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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Groundhog Friday

With less than two weeks left till Election Day, presidential and vice presidential nominees are crisscrossing the nation to get votes — and crossing up the voters with false and misleading claims.

As we do most Fridays, we catalogue here some of the repeat claims that the candidates made in speeches this week:

Groundhog2Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine on Clinton and Trump’s economic plans, Oct. 26 speech in Allentown, Pennsylvania: “Independent analysts who have looked at the Hillary economic plan says, ‘Do these things, and in four years you will have added 10.5 million jobs to the economy.'” The same analysts “said that Donald Trump’s plan shrinks our economy by 3.5 million jobs, and puts us in a recession. The difference between Hillary and Donald Trump on the economy is 14 million jobs.”

Kaine distorts a report by Moody’s Analytics, leaving out important caveats about the predicted job growth under Clinton’s proposals. Moody’s predicted Clinton’s proposals would add at best 3.2 million jobs, which combined with expected job growth under current law would result in a total of 10.4 million jobs over four years. However, Moody’s cautioned that Clinton’s proposals would likely be blocked by the “political discord” in Washington. The “most-likely scenario,” Moody’s projected, is for employment to be “a bit higher” than under current law. “By 2026, there are 1.5 million more jobs” than would be created under current policies, Moody’s said.

As for Trump’s plan, Kaine cites the Moody’s forecast accurately. It predicts an economic recession and 3.4 million job losses over four years if his plan is fully implemented. However, under its “most-likely scenario” — assuming Congress would block many of Trump’s proposals — the economic outlook is not as dire. “Employment barely budges in the first two years, and over his four years as president just over 2.8 million jobs are created,” Moody’s projects. Moreover, the Trump analysis does not include Trump’s revised tax plan — which markedly reduced the tax cuts he proposed earlier in the campaign.

“Clinton Plays Partisan Game,” Aug. 17

“FactChecking the First Debate,” Sept. 27



Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on jobs created under President Obama, Oct. 26 speech in Lake Worth, Florida: “We created more jobs when my husband was president … 23 million new jobs. And we’ve now created 15 million new jobs under Barack Obama.”

This claim is no stranger to our Groundhog Friday roundups — see here and here, for example — but we’ll say it again: The 15 million figure for Obama starts from the bottom of the Great Recession in 2010, not the start of Obama’s term in office. Think we’re nitpicking? We would note that Clinton was nearly spot-on about jobs gained during her husband’s presidency — there were 22.9 million nonfarm jobs created during the entirety of Clinton’s presidency from January 1993 to January 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Apply that same methodology to Obama, from the beginning of his presidency in January 2009, and the total number of jobs created so far is 10.7 million. To get to 15 million, Clinton is starting the clock for Obama at February 2010, the low point of employment during the Great Recession.

“FactChecking Clinton’s Big Speech,” July 29



Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Clinton raising taxes, Oct. 26 speech in Charlotte, North Carolina: “Hillary wants to raise taxes very, very substantially on everybody and on business. And especially on small business, as high as 45 percent, which will only drive more jobs out of your community, out of our countries and into other countries.”

This is a repeat from the second presidential debate on Oct. 9, when Trump said Clinton “is raising everybody’s taxes massively.” As we wrote after that debate, both the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the pro-business Tax Foundation found that almost all of the tax increases from Clinton’s plan would fall on the top 10 percent of taxpayers. The top 0.1 percent of taxpayers who earn more than $5 million per year would be the hardest hit.

As for Trump’s claim about Clinton raising business taxes, we have previously written that Trump is not specifically referring to “small businesses” but to households earning more than $5 million a year, including owners of partnerships, LLCs and other entities who pay pass-through taxes on their individual returns. Currently, those households pay a top marginal income tax rate of up to 43.4 percent, and Clinton’s plan would add an additional 4 percent on income above $5 million — raising the top marginal income tax rate to 47.4 percent.

But this increase would only apply to a small fraction of small businesses. “There are about 34,000 tax filers above Hillary Clinton’s $5 million threshold,” Alan Cole, an economist at the Tax Foundation, told us. “Since a lot of such high-income taxpayers have income from one or more pass through businesses, there are probably quite a few businesses that would be affected in some way. But there would also be millions that wouldn’t be.”

“FactChecking the Second Presidential Debate,” Oct. 10

“Trump’s Economic Speech,” Aug. 9



Trump on Clinton’s emails, Oct. 25 speech in Tallahassee, Florida: “She got a subpoena from the United States Congress, and after — not before, that would have been bad — but after getting the subpoena, she deleted 33,000 e-mails. So she gets a subpoena from this tremendously high authority. She says, oh this is bad news. Get rid of all the e-mails.”

As we have previously explained, Clinton’s lawyer instructed Platte River Networks, the company maintaining Clinton’s private server, to delete the former secretary of state’s personal emails, which totaled 31,830 emails in December 2014 — about three months before the House Special Committee on Benghazi issued its subpoena March 4, 2015, according to the FBI notes. However, the emails weren’t actually deleted until late March, the FBI says. The PRN employee who deleted the emails told the FBI that “he had an ‘oh shit’ moment” sometime between March 25 and March 31, 2015, and deleted the emails at that time.

There is no evidence that Clinton directed anyone to delete her emails after the subpoena was issued; Clinton told the FBI that she did not know that the emails were deleted in late March.

“The FBI Files on Clinton’s Emails,” Sept. 7

“FactChecking the Second Presidential Debate,” Oct. 10



Trump on African-American youth unemployment, Oct. 26 speech in Charlotte, North Carolina: “Fifty-eight percent of African-American youth are not currently employed.”

Trump repeated this chestnut during a speech about his plan to provide a “new deal for black America.” But he distorts the facts. The official unemployment rate for African Americans age 16 to 24 was 17.3 percent in September, according to the most recent nonseasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Trump’s 58 percent figure includes not only the unemployed, but millions of African-American youths who were not in the labor force, which means that they were not working and not looking for work. Many of them are high-school and college students.

“Trump on the Stump,” Sept. 28