the burial or cremation that follows. For example, Dictionary.com defines “funeral” as “the ceremonies for a dead person prior to burial or cremation.” (Emphasis added is ours.)

And in fact, the Indiana law required no funeral ceremony. It even specified that the parents would not be required to provide a name for the fetus. A federal judge blocked the law from going into effect late last month.

Clinton’s Tuition Plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “will ​guarantee”​ free tuition at in-state public colleges or universities for families with incomes of $125,000 a year or less. But free tuition would not be guaranteed. States must put up matching funds for free tuition.

Also, the free-tuition plan would be phased in and not available to families earning as much as $125,000 until 2021.

Sanders mentioned the free-tuition plan in his speech as an example of how Clinton has adopted some of his ideas for the general election in a show of unity after the contentious primary.

Sanders: During the primary campaign, Secretary Clinton and I both focused on [college debt] but with different approaches. Recently, however, we have come together on a proposal that will revolutionize higher education in America. It will guarantee that the children of any family in this country with an annual income of $125,000 a year or less – 83 percent of our population – will be able to go to a public college or university tuition free.

Clinton announced her plan on July 6, but her plan calls for states to “step up and invest in higher education.” The New York Times wrote that “the federal government would provide tuition grants to states that agree to put up some matching money.”

The paper noted that “some experts said details of the initiative — including exactly how it would work and be paid for — were sketchy, and raised concerns that some states would decline to contribute money.”

More recently, Times columnist Kevin Carey wrote, “States will be able to opt out of the Clinton plan, just as a significant number have chosen not to accept large federal subsidies to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”

Also, free tuition would be gradually phased in, beginning with families earning $85,000 or less. “By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities,” Clinton’s plan says.

So Sanders overstates the impact of Clinton’s plan when he says it “will ​guarantee”​ free tuition for families with incomes of $125,000 a year or less. Actually, the plan “could eventually provide free in-state tuition to eligible students,” as the Times writes.

Trump on Wages

Two speakers claimed that Trump had said that wages are “too high” in the United States. Not exactly. Trump said that in response to a question about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sen. Casey said that Trump said, “Wages in America, quote, are too high,” and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York repeated the talking point, saying, “Donald Trump actually stood on a debate stage and said that wages are ‘too high.’”

At a Nov. 10, 2015, debate hosted by Fox Business Network, Trump was asked if he was “sympathetic” to those who were calling for a $15 minimum wage. He responded that he “can’t be” because the country “is being beaten on every front economically.” He went on to say, “taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.” The “it” was the federal minimum wage.

Here’s the question and Trump’s full answer:

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Nov. 10, 2015: Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?

Trump: I can’t be Neil. And the and the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I’ve come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It’s going to be a tremendous plan. I think it’ll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.

Cavuto: So do not raise the minimum wage?

Trump: I would not do it.

Trump was criticized for the comment and was asked about it two days later on Fox News. Trump said, “And they said should we increase the minimum wage? And I’m saying that if we’re going to compete with other countries, we can’t do that because the wages would be too high. … The question was about the minimum wage. I’m not talking about wages being too high, I’m talking about minimum wage.”

Trump’s original statement may not have been clearly worded, but the context, and his explanation two days later, show he was talking about a $15 minimum wage being too high, not all wages in the U.S. in general.

Sanders’ Wealth and Income Talking Point

Sanders continued to strain the facts about inequality of income and wealth, as he had done throughout his campaign.

Wealth: Sanders said the “top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.”

That’s a hotly debated claim. Sanders referred to a study by economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics and Political Science, first published in October 2014. Their study indeed concluded that as of 2012, the top 0.1 percent of American households held 22 percent of the nation’s personal wealth, while the bottom 90 percent held 23 percent.

However, as we reported last year, Saez and Zucman’s work has been criticized by economists at the Federal Reserve Board, which has conducted its own studies of the wealth held by U.S. households since the 1960s.

The Fed’s survey data put the share of wealth held by the top 0.1 percent at 14 percent, not 22 percent, and the Fed said that group’s share had grown at only half the rate that the Saez-Zucman study stated.

Furthermore, in a paper published in 2015, four Fed economists argue that the Saez-Zucman methodology has an “upward bias.” It is based on inferring wealth from the income reported on federal tax returns, but the Fed economists argue that this fails to capture untaxed cash benefits to middle-income families, such as employer-paid health insurance and employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare.

Income: Sanders also said the “top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income.” But that’s no longer so, even according to Saez and Zucman.

A June 2016 update by Saez now puts the percentage of income growth captured by the top 1 percent from 1993 to 2015 at 52 percent. That’s barely half — far below the 85 percent figure Sanders gave.

That same study also found “robust income growth for all groups” between 2013 and 2015, and said that for the bottom 99 percent, “incomes grew by 3.9% from 2014 to 2015, the best annual growth rate since 1999.”

So there is indeed evidence of large inequalities in the distribution of wealth and the growth of incomes. But Sanders exaggerates by using outdated or questionable data.

Roller-Coaster Wages

Rep. Joe Kennedy III said Americans’ wages “have not budged in 40 years,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his former law professor, said wages were “flat.” In fact, wages have had a roller-coaster ride during that time, and have been rising for years.

Kennedy: [Elizabeth Warren] taught us that [the law’s] impact lay not in classrooms or textbooks, but in a society where wages have not budged in 40 years.

Wages have more than “budged,” plunging in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently showing strong growth.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 12.46.34 AM

It’s true that real (inflation-adjusted) average weekly wages for rank-and-file, nonsupervisory workers were still 3.2 percent lower in June 2016 than they were 40 years earlier, in June 1976, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But they were anything but stagnant in the interim, dropping 16.6 percent between January 1976 to the low point in January 1996.

Since then, weekly paychecks for nonsupervisory workers have regained nearly all that loss, and the upward trend continues.

Warren repeated Kennedy’s claim during her own speech, saying that “wages stay flat” in America.

Warren: I mean look around — Americans bust their tails, some working two or three jobs, but wages stay flat.

Actually, real average weekly earnings climbed 8.6 percent in the past eight years, and 4.5 percent in the past four years.

Kennedy and Warren are not the only politicians to have made this incorrect claim recently. “Flat wages” is also a Clinton claim, as we wrote previously here and here, and we flagged Trump on his statement that “wages have not been raised” here.

— Robert Farley, with Eugene Kiely, Brooks Jackson, Lori Robertson and Jenna Wang


Making college debt-free and taking on student debt.” Press release. Hillary for America. Undated, accessed 26 Jul 2016.

Saul, Stephanie and Matt Flegenheimer. “Hillary Clinton Embraces Ideas From Bernie Sanders’s College Tuition Plan.” New York Times. 6 Jul 2016.

Carey, Kevin. “The Trouble With Hillary Clinton’s Free Tuition Plan.”  New York Times. 19 Jul 2016.

Hulse, Carl. “Candidates Join Clinton in Push for Tuition Plan Inspired by Sanders.” New York Times. 13 Jul 2016.

Donald J. Trump for President. “The Goals Of Donald J. Trump’s Tax Plan.” Accessed 25 Jul 2016.

Nunns, Jim, et al. “Analysis of Donald Trump’s Tax Plan.” Tax Policy Center. 22 Dec 2015.

Cole, Alan. “Details and Analysis of Donald Trump’s Tax Plan.” Tax Foundation. 29 Sep 2015.

Farley, Robert. “Trump on Clinton’s Tax Plans.” FactCheck.org. 28 Jun 2016.

FoxNews.com. “Special Report with Bret Baier” transcript. 12 Nov 2015.

WashingtonPost.com. “Who said what and what it meant: The 4th GOP debate, annotated.” 10 Nov 2015.

Saez, Emmanuel and Gabriel Zucman “Wealth Inequality in the United States Since 1913; Evidence From Capitalized Income Tax Data” National Bureau of Economic Research. Oct 2014.

Bricker, Jesse and Alice Henriques, Jacob Krimmel, and John Sabelhaus. “The Increase in Wealth Concentration, 1989-2013.” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Jun 2015.

Bricker, Jesse and Alice Henriques, Jacob Krimmel, and John Sabelhaus. “Measuring Income and Wealth at the Top Using Administrative and Survey Data.” Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-030. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. April 2015.

Saez, Emmanuel. “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (Updated with 2015 preliminary estimates.” 25 Jun 2016.

House Enrolled Act No. 1337.” Indiana General Assembly.

Wang, Stephanie. “Judge halts Indiana’s new abortion law.” Indianapolis Star. 30 Jun 2016.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National); Average Weekly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees, 1982-1984 Dollars.” Data extracted 26 Jul 2016.

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Clinton, Pence Mislead on Indiana Education http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/clinton-pence-mislead-on-indiana-education/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/clinton-pence-mislead-on-indiana-education/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 23:05:05 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111505 Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that the Republican vice presidential nominee, Gov. Mike Pence, “slashed education funding in Indiana.” But Pence claimed he made “record investments in education.” Clinton is wrong, and Pence is misleading.

The education budget under Pence would be a “record” in nominal dollars, but in inflation-adjusted dollars, it’s not. However, the numbers don’t show education funding has been “slashed” either: The budgets he has signed increased education funding, even in inflation-adjusted dollars.

‘Record’ Investments in Education? 

Clinton made the claim on July 23 in introducing her vice presidential running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who, contrary to the impression Clinton left, presided over a decline in education spending, in inflation-adjusted dollars, as governor of Virginia during the Great Recession.

Clinton: While Mike Pence slashed education funding in Indiana and gave more tax cuts to the wealthiest, Tim Kaine cut his own salary and invested in education from pre-k through college and beyond.

Pence made the opposite boast a few days earlier, on July 20, in his speech at the Republican convention.

Pence: In my home state of Indiana we prove every day that you can build a growing economy on balanced budgets, low taxes, even while making record investments in education and roads and health care.

Larry DeBoer, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, studies government budget issues and has written about state school funding. He shared a spreadsheet with us on Indiana education funding, which shows that the figure, for K-12 and higher education combined, was $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2011, the highest figure before Pence took office. Both the 2016 and 2017 budgets, as passed, are higher than that, at $9.8 billion and $10 billion, respectively.

But an increase in nominal dollars, year after year, isn’t unusual. As DeBoer said in an email to us, “Gov. Pence has made record investments in education in the sense that his budgets spend more on education than any in Indiana history. But given inflation, population growth and income growth, that would be true for almost anyone’s budgets.”

In fact, looking at funding figures dating back to 2000, the raw dollar amount for education went up every year except for two of them — both before Pence took office.

So, using nominal dollars isn’t the best way to measure whether a governor had a “record” in funding. Using inflation-adjusted dollars, DeBoer’s figures show the peak in education funding was in 2010, and the current fiscal year, 2017, which began July 1, stands 1.3 percent below that.

DeBoer noted that the difference isn’t large. “In real terms, and as a share of Indiana’s economy, education spending is a bit smaller than it was in 2010 and 2011,” DeBoer said. “I don’t think that counts as ‘slashed’ though.”

Education Funds Not ‘Slashed’

To look at whether Pence had “slashed education funding,” as Clinton claimed, we’d look at the first budget for which he was responsible. Pence took office in January 2013 and signed the 2014-2015 biennial budget in May of that year. Education funding for 2014 was higher, both in nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars, than it had been in 2013.

And the education funding numbers have gone up, in inflation-adjusted dollars, every year for 2015 through 2017. All told, education funding has increased 5.6 percent under Pence, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

We could also look at overall per-pupil spending for elementary and secondary schools, and that figure dipped slightly in Pence’s first budget, going from $9,566 in fiscal 2013 to $9,548 in 2014, the most recent numbers available from the Census Bureau. Those numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation.

How does the Clinton campaign figure he “slashed” funding? It points to specific cuts to certain aspects of education funding.

The Clinton camp sent us news articles about the way K-12 education funding is distributed in Indiana under Pence’s latest 2016-2017 budget. Some schools, in suburban areas, got increases in funding, while urban schools saw reductions, a change based on the growth or reduction in enrollment levels, and a change Republican lawmakers advocated to narrow a gap in per-student funding.

An April 30, 2015 Indianapolis Star article reported on a “modest” increase in K-12 education funding overall in the budget — it’s a 2.3 percent annual increase each year — but also noted that urban school funding was “slashed.”

Indianapolis Star, April 30, 2015: Fast-growing suburban schools would see increases in funding while poorer, urban districts would see their budgets slashed by millions of dollars.

The funding amounts to a reduction of a couple hundred dollars per student in urban districts, another Star article explained, but all told that adds up to millions of dollars, a $17 million reduction for Indianapolis Public Schools, for instance. Suburban districts saw increases in per-student amounts.

Chalkbeat Indiana, a nonprofit covering public education in the state, calculated that all of the 25 highest-family-income school districts would get more state money per-student under the budget, while 12 of the 25 lowest-family-income schools would get a boost in funding.

But Clinton didn’t say she was criticizing cuts to some schools in Indiana — instead she said that Pence had “slashed education funding.” And overall, that funding has gone up under Pence.

The Clinton campaign also notes that Pence cut $27 million from higher education in fiscal 2014 to help close a budget shortfall. Lower-than-expected tax revenues led Pence to sell the state executive plane, ask state agencies to cut 1.5 percent and state universities to cut 2 percent of their operational budgets, as the Indianapolis Star reported. (Clarification, July 26: Earlier in the year, the state had asked agencies to hold back 3 percent, so it was a total cut of 4.5 percent for state agencies.)

But that amount of a cut wouldn’t put the total education funding budget, or even the higher education budget alone, below the previous year’s, even in inflation-adjusted dollars.

State budget director Brian Bailey told the Star that the higher education budget had been 5.4 percent above the previous year’s, so a 2 percent cut would still amount to an increase for the year overall. That 5.4 percent figure matches the inflation-adjusted figures we had from DeBoer.

And finally, the campaign provided news stories on Pence deciding not to apply for an $80 million federal grant for preschool funding, citing concern about “strings” attached to federal money. But that’s not a slashing of state funding; it’s not applying for additional federal money.

The Clinton campaign is free to take issue with that decision, as well as how Indiana is now distributing K-12 education money, but the numbers on the state education budget show that Pence hasn’t “slashed” that funding. In fact, he has increased it. The numbers also show he has not set a “record” for education funding when adjusted for inflation, the best way to compare such figures. Both sides are distorting the facts.

As for Clinton’s claims about her running mate, Kaine did cut his salary, by 5 percent when facing a budget gap in 2007 and 2008, a measure that has been employed by other governors as well. And he expanded the state’s preschool program, and signed a bond bill in 2008 to fund construction projects at state higher education institutions.

But overall state education funding under Kaine went down, in inflation-adjusted dollars, by 4.3 percent from 2006, the fiscal year that began before he took office, to 2010, the last budget he signed. Those numbers come from the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a left-leaning think tank. (That does not include proposed education cuts in Kaine’s last budget, which was amended and signed by his successor, Bob McDonnell, as we have written before.)

Kaine’s gubernatorial tenure came during the 2007-2009 Great Recession, while Pence’s has been during a time of economic recovery – making a comparison of their education-spending records difficult to say the least. But Clinton herself draws such a comparison in her remarks.



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Trump on Tim Kaine’s Gifts http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trump-on-tim-kaines-gifts/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trump-on-tim-kaines-gifts/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 15:19:40 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111515 On Twitter and TV, Donald Trump falsely claimed that former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine “took far more money” in gifts than another former Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, who was convicted on bribery charges — a conviction later overturned by the Supreme Court.

Trump compared Kaine — Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president — to McDonnell, who was convicted in 2014 of taking more than $175,000 in loans and gifts from a businessman without disclosing them. As lieutenant governor and governor, Kaine reported accepting gifts worth about $161,000. But much of the money came from political committees for travel expenses and Kaine disclosed them as required by law.

On July 23, Trump tweeted — and later deleted — this: “Why did Tim Kaine have no problem when he took far more money as Governor of Virginia than Bob McDonald. Crooked Hillary & rigged system!” Trump meant McDonnell, not “McDonald,” as he made clear the next day on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Trump told host Chuck Todd, “Bob McDonnell took a fraction of what Kaine took.”

Todd pointed out that Kaine’s gifts were legal and properly reported. The two men had the following exchange, which began with Todd asking Trump why he loves that Clinton selected Kaine to be on the Democratic ticket:

Trump, July 24: Well, first of all, he took over $160,000 of gifts. And they said, “Well, they weren’t really gifts, they were suits and trips and lots of different things,” all for 160–

Todd: Legal, legal in the state of Virginia.

Trump: Bob McDonnell– I believe it was Bob McDonnell, in the meantime, he had to go to the United States Supreme Court to get out of going to jail–

Todd: Well, they proved to quid pro quo–

Trump: –for taking a fraction of what–

Todd: They proved quid pro quo on that one.

Trump: Excuse me, Bob McDonnell took a fraction of what Kaine took. And I think, to me, it’s a big problem. Now, how do you take all these gifts? Hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Trump gets the dollar amounts wrong. It was actually McDonnell who took more in gifts and loans.

In overturning McDonnell’s conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that the value of the loans and gifts at issue in the case was “over $175,000.” Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who at the time was chief executive of Star Scientific, gave McDonnell a Rolex watch and agreed to provide a $50,000 loan and a $15,000 gift to help pay for the wedding for McDonnell’s daughter, among other gifts, according to the court ruling.

Nevertheless, the court ruled that prosecutors overreached in contending that five “official acts” taken by McDonnell on behalf of William and Star Scientific amounted to bribery.

“There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that, “Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. “But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”

In a July 24 article, the New York Times wrote than Kaine received more than $160,000 in gifts, citing the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. The group on its website places the exact amount as $161,033, based on public records.

“Tim Kaine reported these items on Schedule D-1 (paid conferences) and Schedule E (gifts) in his personal finance disclosures,” the Virginia Public Access Project site says.

The Times story notes that some of Kaine’s gifts were given by those with business before the state, including four cases of wine from a lobbying firm that “worked closely with Mr. Kaine’s office to create a new system for distributing wine produced” by the state’s small vineyards. Kaine reported the value of the wine at $720.

Kaine also stayed for a week on the Caribbean island of Mustique, courtesy of businessman James B. Murray Jr., the paper wrote. Kaine reported the vacation’s value at $18,000.

However, the Virginia Public Access Project’s website shows that many of the gifts were from political organizations.

For example, the top two “gift givers” were Obama for America ($45,075), which was the official campaign committee of Barack Obama, and Moving Virginia Forward PAC ($20,025), Kaine’s leadership PAC. The Democratic Party of Virginia ($10,830), the Arizona Democratic Party ($3,957), Mark Warner’s U.S. Senate campaign ($2,588) and the West Virginia Democratic Party ($1,233)  were also among the gift givers.

The gifts alone from these six political organizations, which covered Kaine’s travel and hotel accommodations for political events, accounted for half of the $161,000 reported by Kaine.

So Trump is not only wrong when he said Kaine “took far more money” than McDonnell, but much of what Kaine reported reflected routine political travel.


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Clinton’s Greatest Hits http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/clintons-greatest-hits/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/clintons-greatest-hits/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 13:02:45 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=110579 In advance of the Democratic National Convention, which begins July 25 in Philadelphia, we present a wrap-up of some of the more egregious falsehoods from Hillary Clinton, who is set to accept her party’s nomination for president later this week.

We focused on claims most relevant for the general election and those that Clinton has repeated, or that could likely be repeated by her or others this week. For more on each statement, follow the links to our full stories. And all of our articles on Clinton can be found here.

We posted an article on claims by Donald Trump, the GOP nominee for president, on July 17 in advance of the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Claims About Her Emails

The New York Times on March 2, 2015, reported that Clinton “exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state.” The emails were stored on a private server at her New York home. At the State Department’s request, Clinton turned over 30,490 work-related emails totaling roughly 55,000 pages, and deleted 31,830 emails she deemed personal. Clinton’s defense of her unusual email arrangements resulted in numerous false and misleading claims. 

Clinton said she “fully complied with every rule that I was governed by” in preserving her emails. But department policy says all “correspondence and memorandums on substantive U.S. foreign policy issues” should be retained “at the end of the Secretary’s tenure or sooner.” Clinton left office Feb. 1, 2013; she gave her emails to the department on Dec. 5, 2014. The department’s Office of Inspector General in a May 26 report confirmed that “Clinton should have surrendered all [work-related] emails” before leaving government and, by not doing so, “she did not comply” with the Federal Records Act.

Clinton claimed the “vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately” by the State Department. The department’s IG report said that is “not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record.”

Clinton has frequently remarked that her decision to use a personal email account exclusively for government business was “allowed” and “permitted” by the State Department. But the IG report cited department policies dating to 2005 that require “normal day-to-day operations” to be conducted on government servers. The IG report also said Clinton, who was secretary of state from January 2009 to February 2013, “had an obligation” to discuss her email system with security and information technology officials, but she did not and, if she had, the request would have been denied.

Clinton said “turning over my server” to the government shows “I have been as transparent as I could” about her emails. But she did so in August of 2015 after the FBI opened an investigation. Five months earlier, she rejected calls to turn over the server to a neutral party, saying “the server will remain private.”

Clinton has said that previous “secretaries of state” did the “same thing” in using personal emails for government business. But the State Department has said that only Colin Powell used a personal email account for official business, and Powell did not use a private server. In addition, the IG report said the rules governing personal email and the use of nongovernment systems were “considerably more detailed and more sophisticated” during Clinton’s tenure, making comparisons to her predecessors invalid. “Secretary Clinton’s cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives,” the report said.

“Clinton Spins Immigration, Emails,” July 8, 2015

“More Spin on Clinton’s Emails,” Sept. 8, 2015

“IG Report on Clinton’s Emails,” May 27, 2016

Clinton has repeatedly denied mishandling classified information. At a March 10, 2015, press conference, she said, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” But FBI Director James Comey said that the FBI found that about 2,000 of the 30,490 emails Clinton turned over to the State Department contained classified information, including 110 emails that contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. In addition, the FBI recovered “several thousand” emails that Clinton did not turn over to the State Department, including three that had classified material. Finally, Comey said three emails had “portion markings” that indicated the presence of classified information, although the State Department has since said that at least two of them were marked in error.

Clinton said her lawyers “went through every single email” on her private server to determine which ones were personal and which were work-related, and that they were “overly inclusive” in which ones were provided to the State Department. But Comey said the lawyers did not go through every email. Rather, they used header information and search terms to identify work-related emails, and, he said, it is “highly likely” they missed some.

“Clinton’s Handling of Classified Information,” July 5, 2016

“Revisiting Clinton and Classified Information,” July 7, 2016

Claims About Trump

Clinton has falsely claimed that Trump cited hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow when “asked about his foreign-policy experience.” She was referring to a Trump interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier. But Baier never asked Trump for an example of his foreign-policy experience. Baier asked Trump whether he had talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump refused to answer, and went on to say that “I know Russia well” because “I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago,” referring to the 2013 pageant. Clinton recently repeated the false claim, saying Trump “says he’s qualified to be commander in chief because he took Miss Universe to Moscow.”

“Pageants and Foreign Policy, ” June 10

“Groundhog Friday,” July 15

At a campaign rally in Kentucky, Clinton said that she “read” that Trump “said he wants to … abolish the VA.” That claim, which Clinton said she did not verify, was based on a Wall Street Journal article that said Trump’s campaign co-chair and chief policy adviser indicated that Trump “would likely push VA health care toward privatization and might move for it to become more of an insurance provider like Medicare rather than an integrated hospital system.” But the same policy adviser told the paper that Trump doesn’t “want to take away the veterans hospitals and the things that are working well.” In fact, in a speech last year, Trump said, “I don’t want to get rid of it,” when talking about the Department of Veterans Affairs and its health care system.

“Trump ‘Wants to Abolish VA’?” May 20

Clinton also went too far in a CBS News interview when she claimed that Trump said “we should pull out of NATO.” Trump has said that he would “certainly look at” pulling the United States out of the international security alliance because it is “obsolete” and “is costing us a fortune.” But Clinton’s campaign provided nothing indicating that Trump advocates pulling out now.

“What’s Trump’s Position on NATO?” May 11

In a speech criticizing Trump, Clinton again twisted the Republican nominee’s words when she claimed that he said “women will start making equal pay as soon as we do as good a job as men.” Trump doesn’t support equal pay legislation, but he has said that he believes in paying people based on performance rather than gender.

“Clinton’s Equal Pay Claim,” June 23


Clinton, pushing for changes to background checks, falsely claimed that the FBI needed “just one more day” to stop Dylann Roof from being able to purchase the handgun that he allegedly used to kill nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. One more day wouldn’t have mattered in that case. The FBI director said that clerical errors led to Roof being able to legally purchase the gun in April 2015, and the FBI didn’t confirm that the sale shouldn’t have been allowed until after the shooting two months later.

“Clinton’s ‘Charleston Loophole’ Claim,” Feb. 18

 Health Care

Clinton, at a Democratic debate, claimed that private insurance premiums have “gone up so much” in some states that didn’t expand Medicaid because hospitals shifted their costs for providing emergency care for the uninsured. In doing so, she was singling out Republican-controlled states. But we found no evidence to support that claim, and experts disagree on whether such cost shifting occurs.

“Clinton’s Shaky Cost-Shifting Claim,” Dec. 23

A Clinton TV ad made the misleading claim that “in the last seven years drug prices have doubled.” To support that claim, her campaign cited a report that said brand-name drug prices, on average, have more than doubled in that time. But more than 80 percent of filled prescriptions are for generic drugs, the prices of which have declined by nearly 63 percent, according to the same report.

“Clinton’s Misleading Ad on Drug Prices,” Jan. 7

During another Democratic debate, Clinton defended the Affordable Care Act by saying, “We now have driven costs down to the lowest they’ve been in 50 years.” Instead of going down, costs have continued to increase, although at historically low rates. Also, economists say the cause of the slowdown was mainly the economy — not the actions of politicians or the Affordable Care Act.

“FactChecking the Fourth Democratic Debate,” Jan. 18

Clinton claimed a recent study showed “white middle-aged Americans without a high school education … are dying earlier than their parents and their grandparents.” The study found an increased mortality rate since 1999 among middle-aged white Americans with a high school degree or less — not just those without a high school education — and it made no comparisons with past generations. Princeton economist Angus Deaton, a co-author of that study, told us his work “doesn’t establish any of what she says.”

“FactChecking the MSNBC Democratic Forum,” Nov. 9


Clinton has continued to make variations of the false statement that “Americans haven’t had a raise in 15 years.” The latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show real average weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees have actually gone up 9 percent since January 2001.

“Groundhog Friday,” July 1

“FactChecking the Sixth Democratic Debate,” Feb. 12

Clinton has repeatedly made the claim that the U.S. economy does better when a Democratic president is in the White House, citing research by two Princeton economists who do not credit Democratic fiscal policies for the economic growth.

“Clinton: Economy Better Under Democrats,” Oct. 20

In addition, Clinton has often wrongly said that “the average American CEO makes 300 times more than the typical American worker.” Clinton was referring to a study that looked at pay disparity between CEOs and average workers only at the top 350 companies. That’s a small fraction of the 246,240 chief executives in the U.S., who, on average, earn far less than the average CEO at the biggest 350 firms.

“Clinton Misuses Stat on CEO Pay,” May 21

Wall Street

Arguing that she has been tough on Wall Street, Clinton falsely stated that she is “the only candidate” in the presidential campaign “on either side” who has been attacked in advertising funded by “Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers.” Actually, several candidates have been the target of ads funded in part by those in the financial industry, and Trump appeared at that time to be the top target.

“Clinton Wrong About Wall Street Attacks,” April 5

Prior to that, Clinton said that “the Wall Street guys are trying so hard to stop me.” But Clinton and political action committees that support her have raised more than $39 million from Wall Street workers in the securities and investment industry, the most of any candidate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“FactChecking the MSNBC Democratic Debate,” Feb. 5

Clinton distorted the facts when she claimed Bernie Sanders “took about $200,000 from Wall Street firms” through the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The DSCC did provide about $200,000 to support Sanders’ 2006 Senate race, and the DSCC did receive about $10 million from the political action committees and employees of companies in two financial industries: securities and investment, and commercial banks. But the DSCC also received $2 million in that campaign cycle from Clinton’s PAC, Friends of Hillary. By Clinton’s logic, Sanders “took about $200,000″ from Friends of Hillary.

“Clinton’s Exaggerated Wall Street Claim,” Feb. 11


Clinton was flat out wrong when she told a “Good Morning America” town hall participant that “you can’t do any research about” marijuana because it’s a Schedule I drug. That classification makes it difficult, but not impossible, to conduct research on the substance.

“Clinton on Marijuana Research,” April 22

Clinton was also off in another interview when she said late-term abortions “are because of medical necessity.” That gave the impression that most, if not all, late-term abortions are medically necessary. What little data that exist on the topic do not support her claim.

“Clinton Off on Late-Term Abortions,” Sept. 29

Foreign Policy

Clinton claimed that all government investigations into the terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi concluded that “nobody did anything wrong” at the State Department. But an independent board found “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels.” Four State Department employees were placed on administrative leave on the day the report came out, and all four were later reassigned. Also, a bipartisan Senate report said department officials ignored “increasingly dangerous threat assessments” that indicated the Benghazi facility was “particularly vulnerable.” That report said the department should have increased security or “closed or temporarily shut down” its Benghazi mission, calling the decision to leave the facility open “a grievous mistake.”

“Clinton and the Benghazi Reports,” Oct. 7

A TV ad from the Clinton campaign said that she was responsible for “securing a massive reduction in nuclear weapons” as secretary of state. That’s an overstatement. The agreement, known as New START, does not require the U.S. or Russia to destroy nuclear warheads or reduce their nuclear stockpile, nor does it place limits on short-range nuclear weapons. Besides, Russia was below the limit for deployed strategic, or long-range, nuclear warheads when the treaty took effect in 2011, and it has increased them since then.

“Clinton Overstates Nuclear Achievement,” April 27

And more than once, Clinton revised history when she claimed that she said she had “hoped” that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be the “gold standard” of trade agreements. What Clinton originally said in 2012 was that “[t]his TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.”

“FactChecking the Democratic Debate,” Oct. 14

— By D’Angelo Gore and Eugene Kiely, with the staff of FactCheck.org

Editor’s Note: D’Angelo Gore, Robert Farley and Eugene Kiely will be covering the Democratic convention in Philadelphia for FactCheck.org from July 25 to July 28. 

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Trump Defends Oswald Claim http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trump-defends-oswald-claim/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trump-defends-oswald-claim/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 21:38:22 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111466 Donald Trump doubled down on his baseless insinuation that a photograph published by the National Enquirer shows Ted Cruz’s father with “crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast.”

A day after accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Trump touted the national tabloid as a credible source worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, and said the newspaper would not have run the photo if it was “wrong.” Moreover, Trump said, the Cruz camp “never denied” that it was Rafael Cruz in the photo with the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

That’s all nonsense.

As we wrote on May 3, the thinly sourced story hangs largely on comments from an expert who told the paper that a photo of an unidentified man handing out pro-Fidel Castro leaflets with Oswald has “more similarity than dissimilarity” with a passport photo of Cruz’s father, Rafael.

The photo expert, Mitch Goldstone, president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos, a California-based digitizing photo service, was quoted in the Enquirer story — “Ted Cruz Father Linked to JFK Assassination!” — as saying, “[I]t looks to be the same person and I can say as much with a high degree of confidence.”

Note the parsing of words. He wasn’t saying with a high degree of certainty that it is Rafael Cruz. He’s saying with a high degree of certainty that it “looks to be the same person.”

Goldstone told us in a phone interview that he never claimed the man in the picture with Oswald was definitely Rafael Cruz, and he called Trump’s unqualified assertion that it is Cruz “stupid.” Goldstone said he compared, by eye, the photo of the unidentified man in the picture with Oswald with a passport photo of a young Rafael Cruz, and concluded “They look pretty close.”

That’s the thin reed upon which this story hangs.

Nonetheless, Trump proclaimed in a May 3 interview on “Fox and Friends” that Cruz’s “father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot! I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous … And nobody even brings it up. I mean, they don’t even talk about that, that was reported and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s horrible, I think it’s absolutely horrible, that a man can go and do that, what he’s saying there.”

Trump later added, “I mean what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the death – before the shooting? It’s horrible.”

The day after his controversial convention speech, Cruz said those comments by Trump played a role in his decision not to endorse Trump.

“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and who attack my father,” Cruz said.

The day after his convention speech, in remarks to supporters in Cleveland, Trump fired back at Cruz, saying, “I don’t want his endorsement. If he gives it, I will not accept it.” Trump then launched into a defense of an unflattering image of Cruz’s wife that Trump retweeted,  as well as his comments about Cruz’s father.

“All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer, there’s a picture of him [Rafael Cruz] and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast,” Trump said. “I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that frankly in many respects, should be very respected. They got O.J. They got Edwards. They got this. I mean, if that was the New York Times, they would have gotten Pulitzer prizes for their reporting.”

Although Trump said the photo showed the two “having breakfast,” the picture in question actually shows Oswald distributing pro-Castro literature in New Orleans in August 1963, a few months prior to Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. According to the Miami Herald, another man in the picture was never identified by the Warren Commission, whose investigation concluded Kennedy was assassinated by Oswald and that Oswald acted alone.

In his post-convention remarks, Trump said the whole issue “had nothing to do with me, except I might have pointed it out.” No “might” about it. Trump did “point it out” on national TV, and he definitively proclaimed the man in the picture to be Rafael Cruz, even though the text of the National Enquirer story doesn’t go quite that far.

Trump went on to say that neither Cruz nor anyone in his camp ever denied that it was Rafael Cruz in the photo.

“Now, Ted never denied that it was his father,” Trump said in his post-convention remarks, adding later, “But they never denied. Did anybody ever deny that it was the father? They’re not saying, ‘Oh, that’s not really my father.’ It’s little hard to do. It looks like him.”

In fact, they have.

“This is another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage,” Communications Director Alice Stewart told McClatchy. “The story is false; that is not Rafael in the picture.”

“It’s ludicrous, it’s ludicrous,” Rafael Cruz told ABC News on May 3. “I was never in New Orleans at that time.”

Ted Cruz dismissed the Enquirer story as “idiotic” and called Trump a “pathological liar” who is “utterly amoral” and a “bully.”

“Donald Trump alleges that my dad was involved in the assassinating JFK,” Cruz said. “Now, let’s be clear, this is nuts. This is not a responsible position. This is just kooky.”

As for Trump’s claim that the unidentified man in the photo with Oswald “looks like” Rafael Cruz, experts told us not to put much stock in that kind of assessment.

Anil Jain, a computer scientist and expert on facial recognition and biometric identification at Michigan State University, told us the images are of a poor quality, black and white, and grainy, and that “It would be very difficult, even for a photo expert, to extract facial attributes.” Any conclusion about similarities is subjective, he said.

So to sum up: despite Trump’s claim to the contrary, the Cruz campaign categorically denied that it is Rafael Cruz in the photo. And Ted Cruz called the Enquirer story “nuts.” And there is still no evidence — at all — that the man in the photo with Oswald is Rafael Cruz.


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FactChecking Trump’s Big Speech http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/factchecking-trumps-big-speech/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/factchecking-trumps-big-speech/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 08:02:32 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111401 Summary

CLEVELAND — In accepting his party’s nomination for president, Donald Trump said “here, at our convention, there will be no lies.” But we found plenty of instances where Trump twisted facts or made false claims.

  • Trump said after Clinton’s four years as secretary of state, “Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons.” But Iran was already on a path to acquiring nuclear weapons. At issue is whether the nuclear deal will prevent Iran, as intended, from becoming a nuclear power.
  • He also blamed Clinton for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. But Clinton and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates both urged President Obama not to be quick to abandon support for Mubarak.
  • Trump claimed Clinton “plans a massive … tax increase,” but tax experts say 95 percent of taxpayers would see “little or no change” in their taxes under Clinton’s plan.
  • He correctly noted a 17 percent increase in homicides in the 50 largest cities from 2014 to 2015, but called it a reversal after a decades-long decline in crime. Experts say that’s not enough data to draw conclusions about a trend.
  • Trump claimed Clinton “illegally” stored emails on her private server while secretary of state, and deleted 33,000 to cover-up “her crime.” But the FBI cleared Clinton of criminal wrongdoing, and found no evidence of a cover-up.
  • Trump said that “there’s no way to screen” Syrian refugees to determine “who they are or where they come from.” But all refugees admitted to the U.S. go through an extensive vetting process that takes 18 to 24 months to complete.
  • He said the “trade deficit in goods … is $800 billion last year alone.” It was nearly that, but it discounts the services the U.S. exports. The total trade deficit for goods and services is just over $500 billion.
  • Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, also spoke, and he erroneously claimed that the Iran nuclear deal “lined the pockets of the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism with your money.” The assets that were unfrozen by the deal weren’t held by the U.S. government.

That’s not all: Trump made other factual errors and omissions on NAFTA, Libya, household income, government regulation and the Affordable Care Act.

Note to Readers

Our managing editor, Lori Robertson, is on the scene in Cleveland. This story was written with the help of the entire staff, based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Next week, we will dispatch our staffers in Philadelphia for the Democratic convention. We intend to vet the major speeches at both conventions for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.


Foreign Policy Flubs

Trump criticized Hillary Clinton’s performance as secretary of state, contrasting the state of foreign affairs now with what they were like “pre-Hillary,” as he called it:

  • Trump said, “Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons.” But Iran was already on a path to nuclear weapons before Clinton became secretary of state in January 2009. 
  • Trump also said, “Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood.” True, but it was through an election after an uprising against President Hosni Mubarak. Clinton and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates both wrote that they urged President Obama not to be quick to abandon support for Mubarak.

The disagreement between Trump and Clinton on Iran’s nuclear ambitions is over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is designed to lengthen the so-called “breakout” time — the amount of time that it takes to assemble a bomb.

Prior to the agreement, the breakout time was thought to be months, but now it is more than a year for at least 10 years, as the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service explains in its May report “Iran Nuclear Agreement.”

However, critics, such the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, say that delay is only temporary — a position shared by Trump and many Republicans.

“While the agreement lengthens Iran’s breakout time today, restrictions on Iran’s program begin to lift within a decade,” AIPAC said earlier this month to mark the one-year anniversary of the deal. “After 15 years Iran will be a nuclear-threshold state: no restrictions will remain on the number or type of centrifuges Iran will be able to install or the number of enrichment facilities it can build.”

But Iran was on a path to a nuclear weapon before Obama took office. The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency has been concerned since 2002 about what it called the “possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.”

In a Nov. 8, 2011, report, the IAEA reported, “Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information.”

In November 2008, the New York Times reported that Iran had enough nuclear material to make a bomb, citing expert analysis of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The issue now is how that path has been altered, for better or worse, by the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration and supported by Clinton (who left the State Department in February 2013, more than two years before the Iran deal was struck).

As for Egypt, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president of Egypt. That was a year after citizen protests forced longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign from office. A year after his election as president, Morsi was then overthrown by the Egyptian military and replaced by interim president Adly Mansour, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court. Current Egyptian Presdident, Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, was elected to that office a year later.

In his book “Duty,” Gates was critical of Obama for being too quick to abandon support for Mubarak — a point also made by Clinton in her book “Hard Choices.”

In an interview last May to discuss his book, Gates said of Clinton: “I think that we certainly agreed in terms of how to deal with the very first phases of — of the Arab Spring, and, particularly, disagreeing with the President on how to handle Mubarak.”

Tax Overreach

Trump claimed that Clinton “plans a massive — and I mean massive — tax increase.” But experts say 95 percent of taxpayers would see “little or no change”  in their taxes under Clinton’s plan.

Meanwhile, Trump boasted that under his tax plan, “middle-income Americans will experience profound relief.” Experts say Americans at all income levels would see their taxes reduced under Trump’s plan, but the biggest cuts — both in raw dollars and as a percentage of income — would go to the wealthiest Americans.

Trump: While Hillary Clinton plans a massive — and I mean massive — tax increase, I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has run for president this year – Democrat or Republican. Middle-income Americans and businesses will experience profound relief, and taxes will be simplified for everyone.

It’s accurate to say that Clinton has proposed tax increases, for some. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center concluded that the sum of Clinton’s proposed tax changes — including changes to both individual and business taxes — would increase revenue by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. But almost all of the higher taxes would fall the top earners.

“Nearly all of the tax increases would fall on the top 1 percent; the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers would see little or no change in their taxes,” the Tax Policy Center concluded. In fact, the Tax Policy Center wrote, the “top 1 percent of households would pay more than three-fourths of Clinton’s total tax increases.”

The Tax Foundation reached a similar conclusion about Clinton’s tax plan. By the Tax Foundation’s calculation, Clinton’s tax plan would increase revenues by nearly $500 billion over the next decade, but only by $191 billion when accounting for the plan’s overall economic effect.

“The largest sources of revenue in the plan are the new taxes targeted at high-income taxpayers,” wrote the Tax Foundation, which analyzed the plan’s impact with (dynamic) and without (static) taking into account the expected effect on the economy.

Tax Foundation: On a static basis, Clinton’s tax plan would only reduce the after-tax incomes of top-income taxpayers. Those in the top 10 percent would see a reduction in income of 0.7 percent. The top 1 percent of all taxpayers would see a 1.7 percent reduction in after-tax income.

On a dynamic basis, the plan would reduce after-tax incomes by an average of 1.3 percent. All deciles would see a reduction in after-tax income of at least 0.9 percent over the long-term. Taxpayers that fall in the bottom nine deciles would see their after-tax incomes decline by between 0.9 and 1 percent. The top 10 percent of taxpayers would see a reduction in after-tax income of 1.7 percent. The top 1 percent of all taxpayers would see the largest decline in after-tax income: 2.7 percent.

Trump is correct that he has called for substantial tax cuts — deeper than any of the other presidential candidates — that would result in lower taxes at all income levels.  But the biggest cuts would come for the wealthiest taxpayers, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

“Mr. Trump’s plan would cut taxes by $11.98 trillion over the next decade on a static basis,” the Tax Foundation stated.

Tax Foundation: Taxpayers in the bottom deciles (the 0-10 and 10-20 percent deciles), would see increases in after-tax adjusted gross income (AGI) of 1.4 and 0.6 percent, respectively. Middle-income taxpayers with incomes that fall within the 30th to 80th percentiles would see larger increases in their after-tax AGI, of between 3.0 and 8.3 percent. Taxpayers with incomes that fall in the highest income class (the 90-100 percent decile) would see an increase in after-tax income of 14.6 percent. The top 1 percent of all taxpayers would see a 21.6 percent increase in after-tax income.

While the tax cuts are undeniably large, the Tax Foundation cautioned that the loss in revenue — even with expected benefits to the economy — would “increase the federal government’s deficit by over $10 trillion” over 10 years.

And More on Taxes …

Like his son Eric claimed on Day 3 of the RNC, Trump said, “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” The U.S. has one of the highest business tax rates, but for personal taxes, the U.S. ranked in the bottom half among industrialized nations.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. came in at 27th out of 30 industrialized countries in tax revenue as a percentage of GDP in 2014. Denmark (50.9 percent), France (45.2 percent) and Belgium (44.7 percent) were the three highest taxed countries. The U.S. figure, 26 percent, was well below the OECD average.

The U.S. also ranked 17th out of 29 industrialized countries when it came to tax revenue per capita, according to the OECD. The top three were Luxembourg ($49,911), Norway ($38,016) and Denmark ($31,054). In the U.S., the tax revenue per capita in 2014 was $14,204.

As for corporate tax rates, the U.S. does, in fact, have the highest statutory tax rate among industrialized nations. And it was second to France among industrialized nations when considering the marginal effective tax rate, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

Not a Reversal in Crime Trend

Trump was correct to say that “homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities,” but criminology and statistics experts disagree with his conclusion that a one-year increase in some cities means that “decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed.”

Trump: Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.

The figures are correct for 2014 to 2015, though technically, 36 cities had an increase in murders and 13 had a decrease. As we’ve written before, law enforcement officials are concerned about the uptick, but far from ready to declare this a “reversal” of a long decline in murders and violent crime, since those figures peaked, both in cities and nationwide, in the early 1990s.

Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, told us in an email that it was “too soon to talk about trends.” Stephens said there had been “a spike in the past year in some large cities (particularly in five or six) — something we should be concerned about to be sure but not a trend or even close to 20 years ago.”

Richard A. Berk, professor of criminology and statistics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told us, “Snapshots are not trends. And two or three years of data are far too few to establish a trend.”

It’s difficult to know what is causing the increases in some cities, he said. “In LA, for example, the number of shootings has been flat but the number of homicides has jumped,” Berk said. “Are the bad guys becoming better marksmen?”

Similarly, when the Washington Post wrote about the 2014-to-2015 increase in major cities, it said that experts were concerned but said “it’s too early to know what caused the change, or whether it will endure.” Franklin Zimring, a criminologist at the University of California at Berkeley, told the Post, “There’s no national pattern.”

We took a longer view of what has happened in some major cities, compiling the FBI city-specific data, which comes from voluntary reports from police departments, available through 2012, and 2015 numbers reported by police departments to the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association. Every city shows a big drop in the number of murders since the 1990s, and mixed movement from 2012 to 2015.

Murders in Major Cities Chart

Clinton Emails and the Law

Trump twisted the facts when he said that Clinton “illegally” stored emails on her private server while secretary of state, and deleted 33,000 of them “so the authorities can’t see her crime.” The FBI on July 5 cleared Clinton of wrongdoing, and found no evidence of a cover-up.

Trump: And when a secretary of state illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence – I know that corruption has reached a level like never before.

A quick recap of the facts: Clinton exclusively used personal email for government business, and stored those emails on her private server. The FBI investigated whether “classified information was improperly stored or transmitted” on Clinton’s server in violation of federal law, as FBI Director James Comey explained on July 5.

But Comey said the facts of the case did not warrant criminal charges. “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” he said.

As for Trump’s reference to 33,000 deleted emails, Clinton in 2014 turned over 30,490 work-related emails to the State Department in 2014, and destroyed 31,830 emails she deemed private and personal. The FBI “discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton” to the State Department.

It is a crime to intentionally destroy government records. However, Comey said the FBI “found no evidence that any of the additional work-related emails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.”

See our item “A Guide to Clinton’s Emails” for more information.

Refugee Exaggerations

While criticizing Hillary Clinton’s support for admitting more Syrian refugees to the U.S., Trump said that “there’s no way to screen” those refugees to determine “who they are or where they come from.” That’s false. All refugees admitted to the U.S. go through an extensive vetting process that involves multiple federal agencies and can take up to 24 months to complete.

Trump: My opponent has called for a radical 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country under President Obama. She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people.

The Obama administration pledged to admit up to 10,000 Syrian refugees in fiscal year 2016 (ending Sept. 30), and Clinton has said that the U.S. should increase that number to 65,000. However, Clinton said the U.S. should increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted “only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine.”

The current process for admitting a refugee to the U.S. is very lengthy. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or sometimes a U.S. embassy, refers a qualified refugee for resettlement in the U.S. After that, there’s an initial multistep security clearance, including the collection of the refugee’s personal data and background information. That is followed by an in-person interview abroad with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which has to approve the application. The security clearance involves checking the refugee’s name and fingerprints against several government databases. That’s followed by a medical screening and a pairing with one of the voluntary agencies in the U.S. that sponsors refugees. And, finally, there’s another security clearance to check for any new information. That completes the process.

According to the State Department, the total process from the UNHCR referral to finally being admitted into the U.S. takes 18 to 24 months on average.

And while it may be the case that some Syrian refugees lack the documentation necessary to identify them, that is not the case for everyone. At an October 2015 Senate subcommittee hearing on refugee resettlement, Barbara Strack, chief of the refugee affairs division of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that Syrian refugees tend to have “many, many documents.”

Trade Deficit Cherry-Picking

Trump also used a bit of cherry-picking when he said, “Our trade deficit in goods reached nearly — think of this, think of this — our trade deficit is $800 billion … last year alone.”

The important word here is “goods.” The total trade deficit, counting both goods and services, is smaller.

Official figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show the value of goods that the U.S. imported was $763 billion (not $800 billion) more than the value of goods it exported. However, the U.S. does well when it comes to exporting services, including travel, education and intellectual property such as software. The U.S. imported $262 billion less in services than it exported — creating a positive balance in that column.

Overall, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services was just over $500 billion last year.

And another fact Trump didn’t mention — that figure peaked a decade ago. The overall trade deficit reached its high in 2006, and last year’s figure was 34 percent lower.

And as we reported earlier this month, the downward trend is continuing in 2016.

During the first five months of this year, the trade deficit has shrunk further, down 3.5 percent compared with the same period in 2015.

Clinton’s Role in NAFTA

Trump said: “Remember, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country.” Actually, the North American Free Trade Agreement Trump was negotiated and signed by President George H.W. Bush. President Clinton signed the legislation to implement the agreement.

As we noted when Trump made the same claim last month, Republicans played an important role in the passage of the NAFTA bill. The Senate passed the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, 61-38, on Nov. 20, 1993, with 34 Republican votes, and the House passed it three days earlier, 234-200, with 132 Republican votes.

Trump On Libya Regime Change

Trump criticized Clinton for her “failed policy of nation-building and regime change” and he counted Libya among them. Left unsaid was that Trump also supported the military ouster of Moammar Gadhafi at that time.

Trump: We must abandon the failed policy of nation-building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, in Egypt, and Syria.

But as Sen. Ted Cruz pointed out at a Republican debate in February, Trump also supported regime change in Libya at the time. Although Trump denied it in the debate, Trump said in 2011 that the U.S. should go into Libya “on a humanitarian basis” and “knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives.”

Trump made that comment in a video posted to his YouTube channel in February 2011:

Trump, Feb. 28, 2011: I can’t believe what our country is doing. Gadhafi, in Libya, is killing thousands of people. Nobody knows how bad it is and we’re sitting around. We have soldiers all over the Middle East and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage. And that’s what it is, a carnage. … Now we should go in. We should stop this guy which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it and save these lives. This is absolute nuts. We don’t want to get involved and you’re going to end up with something like you’ve never seen before. Now, ultimately the people will appreciate it and they’re going to end up taking over the country eventually. But the people will appreciate it and they should pay us back. But we have to go in to save these lives. These people are being slaughtered like animals. … We should do it on a humanitarian basis. Immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives.

Household Income

Trump used an often-cited but outdated figure when he said, “Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000 — that’s 16 years ago.” Actually, incomes have been rising lately.

Trump was speaking of incomes in 2014. According to the Census Bureau’s annual figures, the median household income in 2014 was $53,657. And in 2000, the “real” income (adjusted for inflation, and stated in 2014 dollars) had been $57,724.

That indeed is a difference of $4,067. But the notion of a 16-year decline is misleading. What Trump failed to mention is that in 2014, real median household income had already risen by $1,052 since hitting a recession-driven low in 2012.

Furthermore, a lot has happened since 2014. As we’ve often reported, more timely measures show paychecks rising faster than inflation — especially in the past two years. The most recent report on average weekly earnings for all workers in June was 3.1 percent above the figure for the same month in 2014.

Choosing Your Doctor

Trump used a popular false talking point about the Affordable Care Act when he said that he’d repeal it and “you will be able to choose your own doctor again.” The law didn’t take away the ability to choose a doctor, as we’ve said before.

The ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, expanded Medicaid but also expanded private insurance coverage. And as most Americans know — since 55 percent have private insurance — the insurers usually have a network of doctors to choose from. The ACA didn’t change that.

We often have heard another version of this claim, asserting that the government was coming between you and your doctor, but, again, the ACA didn’t come close to establishing a government-run system like Britain or Canada have.

Regulation Repeat

Trump repeated an overstatement on the costs of regulation — a claim we heard on the second day of the convention from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. Trump said that “excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year,” but that figure comes from a conservative group’s admitted “back-of-the-envelope” calculation and is an estimate of regulatory costs that does not include potential savings.

The calculation comes from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a staunch opponent of government over-regulation. In the report, “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State,” author Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. calculates the 2013 cost of federal regulatory compliance at nearly $1.9 trillion.

That figure is based on the Office of Management and Budget’s annual reports to Congress on the benefits and costs of federal regulation. The problem is that the Competitive Enterprise report focused on the “costs” and ignored the “benefits” listed in those reports. That tells only half the story.

For more on this topic, check out our 2015 CPAC article where we examined a similar claim from Rick Perry.

Priebus: Iran’s Frozen Assets

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, erroneously claimed that the Iran nuclear deal “lined the pockets of the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism with your money.” Your money? No.

The assets unfrozen as part of the deal with Iran were not held by the U.S. government. They were Iranian assets held mostly by financial institutions in countries outside the U.S., and were frozen due to the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other countries. So Priebus was wrong to characterize to an American audience that the unfrozen assets were “your money.” It was never the United States’ money, nor were the assets even controlled by the U.S. government.

Priebus’ error mirrors the fundamental misunderstanding that underpinned Trump’s fanciful recounting in recent weeks of how he would have negotiated a tougher nuclear agreement with Iran.

In one speech, Trump said he would have told Iranian officials that “we don’t have the money” to pay back Iran, because of a “bad budget” and large U.S. debt. “I’m not gonna be able to give you the $150 billion back,” Trump said he would have told Iranian officials. “I can’t do it.” A week later, Trump laid out a similar hypothetical negotiation with Iran, saying the U.S. “should’ve never given [Iran] back the $150 billion,” and that he would have told the country, ” We don’t have it, I’m sorry.” As a result, he said, “We would’ve saved $150 billion.”

Again, the money was never the United States’ to “give back.” And so keeping those assets frozen would not have “saved” American taxpayers anything.

Trump was more careful with his wording in his convention speech, saying only that the Iran deal “gave back to Iran $150 billion.” The deal did result in Iran gaining access to tens of billions in frozen assets. However, experts told us the $150 billion figure is inflated.

Richard Nephew, a sanctions expert who was on the State Department team negotiating with Iran, told us the “total amount of foreign-held assets was probably something closer to $100 billion.”

Nader Habibi, a professor of economics at Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies, told us the amount received by Iran is even lower than that.

“Based on my research the total amount of Iran’s assets that were released as a result of the nuclear agreement were between $25 billion to $50 billion,” said Habibi, who detailed that calculation in an article for The Conversation, a site that publishes articles from academic and research experts.

Clinton and Trump on Debt

Priebus also said that “a Clinton presidency only means more debt.” Yes, but Clinton’s plan would result in a “relatively small” increase in the debt, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. On the other hand, the group found that Trump’s tax and spending plan would cause a “massive increase” in the debt.

“Our national debt is at post-war record-high levels and projected to grow unsustainably,” wrote Marc Goldwein, senior policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “And neither former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nor businessman Donald Trump would reverse course — Trump, in fact, would make our debt dramatically worse.”

Clinton has proposed $1.45 trillion in new spending — mostly on infrastructure, paid leave and education proposals — according to a June 27 report by CRFB called “Promises and Price Tags.” But that new spending is largely offset by $1.2 trillion in new revenue from proposed tax increases for the wealthiest Americans. So, the report concludes, Clinton would increase the debt by $250 million by 2026.

However, the group found that Trump’s tax plan would result in $10.5 trillion less in tax revenues, which would be partially offset by $650 billion less in primary spending. Together with $1.7 trillion in higher interest costs, the report concludes that the sum of Trump’s policies would increase the debt by $11.5 trillion over 10 years.

Goldwein noted that the estimates are “subject to uncertainty.” But, he said, “there does not seem to be a plausible path for either candidate to put the debt on a sustainable path without modifying or adding to their plans.” And, he said, neither can get there “simply by growing the economy.”

Update, July 23: This story was updated to add that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was replaced by interim president Adly Mansour prior to the election of Abdul Fattah el-Sisi.

— Lori Robertson, with Eugene Kiely, Brooks Jackson, Robert Farley, D’Angelo Gore, Zachary Gross, Caroline Wallace, Sydney Schaedel and Jenna Wang


FactCheck.org. “FactChecking the 10th GOP Debate.” 26 Feb 2016.

YouTube.com. “From The Desk Of Donald Trump.” 28 Feb 2011.

Habibi, Nader. “Iran’s frozen funds: how much is really there and how will they be used?” The Conversation. 11 Aug 2015.

Farley, Robert. “Trump’s Fanciful Iran Negotiation.” FactCheck.org. 8 Jul 2016.

Auxier, Richard, Burman, et al. “Research Report: An Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Tax Proposals.” Tax Policy Center. 3 Mar 2016.

Pomerleau, Kyle and Schuyler, Michael. “Details and Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Tax Proposals.” Tax Foundation. 26 Jan 2016.

Tax Foundation. “A Comparison of Presidential Tax Plans and Their Economic Effects.” Accessed 21 Jul 2016.

Kiely, Eugene, et al. “Donald Trump on Orlando Shooting.” FactCheck.org. 21 June 2016.

Washington Post. “The CBS Democratic debate transcript, annotated.” 15 Nov 2015.

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. “Security Screening of Refugees Admitted to the United States: A Detailed, Rigorous Process.” Accessed 14 Jun 2016.

U.S. Department of State. Background Briefing on Refugee Screening and Admissions. 17 Nov 2015.

Kirkpatrick, David. “Named Egypt’s Winner, Islamist Makes History.” New York Times. 24 Jun 2012.

Kirkpatrick, David. “Army Ousts Egypt’s President; Morsi Is Taken Into Military Custody.” New York Times. 3 Jul 2013.

Kirkpatrick, David. “Egypt Erupts in Jubilation as Mubarak Steps Down.” New York Times. 11 Feb 2011.

U.S. Census Bureau. “U.S. Trade in Goods and Services – Balance of Payments (BOP) Basis.” 4 Mar 2016.

U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Affairs. “Table 1. U.S. International Transactions: Exports of Goods and Services.” 16 Jun 2016.

U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Affairs. “Table 1. U.S. International Transactions: Imports of Goods and Services.” 16 Jun 2016.

U.S. Census Bureau. “U.S. International Trade In Goods And Services, May 2016.” News Release. 6 Jul 2016.

U.S. Census Bureau. Real Median Household Income in the United States, retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Accessed 21 Jul 2016.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National); Average Weekly Earnings of All Employees, 1982-1984 Dollars.” Data extracted 22 Jul 2016.

Federal Bureau Investigation. “Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System.” 5 Jul 2016.

Kiely, Eugene. “A Guide to Clinton’s Emails.” FactCheck.org. 5 Jul 2016.

U.S. State Department. “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” Undated. Accessed 22 Jul 2016.

Congressional Research Service. “Iran Nuclear Agreement.” 31 May 2016.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “Taking Stock: The Iran Deal One Year Later.” 12 Jul 2016.

International Atomic Energy Agency. “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”  8 Nov 2011.

Broad, William J. and David E. Sanger. “Iran Said to Have Nuclear Fuel for One Weapon.” New York Times. 19 Nov 2008.

Mullen, Jethro and Nic Robertson. “Landmark deal reached on Iran nuclear program.” CNN. 14 Jul 2015.

Solomon, Jay. “Hillary Clinton: 6 Mistakes the White House Made.” Wall Street Journal. 10 Jun 2014.Landler, Mark. “White House, in Gates’s Telling, Restrained Clinton.” New York Times. 10 Jan 2014.

CBS News. “Face The Nation Transcript May 17, 2015: Walker, Nunes, Gates.” Transcript. 17 May 2015.

Ehrenfreund, Max and Denise Lu. “More people were murdered last year than in 2014, and no one’s sure why.” Washington Post. 27 Jan 2016.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. Large Local Agency Reported Crime by Locality (city, county). Accessed 18 Jul 2016.

Major Cities Chiefs Police Association. Violent Crime Survey – Totals. Comparison between 2015 and 2014. 30 Jan 2016.

Robertson, Lori. “Dueling Claims on Crime Trend.” FactCheck.org. 13 Jul 2016.

Kiely, Eugene, Robert Farley and D’Angelo Gore. “Donald Trump on Orlando Shooting.” FactCheck.org. 21 June 2016.

Washington Post. “The CBS Democratic debate transcript, annotated.” 15 Nov 2015.

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. “Security Screening of Refugees Admitted to the United States: A Detailed, Rigorous Process.” Accessed 14 Jun 2016.

U.S. Department of State. Background Briefing on Refugee Screening and Admissions. 17 Nov 2015.

Robertson, Lori. “False Assumptions on the Health Care Law.” FactCheck.org. 11 Jul 2013.

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Pence on Employment Record http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/pence-on-employment-record/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/pence-on-employment-record/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 00:45:49 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111210 Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana claimed his “common-sense Republican leadership” is responsible for record employment in his state.

But, in fact, Indiana’s job growth has lagged slightly behind the national trend in Pence’s three-and-a-half years as governor.

Furthermore, several states with Democratic governors have grown jobs faster during that time.

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee said:

Pence, July 20: We have fewer state employees than when I took office, and businesses large and small have created nearly 150,000 new jobs, and there’s more Hoosiers going to work than ever before. That is what you can do with common-sense Republican leadership.

Sounds great — but let’s look at the evidence.

We dealt with other Pence claims about Indiana in our Day 3 convention story. Here we will focus on his claim that there are “more Hoosiers going to work than ever before,” and that “Republican leadership” is the reason.

It’s true that there were more people employed in Indiana in May than at any earlier period on record. Total nonfarm employment in the state has jumped 150,900 — or 5.2 percent — since Pence first took office on Jan. 14, 2013.

But that’s actually not unusual; total U.S. employment grew even faster — by 6.4 percent — during the same period.

And U.S. employment is also at record levels, but so is the total U.S. population. Given that population rises steadily, setting a new record every month, it would be unusual if employment were not at a record level also.

In fact, a check of employment figures for all 50 states and the District of Columbia reveals that only 18 states have failed to set a record for the number of jobs this year.

‘Republican Leadership’

We also looked at the experience of all 50 states and the District of Columbia to see if Indiana stood out, or if there was some connection between Republican governors and job gains. It didn’t, and there wasn’t.

In fact, several states with Democratic governors have had faster job growth than Indiana.

Since January 2013, California’s employment has grown by 9.6 percent; Colorado has gained 10.4 percent; Oregon also has grown 10.6 percent; Delaware’s jobs are up by 8.4 percent, and Hawaii employment has gained 6.5 percent.

Also, some states with conservative Republican governors have lagged even further behind the national trend than Indiana. Alabama’s job growth during this time was 4.0 percent; Mississippi’s was 3.3 percent; Oklahoma’s was 2.4 percent; and North Dakota eked out only a 0.5 percent gain.

Looking at the 18 states that have not set records for employment, 13 had Republican governors for the entire period since Pence took office, and three changed party control during that time, based on National Governors Association party affiliation data for 2013 to 2016.

One, Connecticut, had a Democratic governor for the entire time. And one, Rhode Island, began the time with ex-Republican Lincoln Chafee in office. He was elected as an independent and declared himself a Democrat in May 2013, soon after Pence took office.

In short, we find no correlation between the party holding a state’s governor’s mansion, and the growth of jobs.

In North Dakota’s case, employment has actually gone down by 6.1 percent since peaking at the end of 2014. The reason is that the oil-drilling boom there turned into a bust after a glut of oil forced prices down. But that just shows how easily economic factors can overwhelm any influence a governor may or may not have on job creation, regardless of party.


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Video: Day 3 of the Convention http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/video-day-3-of-the-convention/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/video-day-3-of-the-convention/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 23:10:31 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=111316 CLEVELAND — FactCheck.org’s Lori Robertson talks with USA Today‘s Paul Singer about claims made during the third day of the Republican National Convention. The video can be found here.

Robertson and Singer discussed these statements:

  • Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said that “nearly 150,000 new jobs” were created in Indiana during his time as governor. That’s true, but 20 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates of job growth during the same time period.
  • Eric Trump, echoing a claim his father has made, said that the U.S. is “one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” But U.S. personal taxes aren’t even in the top ten among industrialized nations. The U.S. has one of the highest business tax rates.
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott claimed the U.S. has “world-record high debt” — it ranks 39th out of 178 nations in terms of debt as a percentage of GDP, economists’ preferred measure.
  • Pence said “we cannot have four more years of apologizing to our enemies,” an old claim from Mitt Romney in 2012 that Obama apologized to other countries. But we read through all the speeches in question and found none rose to the level of an apology.

See our full story, “FactChecking Day 3 of the GOP Convention,” for more on these and other claims from the speakers.

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