segunda-feira, 8 de agosto de 2016
Fact-checking Donald Trump’s speech on his economic plan
Fact-checking Donald Trump’s speech on his economic plan
The Republican presidential nominee outlined his economic vision for the US, including plans to dramatically slash taxes. Here, we separate fact from fiction
Alan Yuhas in San Francisco
Monday 8 August 2016 22.37 BST
Donald Trump outlined his economic vision for the US on Monday, including plans to dramatically slash taxes. Here we fact-check his key claims.
Trump's economic plan: no 'death tax', less business tax, and fewer regulations
“When we were governed by the ‘America first’ policy, Detroit was absolutely booming.”
The United States has never been governed by an “America first” policy, though Trump likely means this rhetorically to say the US has shed some of its protectionist and isolationist tendencies over the past century. The America First Committee was an isolationist group in the early 1940s that wanted the US not to enter the second world war and was led by aviator Charles Lindbergh, who sympathized with the racial ideas of the Nazis.
“Our roads and our bridges fell into disrepair, yet we found the money to resettle millions of refugees at taxpayer expense.”
American infrastructure has deteriorated significantly over several decades, in part due to many years of neglect by state and federal officials of both parties. Nevertheless, in 2014, the most recent year on record, federal, state and local governments spent $416bn on infrastructure, including $96bn from the federal government, according to the Congressional Budget Office, an increase from previous years.
These figures dwarf spending on refugee resettlement, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, which found that the Office of Refugee Resettlement spent $1.56bn in the fiscal year of 2015.
“Detroit has per capita income of about $15,000, about half of the national average.”
According to the Census’ American community survey, Detroit’s per capita income in 2014, the most recent year on record, was $14,810, which is just over half the national per capita income of the past 12 months, $28,555. Median household income in Detroit is $25,769, about half the national average, $53,657.
“Forty per cent of the city’s residents live in poverty, over 2.5 times the national average.”
In 2014, 39.3% of Detroit residents were living below the poverty line, compared to 14.8% nationally, according to the Census Bureau.
“The unemployment rate [in Detroit] is over twice the national average.”
Detroit’s unemployment rate is 11.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than double the national rate of 4.9% – but Trump is choosing here to believe the national rate, which he later and without evidence called “one of the biggest hoaxes”. The BLS also tracks unemployment in the Detroit metro area, which it found to be 5.8%.
“Detroit tops the list of the most dangerous cities in terms of violent crime.”
Trump is correct, according to FBI data on large American cities, with 13,616 violent crimes in 2014, the most recent year on record.
But the FBI’s preliminary data for the first six months of 2015 shows St Louis, Missouri, as the most dangerous city in the US, with 88.1 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In the new report, Detroit ranks third, with 83.4 crimes per 100,000 residents, behind Memphis, Tennessee, with 84.2 crimes per 100,000 residents.
“The trade deals like Nafta, signed by her husband [Bill Clinton], that have shipped your jobs to Mexico and other countries ... ”
Republican George HW Bush negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which Clinton signed unaltered with more support from Republicans than Democrats. Economists still debate the effect of the deal on jobs, since US trade with Canada and Mexico is modest at best. In 2015, the Congressional Research Service wrote: “Nafta did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters.”
“Hillary Clinton short-circuited again, to use a now famous term, when she accidentally told the truth, when she said she wanted to raise taxes on the middle class.”
For months, Clinton has said she would not raise taxes on the middle class, including during a primary debate in which she forced Bernie Sanders to concede his plan included a modest increase for the tax bracket. Trump is alluding to a recent rally when Clinton slurred the end of the word “aren’t” but clearly stated: “We aren’t going to raise taxes on the middle class.”
Trump is alluding to a June report by the Tax Foundation, which found that Americans spend 8.9bn hours and $409bn on compliance.
“We will work with House Republicans on this plan, using the same brackets they have proposed: 12%, 25% and 33%.”
This is a change from Trump’s original tax plan, released in September and removed from his website (though still available through archives). Trump’s original plan placed four brackets at 0%, 10%, 20% and 25%.
“1.2% growth, the weakest so-called recovery since the great depression.”
Since the US recovery began in mid-2009, the economy has grown at an annual rate of 2.1%, according to data from the commerce department. That is the slowest recovery since 1949, by which point the US had emerged from the great depression; the financial crisis of 2008 was the worst since the stock market crash that began the great depression.
“There are now 93.4 million Americans outside of the labor force. It was 80.5 million when President Obama took office, an increase of 14 million.”
Trump cited accurate BLS figures, and he was almost correct on the difference between 93.4 and 80.5. But he neglected to mention that more than five million people have also joined the labor force since Obama took office in 2009. He also neglected to mention demographics; the baby boomer generation is retiring out of the workforce.
“Home ownership is at its lowest rate in 51 years.”
Trump has this figure correct: as of the second quarter this year, 62.9% of households owned a home, down from 63.4%, according to the Census Bureau.
“More than 12 million people have been added to the food stamp.”
As of April 2016, 43,571,080 people were enrolled in the Snap assistance program, according to the Food Research and Action Center, meaning an increase of about 12 million from December 2008, when 31.5 million Americans were enrolled. But 14.7 million people enrolled for food assistance under George W Bush, with a 17% increase from 2007 to 2008 alone.
“Fifty-eight per cent of the African American youth are either outside of the labor force or not employed.”
Unemployment rates for young African Americans with a high school degree – 17 to 20 years old – are high, according to the Economic Policy Institute. But EPI’s figures are slightly different from Trump’s: the institute places this very specific demographic at 19.5% unemployed and 37% “underemployed”; for young college-aged graduates (21-24), unemployment is 7.2% and underemployment 14.9%. These are still startlingly higher than the population for other Americans, but not the same figure cited by Trump.
“The 5% [unemployment] figure is one of the biggest hoaxes in modern American politics.”
Trump provided no evidence for this claim, and has for months asserted that real unemployment could be as high as 42%.
He is correct to point out that people who aren’t looking for work are a longstanding concern – but the BLS has a statistic for that too, called “labor underutilization”. In July, this broader rate was 10.1%, twice the unemployment number but still far below its rate five years ago – it was as high as 15.2% in December 2011.
“The United States also has the highest business tax rate among the major industrialized nations of the world, at 35% ... ”
Trump adjusted his previous false claim that the US is one of the highest taxed countries in the world to a more specific and more correct one, about corporate tax rates – which he elides slightly by calling a “business tax rate”. The US corporate income tax rate does rank among the highest among industrialized nations, according to the OECD. But Trump’s claim doesn’t take into account deductions and other exemptions – the kind that helped General Motors and dozens of other corporations escape paying any taxes in recent years.
“The Obama-Clinton war on coal has cost Michigan over 50,000 jobs.”
Trump appears to have drawn this figure from a study in the journal Energy Policy, which found the coal industry lost about 49,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012. He failed to mention that a major factor in this decline was the rise of natural gas, solar and wind industries, which had an employment increase of 175,000 jobs. Natural gas, especially, cut into the coal industry.
“We’ve seen it from President Obama, when he gives $150bn to Iran, the number one terror state, and even gives them $400m in money-laundered cash as a ransom payment.”
The US has not given $150bn to Iran; it released billions of Iran’s money frozen by sanctions related to the country’s nuclear program. Estimates vary regarding how much of that money Iran will actually see: the treasury secretary, Jack Lew, has put the number at $56bn, Iranian officials between $32bn and$100bn.
Similarly, the $400m in question stems from a dispute over a failed arms deal in the late 1970s, which has been under arbitration at the Hague for decades. The money was delivered in foreign currency because it is illegal under US law to have transactions with Iran in US dollars, and because remaining sanctions are major obstacles to global banks. A small group of US sailors was captured the same month of the scheduled delivery, and released less than a day later.