Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fact Check: Trump’s First Address to Congress




Fact Check: Trump’s
First Address to Congress

Reporters from The New York Times fact checked President Trump’s first address to Congress. FEB. 28, 2017

"The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century."

True, but somewhat misleading.

F.B.I. crime statistics estimate that there were 15,696 murders in 2015, up 10 percent from 2014. (Last year's figures are not available yet.) The increase was largely driven by street crime in a handful of large cities, like Chicago and Baltimore.

But one reason for such a large uptick was that crime had been falling for a generation. In 1991, the F.B.I. estimated that there were 24,703 murders.

— Charlie Savage

"Obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits."

True, but cherry-picked.

Double-digit increases in premiums are common. President Trump cited Arizona's 116 percent increase; it is the only state that experienced a triple-digit hike. Premiums for a popular group of health plans sold on HealthCare.gov rose this year by an average of 25 percent, according to the Obama administration.

While subsidies are available to people with low and moderate incomes, people who do not qualify for financial assistance must bear the full cost.

— Robert Pear

Families of people killed by undocumented immigrants have been "ignored by our media."

They have received coverage.

The individuals killed by undocumented immigrants mentioned by President Trump in his speech received widespread coverage in local newspapers and on television. For example, the death of Jamiel Shaw Jr., who was shot and killed in 2008 in Los Angeles, was widely covered by The Los Angeles Times and local television stations.

— Ron Nixon

"Obamacare is collapsing."

This is an exaggeration.

Premiums for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act increased substantially this year. Deductibles are often high. The number of insurance companies offering coverage has shrunk in many states. Big insurers, losing money in the public marketplaces, have curtailed their participation.

But millions of people with modest incomes have obtained coverage, with federal subsidies that reduce their premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Republican efforts to repeal the health care law have created greater uncertainty, which threatens to destabilize the markets even more.

— Robert Pear

A National Academy of Sciences report found that immigrants cost the country billions.

This needs context

The 2016 National Academy of Sciences report found that the net cost of immigrants varies drastically by region, but that their average cost to the United States economy between 2011 and 2013 was $57.4 billion. However, the same report found that the children of immigrants make up much of that cost, adding a net benefit of $30.5 billion. Third-generation immigrants far exceeded the cost of their grandparents, adding a $223.8 billion benefit.

— Caitlin Dickerson

"Over 43 million Americans are on food stamps."

The number is correct.

According to the Agriculture Department, 43.3 million Americans use food stamps. As with the poverty rate, though, the number has been trending downward over the past several years.

— Dana Goldstein

"We've lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since Nafta was approved."

Not because of Nafta.

The United States has lost a lot of factory jobs since 2000, but the biggest reason is technological progress, not foreign competition. America's manufacturing output is at the highest level in history — it just doesn't take as many workers to make stuff anymore. Some jobs have been lost to foreign competition, but studies assign a modest role to Nafta.

— Binyamin Appelbaum

"Over 43 million people are now living in poverty."

True — but the number has also fallen.

According to the Census Bureau, 43.1 million Americans were living below the federal poverty line in 2015. But that number is lower than it was in the depths of the recession, in 2009 and 2010.

— Dana Goldstein

The Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines will create "tens of thousands of jobs."

This needs context.

President Trump has signed executive orders intended to clear the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. This will create jobs, although most of the jobs will be temporary. A 2014 State Department environmental review estimated that Keystone would support 42,000 temporary jobs over its two-year construction period — about 3,900 of them in construction, the rest in indirect support jobs, such as food service. It estimated that Keystone would create about 35 permanent jobs.

— Coral Davenport

"Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force."

This is misleading.

That is roughly the number of Americans older than 15 who do not have jobs. But it includes high school and college students, people with disabilities, stay-at-home parents and millions of retirees. The number of Americans who would like to work but can't find jobs is much smaller. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 7.6 million people were unemployed in January.

— Binyamin Appelbaum

"We've defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open for anyone to cross."

Open in parts, but heavily patrolled as well.

Individuals cannot just walk across the borders without fear of interception. Some do sneak across, but the borders are guarded by 21,000 Border Patrol agents along with a similar number of Customs and Border Protection officers at the 325 official ports of entry, which include airports, seaports and land border crossings.

— Ron Nixon

"We are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals."

Not a big change.

President Barack Obama already ordered the Department of Homeland Security to make serious criminals a primary focus of his deportation efforts. President Trump has called for all undocumented immigrants to be deported. With limited manpower and resources, that could mean a higher share of nonviolent offenders among those who are deported. Multiple studies have concluded that immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita than people born in the United States.

— Nicholas Kulish

President Trump said he ended a regulation that threatened "the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners."

This is partly true but misleading.

Mr. Trump did indeed sign a bill rolling back a regulation that would have prevented coal mining companies from polluting streams. But there is no evidence that the rule threatened a significant number of coal mining jobs, or that rolling it back will create new ones.

There are only about 70,000 direct coal mining jobs in the United States. But most economists have concluded that the decline is due to increased mechanization in the mining industry and a market shift by electric utilities away from coal and toward natural gas, which is cheaper. No credible studies have shown that rolling back major regulations on coal pollution will contribute to a major increase in coal mining jobs.

— Coral Davenport

Enforcing immigration laws will raise wages.

Maybe a little.

Economists are deeply divided about the effect of immigration on the wages of native-born workers. Some see evidence that increased competition has modestly reduced the wages for some kinds of work, particularly low-skilled labor. But the effects are relatively small — perhaps a few percentage points — and the overall effect on the economy is most likely positive.

— Binyamin Appelbaum

"I have directed several federal agencies to fight crime and dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation."

True, but they don't do much.

President Trump signed two crime-related executive orders on Feb. 9 that did little of substance. The order on reducing crime essentially just directed the Justice Department to develop a strategy to do so by coordinating with other agencies. The order on combating criminal cartels largely consisted of stating opposition to such groups. It directed the government’s interagency Threat Mitigation Working Group, which has existed since 2011, to review various efforts to battle them and “work to improve” those efforts.

— Charlie Savage

Above is from:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/28/us/politics/fact-check-trump-congress-address.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

The Democratic Response to
Trump's Speech: Fact Checks

Reporters from The New York Times fact checked the Democrats' response to President Trump's address to Congress, which was delivered by former Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky. We fact checked Mr. Trump's speech, too. FEB. 28, 2017

President Trump has attacked intelligence agencies, the courts, the military, the news media and individual Americans.

Few have been spared.

President Trump has tweeted criticism of the F.B.I.; the court and judge who ruled against his travel ban; major news outlets; individual lawmakers; and celebrities.

He did refer to the military as a "disaster" during the election but has since focused on what he views as a depletion of its resources and a lack of funding.

— Linda Qiu

Twenty-two million Americans gained insurance under Obamacare.

Slightly high estimate.

Steve Beshear may be mixing up the effect of Obamacare's potential repeal with the effect of Obamacare itself.

The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 20 million people gained insurance under Obamacare, while the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the health care law would cause 22 million to lose coverage.

— Linda Qiu

We can enforce our immigration laws without tearing apart families.

False, unless the laws change. Hundreds of thousands of American citizens are born each year to parents who are in the country illegally. The Pew Research Center found that in 2012, 4.5 million American children were living with undocumented parents. Unless the current immigration laws are changed, enforcing them fully would tear those families apart.

— Caitlin Dickerson

"Every Republican idea to replace the Affordable Care Act would reduce the number of Americans covered."

This is basically true.

A number of Republican proposals have emerged since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, but few of them have been evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office, the official government scorekeeper for legislative proposals. That means it's hard to compare them head-to-head.

But several of the leading plans have been evaluated by independent experts. And, indeed, they have all led to reductions in insurance coverage when compared with current numbers.

Republicans in the House are currently working on a bill, and the budget office is expected to offer estimates on its effects. So we'll find out more details soon.

— Margot Sanger-Katz

Above is from:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/28/us/politics/fact-check-democratic-response-to-trump.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

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