Political rhetoric · Politics

Democratic Presidential Debates Claims vs. Facts

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, and Hillary Clinton speak during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and Mrs. Hillary Clinton met for a final debate. As usual, the candidates made some claims that did not correspond to the facts. Here are a few.

Wall Street

Mrs. Clinton went on the offensive on an issue that has been dogging (pardon the expression) her. Namely, Wall Street. Mrs. Clinton claimed that she was: “[] the only one on this stage who did not vote to deregulate swaps and derivatives, as Sen. Sanders did … and that contributed to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and started the cascade.”

While Mrs. Clinton is correct in that she did not vote…but that is because she could not vote since she was not in the Senate at the time. Moreover, it’s interesting to note that the law, which Senator Sanders did vote for, was signed by her husband, then President Bill Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton further claimed that she: “[] stood up against the behaviors of the banks when I was a senator. I called them out on their mortgage behavior.” In defending this argument, Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly referred to a speech she gave to Wall Street executives on December 5, 2007. However, the record shows that her message steered a middle ground.

A video of the speech, published by ProPublica, shows Mrs. Clinton thanking her “wonderful donors” while stating that Wall Street executives were not the main villains “by a long shot.” In fact, Mrs. Clinton praised Wall Street executives for their contribution to the US economy though she did call for executives to voluntary suspend foreclosures and freeze interest rates on adjustable subprime mortgages. Unless these steps were taken, Mrs. Clinton stated that she would consider legislation to do so.

As we all know, the executives did not comply with Mrs. Clinton’s “request” and, while running for President and while the Senate was controlled by Democrats, Mrs. Clinton introduced a total of 140 bills. Only 5 of those were related to housing financing or foreclosures. No Senate committee took action. Hence, they all “died.”  Moreover, when a broad housing bill did become law in 2008, Mrs. Clinton was not credited as having played a key role.

See, ProPublica for more insightful information on Mrs. Clinton’s record on Wall Street.

minimum-wage-capitol

Senator Sanders went on the offensive relative to the federally-mandated minimum wage stating that: “When this campaign began, I said that we got to end the starvation minimum wage of $7.25, raise it to $15. Secretary Clinton said let’s raise it to $12. There’s a difference.” To which Mrs. Clinton replied that she: “[] said from the very beginning that I supported the fight for $15.”

Mrs. Clinton’s argument depends on the definition of the term “minimum.” Mrs. Clinton’s stance, as stated on her own website, has been to raise the minimum wage to $12, while allowing states and cities to raise it to $15, depending on the localities’ perceived abilities to support a $15/hour wage.

Close up view of the income tax return

Senator Sanders stated that: “[] both Verizon and General Electric, in a given year, pay nothing in federal income tax despite making billions in profits.” While that is true in some years, it is not always true. It is, however, a fact that US-based corporations cut their corporate taxes far below the mandated 35%. In fact, a report by the left-of-center think tank Citizens for Tax Justice found that Verizon paid an average of 12.4% over the last 15 years, while paying $0 in 5 of those years. During that time, Verizon’s revenues totaled $122.3 Billions. Moreover, GE paid an average of 5.2% over the same 15 years and $0 over the last decade. During that time, GE’s revenues totaled $114 Billions. See, GE and Verizon’s Claims About Their Taxes Don’t Stand Up.

Politically unbiased yours,

Beau

 

 

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