On January 29, 2016, GOP candidates (less front-runner Mr. Donald Trump) participated in a debate held in DesMoines (IA). As is usual in these events, the candidates made certain claims. As is also usual, and unfortunate, not all claims correlate to the facts. Here are a few.
Senator Cruz claimed that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare: “is the biggest job-killer in [the US]. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, have seen their premiums skyrocket.”
When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the unemployment rate was 9.9%. Since then, 13 million jobs have been added and the unemployment rate at the time of the debate stood at 5%. Moreover, according to the National Health Interview Survey, in 2015 the number of Americans without health insurance reached an historic low of 9% with more than 16 million people have gained access to coverage since 2013.
Senator Rubio repeated an often-made claim that President Obama has “significantly degraded [the US] military.” In fact, the amount of money spent on the military by President Obama stands at approximately the same levels as they were under President Bush (junior). Moreover, any spending cuts were approved by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Ironically, the military budget is being squeezed by the Congress (controlled by Republicans) that money be spent on bases and equipment that the Pentagon keeps claiming it doesn’t need. It should also be noted that the budget for the US military (excluding VA and Black Ops expenses) exceeds that of the next 7 countries combined!
Senator Rubio was unable to explain why he supported a bill that would grant illegal immigrants a path to US citizenship when he was earlier opposed to any such amnesty, while Senator Cruz simply denied supporting such a bill despite the record, including a video clip, showing he did.
Senator Cruz also claimed that President was failing to fight ISIS by failing to arm the Kurds. In fact, the US has allocated a substantial amount of military equipment, including arms, to the Kurds to assist in their fight with ISIS. However, it is true that the Kurds have complained that the assistance is insufficient.
Senator Cruz also defended his comment that he would “carpet bomb” ISIS claiming that that’s what the US did in the first Persian Gulf War under President Bush (senior). While the US conducted an intensive air war campaign against the regime of Saddam Hussein, it used mostly precision-guided missiles and bombs directed at Command and Control centers as well as critical infrastructure (i.e., bridges, utilities, etc.), thus limiting civilian casualties. Unexplained by Senator Cruz is how a “carpet bomb” campaign would limit civilian casualties given that ISIS is mingled with civilians (presumably innocent), including women and children, in the areas they control without apparent Command and Control centers.
Governor Christie claimed that “45-year old construction worker  lost $4,000 in the last 7 years in his income because of [the Obama] administration.” While it’s possible that certain construction workers (whether 45-year old, younger or older) have seen their income decrease, weekly earnings in the construction trade have increased by 2.7% annually. However, it is true that the overall median household income has decreased by $1,268 since 2009 to $53,657.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump boycotted the debate over a dispute with co-moderator Megyn Kelly, but held a so-called fund raiser for Veterans a few miles away. During his soliloquy, Mr. Trump claimed that the US will incur a $500-billion trade deficit with China this year. However, statistics indicate that the total trade deficit with every country in the world totaled $508 billions, down from the $762 billion of 2006. The US trade deficit with China stood at $343 billion in 2014, a figure significantly lower than Mr. Trump has alleged multiple times.
It should be noted that revenues from Mr. Trump’s event actually go to the Donald J. Trump Foundation which, in the past, has donated more money to support the United Citizens decision than to veterans. (See, NBC News)