Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fact checking the Democratic convention on gender wage gap, trade, federal health reform

Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention
The second day of the Democratic National Convention is in the books, and we take another look at how the fact checkers viewed Tuesday's speeches. If you want to re-publish them, we encourage you to look at reports by The Washington Post's Fact Checker unit, PolitiFact and for full context and things you may want to add.

Former President Bill Clinton said of his wife and expected Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, "She compiled a really solid record, totally progressive on economic and social issues. She voted for and against some proposed trade deals.” Post fact-checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Le write, "Bill Clinton suggests that Hillary Clinton was somewhat split on trade deals—she was 'totally progressive'—but her overall record as senator was to broadly support such agreements."

"As a senator, Clinton had a chance to vote on 10 trade deals, and she voted for or supported all but two: the Trade Act of 2002, essentially a trade deal involving Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, and the 2005 Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement. Moreover, as secretary of state, she also championed the negotiations that led to the Trans-Pacific Partnership; only as a presidential candidate, when challenged by Sen. Bernie Sanders, she suddenly said she opposed the final negotiated text," Kessler and Lee write. Now her ally, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, says she would support it after some things in it "were fixed."

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), said of Clinton, “We need a president who knows it’s just plain wrong that women make 79 cents for every dollar paid to a man.” Lee and Kessler write, "Boxer is relying on a simple calculation from the Census Bureau: a ratio of the difference between women’s median earnings and men’s median earnings. That leaves a pay gap of 21 cents. But the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the gap is 17 cents when looking at weekly wages. The gap is even smaller when you look at hourly wages—15 cents—but then not every wage earner is paid on an hourly basis, so that statistic excludes salaried workers."

Also, "Women also tend to leave the workforce for periods to raise children, seek jobs that may have more flexible hours but lower pay, and choose careers that tend to have lower pay," Kessler and Lee write. "BLS data show that women who have never married have virtually no wage gap; they earn nearly 94 cents for every dollar a man makes." Other factors include arguments that the average woman has less work experience than a man, more women than men work part-time and more women hold teaching jobs that only account for nine months of pay.

On health care, Eugene Kiely of writes, "Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean claimed that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 'whole' health care plan was to replace the Affordable Care Act with 'quote, ‘Something so much better.' In fact, Trump has released a seven-point health care plan." Dean also "said that GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence 'voted to end Medicare as we know it.' Pence did vote for a budget plan that called for a major change to Medicare, but it would have retained a health insurance system for seniors."

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