FactCheck Trump’s longest rally to date: The Economy and Jobs
Trump's longest rally to date was on Dec. 12, just as the House was getting ready to impeach him, and the WashPost has done a detailed fact check of it. So, what kind of BS is Trump feeding his rally attendees?
According to the WashPost, " From a grand total of 179 factual statements we identified, 67 percent were false, mostly false[,] or unsupported by evidence.
(Note: This line-by-line fact check is rather long, so I'm dividing it up into several separate posts and including only the most interesting items in each category. The entire long article can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/07/anatomy-trump-rally-percent-claims-are-false-or-lacking-evidence/ )
THE ECONOMY AND JOBS: FactCheck
#1--[Outsourcing of jobs] "I asked that a long time ago and we’ve stopped it. We’ve stopped it.”
False. Trump has not stopped the outsourcing of jobs in the auto industry.
#2-- "Now, from the standpoint of the farmers, you know, what’s going on, we had tremendous trade barriers in Canada. We had a tax on dairy products, 297 percent tariff. Nobody talked about it with Canada, and we had some really bad things with Mexico.”
Mostly false. Canada’s overall tariffs are lower. In the reworked trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, Trump won some narrow concessions on dairy, allowing for new quotas — but high tariffs are still permitted when those quotas are exceeded.
#3--“The USMCA, which is going to be great for the automobile business, should even be good for the cereal business, Battle Creek.”
Unsubstantiated. Some industry experts say the USMCA gives a minor lift to U.S. dairy exporters, but the new trade agreement is not seen as having a big effect on cereal exports.
#4--“We made a great deal with China. And you know, China’s paying us billions and billions of dollars a year, they never gave us 10 cents.”
False. Tariffs have been collected on Chinese goods since the early days of the Republic. President George Washington signed the Tariff Act of 1789, when trade between China and the United States was already established. Tariffs on China have generated at least $8 billion every year since 2009.
#5--“The 401(k)s, where people are up 90 percent, they’re up 97 percent, they’re up 82 percent.”dy, and they said this two years ago. I said, ‘How much were you targeted for?’ This was the first year. ‘Twelve billion, sir.’ The second year was 16 [billion]. They were a target; that’s what they didn’t get from China. So I said, ‘It’s all right. We’re going to give you a subsidy of the same and we’re going to take it out of the tariffs and we’re gonna have billions and billions of dollars left over.’ And they said, ‘Sir, we don’t want money. We just want a level playing field.’”
Unsubstantiated. . . . [M]ost of the China tariff revenue has been largely eaten up by payments the government has made to farmers who lost business because China stopped buying U.S. soybeans, hogs, cotton and other products. NPR reported: “According to studies by several independent economists, the USDA is paying farmers roughly twice as much as the actual harm that they suffered from the trade war.”
#6--“The 401(k)s, where people are up 90 percent, they’re up 97 percent, they’re up 82 percent.”
False. Trump often boasts that the value of 401(k) retirement accounts has skyrocketed during his presidency, even though there’s no evidence of such huge gains and even though the Census Bureau reports only 32 percent of Americans are saving for retirement with such plans.
#7--"We’re doing so well in Michigan with the auto companies. Now you’re back, you’re back. So you’re back, very proud of it. Very proud of it. But while we’re creating jobs, fighting for Michigan workers and achieving numbers that you’ve never seen before, incredible victories for the American people are happening.”
False. Car manufacturing jobs are essentially flat in Michigan since Trump took office. . . .
#8--“I have the greatest economy in the history of this country.”
False. The president . . . runs into trouble when he makes a play for the history books. By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson or Bill Clinton — or Ulysses S. Grant.
#9--“Let me just tell you a little secret, if crooked Hillary would have won, your economy would have crashed.”
Unsubstantiated. Trump often makes this claim, but there’s no evidence backing him up. The U.S. economy under Trump has continued to grow, as it did for most of the Obama administration.
#10--“You were going down. The regulations were taking it down, the taxes were taking it down. Instead of being up 92 percent or whatever — you’re up a lot — you would have been down, you would have been in less than half, it was crashing for all those people that would say, ‘Oh, it’s the Obama.’ Let me tell you something, you were dying. ... It was heading south as sure as you’re standing.”
False. The economy was not “going down,” “crashing,” “dying” or “heading south” when Trump took office, it was growing and unemployment was declining.
#11--“You’re saving almost $3,000 a year because of regulation cuts.”
Mostly false. This statistic comes from a report issued in June 2019 by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, which calculated such savings five to 10 years in the future, though Trump frequently suggests the savings are already being realized.
The report makes a number of generous assumptions about the impact of deregulation in order come up with this $3,000 figure, but experts we consulted found the assumptions and conclusions to be dubious. One expert cited in the report said the analysis was “just crazy” and “anti-academic.”
#12--“Total income gains for median households will reach $10,000 a family. I’ll give you a couple of quick numbers. So under President Bush, for eight years, you saved $450, meaning you took in four $450. Okay, fine. Under President Obama, you took in $975. Under President Trump, including the energy savings and the regulation savings and the tax cuts savings, it’s more than $10,000 in less than three years.”
False. Trump is mixing up all kinds of apples and oranges for maximum spin. One component, the claim that households are saving $3,000 a year from regulatory cuts, is worth Three Pinocchios just by itself. The president never mentions actions taken by the administration that have reduced household income. For instance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York officials peg Trump’s tariffs as already costing the typical U.S. household $831 a year.
#13--“We’ve ended the war on American energy and the United States is now the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas on planet Earth.”
Mostly false. The notion that a revolution in energy began under the Trump administration is wrong. The United States has led the world in natural gas production since 2009. Crude oil production has been increasing rapidly since 2010, reaching record levels in August 2018, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. In September 2018, the United States passed both Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the largest global crude oil producer. It is expected to hold that position, according to predictions from the International Energy Agency.
#14--“They [Democrats] want to close up your steel mills. They don’t want your steel mills.”
False. No Democrat is pledging to close steel mills or supports policies specifically targeting the industry.
#15--“Look at what I’ve done for steel. I mean the steel is back. We taxed all of the dumped steel coming in from China and other places, and U.S steel mills are doing great. They’re expanding all over the country and they were all going to be out of business within two years. The way they were going, they were gone.”
False. Steel mills were not going to be out of business in two years when Trump took office, and they are not expanding all over the country. In fact, primary metal manufacturing jobs are below the levels seen during the Obama administration.
#16--“Every major Democrat running for president has pledged to eliminate gas-powered automobiles and destroy the U.S. auto industry forever.”
False. Some leading Democrats, but not all, have pledged to transition away from fossil fuels over a 10-year period.
The economy is doing rather well. So why must he exaggerate, lie, and distort how it is doing?