On Thursday, February 25, 2016, Republican presidential candidates met at the University of Houston (TX) to debate. As usual, the candidates made some claims that were not supported by the facts. Here are a few.
Mr. Donald Trump took exception to an expletive uttered by former Mexico President, Vincente Fox, when discussing Mr. Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and having the Mexican government pay for it. Mr. Trump commented that: “I saw him use the [F***] word that he used. I can only tell you, if I would have used even half of that word, it would have been national scandal. This guy used a filthy, disgusting word on television, and he should be ashamed of himself, and he should apologize, OK?” Ironically (or sadly), Mr. Trump has uttered plenty of vulgarities, including calling one of his adversaries a “pussy” and the S- and other vulgarities on plenty of occasions, during this campaign and, rather than apologizing, has seemed to enjoy it. In fact, though he only mouthed the F-bomb, Mr. Trump uttered the following at a rally in New Hampshire: ““We’re not going to let Mexico steal all our businesses. … We’re going to bring business back. … And you can tell them to go” — pausing — “themselves because they let you down, and they left.” However, Mr. Trump did utter the F-bomb several times in 2011 Nevada speech before he was a candidate and dropped the M****f****r bomb in 2015 as a candidate.
Senator Eduardo “Ted” Cruz claimed that “The Obama-Clinton economy has done enormous damage to the Hispanic community.” However, while the 2007 housing bubble did hurt the Hispanic community, under President Obama their unemployment rate has decreased from a high of 13% to 5.9%, gaining some 5 million jobs. Hispanic-Americans continue to struggle when it comes to median income which has decreased by $1,644 since 2007 (after adjusting for inflation) to $28,757 in 2014.
Mr. Donald Trump claimed that the US “borders [are] like swiss cheese, everybody pours in. [ ] We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally.” While there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, more than 40% (i.e., ~ 4.4 million) entered the country legally under a visa issued by the US consulate or embassy and then overstayed their visa.
Senator Marco Rubio claimed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as ObamaCare) “ is a health care law that is basically forcing companies to lay people off, cut people’s hours, move people to part-time. It is not just a bad health care law, it is a job-killing law.” However, since the implementation of the ACA, the US has added some 13.4 million jobs and unemployment has decreased from a high of 9.9% to 4.9%. There is also no evidence that full-time workers are being transferred to part-time work as the number of part-time workers has decreased from a high of 27.6 million to 26.3 million. In fact, while 6 million part-time workers would prefer to work full-time, that is a decrease from a high of 9 million since the “Great Recession” officially ended in June 2009.
On the same theme, Mr. Donald Trump claimed that allowing health insurers to sell policies across state lines would “solve the problem.” This is a long-standing Republican proposal that has been rejected by regulators in many states, include so-called “red states.” Most experts agree that this would increase the number of lower-premium plans. However, it is not clear that many people would buy them particularly since, not only would coverage be minimal and deductibles high but, many out-of-state insurers are unlikely to have an adequate network of local health care providers.
Finally, Mr. Donald Trump claimed that he would release his tax returns after the IRS completed an audit. This is the first time that Mr. Trump has claimed that the IRS is auditing him, further claiming that he is audited every year. However, while a spokesperson for the IRS declined to comment on whether Mr. Trump’s tax records (or anyone else’s) are being audited, “Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.”
The “debate” mostly deteriorated to name-calling instead of well-thought discussions on issues. From this 4-legged’s point of view, shouldn’t 2-leggeds expect more civility and intelligence from their so-called “leaders”?