On February 4, 2016, Democratic presidential candidates Mrs. Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders met at the University of New Hampshire (NH) to debate each other. As is usual, both candidates made certain claims that do not correspond to the facts. Here are a few:
Having been under attack by Senator Sanders for her ties to Wall Street, Ms. Clinton claimed that “Wall Street” was actually “trying to beat [her] in this primary”, implying that investment bankers and the rest of the financial world wanted someone other than herself to become our next President. Yet, according to data on OpenSecrets.org, “Wall Street” gave more than $17MM last year to Super PACs supporting her campaign and almost $3MM directly to her campaign. In fact, it turns out that “Wall Street” is the biggest donor to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, ahead of the energy industry (i.e., Big Oil), the food industry (i.e., Big Ag), the legal profession, non-profits and, of course, the NRA.
Senator Sanders claimed that “almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1%.” While often repeated by Senator Sanders, and others, this “mantra” relies on outdated data. According to Senator Sanders’ own economic researcher, University of California at Berkeley economist Professor Emmanuel Saez, during the first 5 years of the latest financial crisis recovery (i.e., 2009 through 2014), the wealthiest 1% in the USA captured 58% of all income growth. While 58% is a significant proportion, it is not “almost all.” However, it is a fact that, during the first 3 years of the recovery, the top 1% garnered 91% of the growth in income. However, it should be noted that this “almost all” proportion was due to an accounting maneuver to pull income forward to 2012 so as to avoid tax increases which became effective in 2013.
Mrs. Clinton claimed that she was “against American combat troops being in Syria and Iraq.” She claimed, however, to be in favor of special forces, trainers, and the air campaign. In doing so, Mrs. Clinton skates a very fine line (politics, hey!). It is a well-known fact that special forces operate in Syria and Iraq. In fact, late last year, a special forces soldier was killed in a firefight in Iraq during a joint Kurdish-US raid on an ISIS prison. Moreover, the Pentagon recently sent some 200 special forces members to Iraq with a range of risky missions, including targeting ISIS. Furthermore, the US Air Force is continuously dropping bombs and missiles on ISIS targets. Whether all or any of this should be labeled “combat” or “combat troops” can be and is political rhetoric.
Senators Sanders claimed that “3 out of the 4 largest banks in America” are bigger today than during the government (i.e., taxpayer-funded) bailout. While Senator Sanders is correct in his affirmation, he neglects to note that this growth reflects mostly mergers and acquisitions often done at the behest of the US government. For instance, J P Morgan acquired Bear Sterns in a deal put together by the Federal Reserve. Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo nearly doubled in size after acquiring failing Wachovia Bank.
Mrs. Clinton claimed that she waited until the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (“TPP”) was finalized to take a position and then opposed it. However, as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton often gave speeches across the world in support of the TPP. In fact, in 2012, Mrs. Clinton stated that the TPP: “sets the gold standard in trade agreements.” Running for President and appealing to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, Mrs. Clinton is now backing away from her previous claims.
Politically unbiased yours,