On Saturday, February 6, 2016, Republican Presidential candidates met at St. Anselm College in Manchester (NH) in an ABC-sponsored debate. As is usual, the candidates made certain claims that do not match the facts. Here are a few.
When referring to the war against ISIS, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was apparently unaware that Kurds are of the Sunni branch of Islam claiming that Kurds “do not want to liberate and hold Sunni villages and towns.” However, Kurds are predominantly Sunnis. What Senator Cruz apparently failed to do was to distinguish between Sunni Arabs and Sunni Kurds. ISIS holds areas mostly in Sunny Arab territory though ISIS has infiltrated Kurdish areas in both Iraq and Syria.
Senator Rubio also had trouble with the term “carpet bombing” claiming that it would not be “indiscriminate” but instead target oil facilities and tankers. However, the term “carpet bombing” refers to dropping vast amounts of bombs in a relatively small area to prepare for a ground assault. Perhaps Senator Cruz meant to refer to precision-guided bombing.
Senator Ted Cruz (né Rafael Edward Cruz), who has vowed to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, significantly overstated the number of deportations under Presidents Bush (junior – 10 million) and Clinton (12 million). However, statistics from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (part of the Department of Homeland Security) show that some 1.6 million illegal immigrants were deported under Bush and 870,000 under Clinton. So far, the Obama administration, which Cruz has blamed for lax enforcement of immigration laws, has deported 2.4 million immigrants, or more than both Bush and Clinton combined.
Mr. Donald Trump wrongly claimed that the US is “the highest taxed country in the world.” When taxes are computed as a whole, the US tax rate is 26% of the total economy. This does not take into account the many tax loopholes (available manly to the wealthy and corporations), deductions and credits, all of which lower the effective tax rate. Countries with a higher tax rate include Sweden (42.7%), Germany (36.1%), Trumps’ wife home country of Slovenia (33.6%), and Britain (32.6%). Some of the countries with lower tax rates include South Korea, Chile and Mexico.
Mr. Trump also claimed that “the insurance companies are getting rich on Obamacare (aka The Affordable Care Act – ACA).” While it is a fact that some insurance companies are making a profit under the ACA, the biggest insurers actually lost money. For example, United Health reported large losses in 2015 from its business with health insurance exchanges and is, in fact, evaluating whether it will continue to offer such coverage. Another large insurer, Anthem, claimed that enrollment decreased in 2015 and profits were smaller than anticipated. Aetna has also claimed it is struggling with greater than anticipated costs. Lastly, of the 23 non-profits health insurance co-ops that were established under the law, a dozen have folded due to financial losses.
Under the same theme, Senator Cruz claimed that his administration would “allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines that will drive down prices.” Unfortunately for Senator Cruz, this has been a long-standing Republican proposal which state regulators have opposed fearing a “race to the bottom.”
Governor Christie claimed that Senator Rubio was wrong when this latter claimed that the State of New Jersey credit rating had “been downgraded 9 times” under Governor Christie’s administration. However, the state’s credit rating was, in fact, downgraded exactly nine times under Governor Christie’s administration as rating agencies expressed concerns over the state’s fiscal health and ability to pay its pensions.
Governor Christie also claimed that the Obama administration was paying ransom to hostage-takers “endanger[ing] even “more Americans.” However, even as late as June 2015, President Obama reiterated his administration’s opposition to paying such ransom demands. President Obama did point out that families who paid such ransoms would not be prosecuted.
Politically incorrectly and accurately yours,