Truth-checking the primary Democratic debate


Within the preliminary debate of the Democratic major season, 10 presidential hopefuls not often strayed over the factual line. Many have been armed with statistics, however solely a handful of the stats have been stretched previous the breaking level. As an alternative, most ranged from largely or partly true. Right here’s a roundup of 13 statements that caught our consideration. As is our follow, we don’t award Pinocchios throughout reside occasions.

“A two-trillion tax lower that favored firms.”

— former congressman Beto O’Rourke (Tex.)

O’Rourke means that the majority of tax cuts within the 2017 tax regulation went to firms, however that’s not right. The $1.5 trillion tax lower — not $2 trillion — was estimated by the Joint Tax Committee to supply $654 billion in enterprise tax cuts and $1.1 trillion to people over 10 years.

However O’Rourke fastidiously used the phrase “favored.” There are actually methods the tax lower favored firms. As an example, the tax cuts for people expire by 2025; the company tax cuts don’t.

The Congressional Analysis Service stated lately that “the efficient common tax fee for firms was 17.2% in calendar yr 2017, and fell to eight.8% in calendar yr 2018,” whereas “the person earnings tax modifications for 2018 have been smaller than the company tax modifications in absolute measurement and considerably smaller as a share of earnings. The efficient particular person tax fee for federal earnings taxes as a share of non-public earnings is estimated at 9.6% in 2017 and 9.2% in 2018.”

“I’ll single out corporations like Halliburton or Amazon that pay nothing in taxes, and our want to alter that.”

— Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.)

Booker has some extent that giant firms together with Amazon and Halliburton use many instruments and techniques to considerably lower down their tax payments. However they do pay some taxes.

“Amazon for a few years reinvested all its income into enlargement, with the consequence that it paid little or no taxes as a result of taxes are calculated primarily based on income,” Joseph Bishop-Henchman, government vp of the Tax Basis, informed us in 2018. “Nevertheless, in the previous few years, it has expanded its warehouse footprint and now pays appreciable federal taxes in addition to state earnings and property taxes.”

The Wall Road Journal reported this month that it’s not clear whether or not Amazon paid taxes in 2018. However its tax fee from 2012 by way of 2018 was Eight p.c, in response to the Journal. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Submit.)

“From 2012 by way of 2018, Amazon reported $25.four billion in pretax U.S. earnings and present federal tax provisions totaling $1.9 billion,” the Journal reported. “That’s an 8% tax fee — low, however not zero or unfavourable. Trying again additional, since 2002, Amazon has earned $27.7 billion in world pretax income and paid $3.6 billion in world money earnings taxes, a 13% tax fee.”

Halliburton was slated to pay “$19 million in U.S. earnings taxes on $1.6 billion in revenue,” in response to Axios.

“The overhead for insurers that they cost is 15 p.c, whereas Medicare, it’s 2 p.c.”

— Booker

The Medicare determine of two p.c is artificially diminished as a result of some key capabilities are undertaken by different businesses — and since Medicare’s sufferers are unhealthier.

Booker stated administrative prices for personal insurers are 15 p.c. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has claimed that the price falls between 12 p.c to 18 p.c, and Booker appears to have picked the midpoint.

However earlier estimates of the executive prices per affected person point out that Medicare is definitely extra inefficient than non-public insurance coverage, as we discovered on this reality examine.

“It isn’t proper that the CEO of McDonald’s makes 2,100 occasions greater than the folks slinging hash at McDonald’s.”

— Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

It is unclear precisely whose wage Inslee is evaluating the chief government’s wage to, however here is a comparability to the common McDonald’s employee.

The chief government of McDonald’s, Steve Easterbrook, made $21.Eight million in 2017, in response to the corporate’s Securities and Trade Fee submitting.

In response to PolitiFact, the everyday McDonald’s service crew employee makes about $12,200.

Meaning the chief government’s 2017 wage was about 1,786 occasions the common McDonald’s employee.

“2,500 medication have gone up in double digits since he [Trump] got here into workplace.”

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.)

The supply of this statistic is former Facilities for Medicare Companies administrator Andy Savitt, who in 2018 tweeted an inventory of two,500 medication with such worth will increase. There have been different, comparable studies.

However the large image is brighter. The patron worth index for prescribed drugs fell by 0.6 p.c for the 12 months ending in December, in response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decline could be the primary time in 46 years within the December-to-December time-frame, however there have been different 12-month durations with index declines, largely lately in 2013. The index dropped additionally in January, February, March and Might — a string of month-to-month declines not seen since 1973.

“I spent an enormous chunk of my life finding out why households go broke. And one of many number-one causes is the price of well being care, medical payments. And that’s not only for individuals who don’t have insurance coverage. It’s for individuals who have insurance coverage.”

— Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)

That is disputed.

Warren was a co-author of a sequence of papers that decided that medical payments have been a number one trigger of non-public chapter. They discovered that in 2007, sickness and medical payments have been linked to not less than 62 p.c of all private bankruptcies.

The analysis by Warren and her co-authors used debtors’ acknowledged causes of their chapter submitting.

However critics have stated the analysis by Warren, et al., overstates the affect of medical payments.

In 2018, the New England Journal of Drugs printed a research that discovered that whereas hospital payments had an impact on chapter, it typically was one issue amongst a number of others that led to the chapter. For instance, somebody could have had giant quantities of debt, then misplaced their job, then had a coronary heart assault.

“Our findings recommend that medical elements play a a lot smaller function in inflicting U.S. bankruptcies than has beforehand been claimed. Overemphasizing ‘medical bankruptcies’ could distract from understanding the true nature of financial hardship arising from high-cost well being issues,” wrote researchers of the 2018 research.

“This is among the the explanation why nicely earlier than I used to be operating for president I stated I’d not take contributions from pharma corporations, not take contributions from company PACs or pharma executives as a result of they’re a part of this downside.”

— Booker

Like many of the different Democratic candidates, Booker vowed to not take company PAC contributions for his major marketing campaign.

His particular pledge relating to the pharmaceutical business’s contributions got here in June 2017, in response to criticisms about his relationship with the business.

In response to the Heart for Responsive Politics:

A difficulty which will come up within the 2020 Democratic major is the shut relationship between the pharmaceutical business and Booker. New Jersey hosts the headquarters of many main pharmaceutical corporations they usually have lengthy had good relations with the New Jersey delegations. Booker stated in 2017 that he would put “a pause” on accepting cash from the business. This was after he obtained heavy progressive criticism for serving to kill a invoice sponsored by Sanders to decrease drug costs. In 2016, pharmaceutical PACs gave $57,500 to Booker. Becton, Dickinson & Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi PACs all contributed $5,000 every in 2016. Earlier than that, in 2014, a cycle he was really operating in, Booker’s marketing campaign took in $161,000 in pharmaceutical PAC cash. Pfizer contributed $17,500, Merck & Co gave $12,500 and several other extra gave $10,000 every.

“Seven kids will die at this time from gun violence — kids and youngsters.”

— Warren

The typical for firearms-related deaths was 7.15 per day when folks ages Zero to 19, in response to knowledge from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s deadly damage report. The info covers 2013 to 2015. It’s price noting that about one-third of the deaths are suicides — and that 18- and 19-year-olds are authorized adults, although technically nonetheless “youngsters.”

“You might have 2.Three million of our fellow People behind bars — it’s the most important jail inhabitants on the face of the planet. Many are there for nonviolent drug crimes together with possession of marijuana at a time that greater than half the states have legalized or decriminalized it.”

— O’Rourke

O’Rourke misses some context on folks incarcerated for marijuana possession.

The US does have the most important jail inhabitants on the planet. The latest version of the World Jail Inhabitants Checklist, printed by the U.Okay.-based Worldwide Centre for Jail Research, confirmed 2.1 million People have been incarcerated, as of November 2018.

How many individuals are incarcerated for “nonviolent crimes together with possession of marijuana”? Not as many. On the federal stage, 47.5 p.c of prisoners (81,900) have been serving a sentence of any size on the finish of September 2016 after being convicted of a drug offense as their most critical crime. However doesn’t simply embody drug possession, it contains every kind of drug offenses. “Greater than 99% of federal drug offenders are sentenced for trafficking,” in response to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Furthermore, separate knowledge from the U.S. Sentencing Fee present that solely 92 folks have been sentenced for marijuana possession within the federal system in 2017, out of a complete of almost 20,000 drug convictions.

“Regardless of what Purdue Pharma has performed, their connection to the opioid disaster and the overdose deaths that we’re seeing all through this nation, they’ve been in a position to act with full impunity and pay no penalties.”

— O’Rourke

When it comes to cash, O’Rourke is incorrect. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, in March agreed to pay a $270 million civil settlement in Oklahoma and faces lawsuits across the nation. In 2007, three executives have been spared jail time and sentenced to probation after agreeing to plead responsible to expenses that they misled federal regulators concerning the dependancy dangers of the drug.

“It issues that we nominate a candidate who noticed the destruction wrought by damaged health-care system and gave folks common well being care.”

— New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio

De Blasio claimed that his administration has achieved “common well being care” in New York. However that is false.

He unveiled a program referred to as “NYC Care” in January, promising to cowl the price for all medical companies by permitting the uninsured to see a major care physician at 70 city-run clinics. Sufferers could be charged for this therapy, although the concept is to maintain their prices down.

For the town authorities, de Blasio’s plan is a pricey proposition and some analysts referred to as it a PR stunt from a mayor who was getting ready to launch a presidential marketing campaign.

The mayor’s official web site is imprecise on the timeline and specifics. “Someday in 2019, New York Metropolis will start to ensure complete well being care to all residents, no matter somebody’s capability to pay or immigration standing,” it says. And likewise, “Extra details about this initiative will probably be accessible later this yr.”

NYC Care just isn’t an insurance coverage program and, as a result of it hasn’t been applied, it hasn’t made a dent in decreasing the town’s uninsured inhabitants of almost 600,000.

“The underside 60 p.c haven’t seen a elevate since 1980. In the meantime, the highest 1 p.c management 90 p.c of the wealth.”

— Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio)

Neither of those statements is true.

The Congressional Price range Workplace in 2018 indicated that the underside 60 p.c had a rise in earnings of 32 p.c since 1980 — and the rise was over 50 p.c if the affect of transfers and taxes was included.

Furthermore, in response to numerous research, together with one by economist Edward N. Wolff, the richest 1 p.c of U.S. residents account for about 40 p.c of the nation’s wealth.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren typically declare that the highest 0.1 p.c have as a lot wealth as the underside 90 p.c. Some economists say that’s certainly the case, although different research have urged the share of wealth managed by the highest one p.c is far smaller.

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