Friday, June 28, 2019

Second Democratic debate: Post fact-checks claims; Buttegieg sees rural role in fighting climate change

Last night a second raft of Democratic primary contenders debated in Miami. The topics were much the same as those brought up the first night, and the NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo moderators continued to make candidates squirm with questions about past decisions.

Mayor Pete Buttegieg of South Bend, Indiana, said rural communities had a significant role to play in fighting climate change: "We have to look at the leadership of local communities. The networks of mayors and cities not waiting for the national governments to catch up. We should have a Pittsburgh summit as well as rejoining the Paris agreement."

Here's some fact-checking from The Washington Post on a few other topics:

Sen. Kamala Harris of California said: "I’m meeting people who are working two and three jobs. ... People in America are working. They’re working two and three jobs."

The Post reports: "Harris carefully suggests this is anecdotal. That’s because is not borne out in official data . . . There are more than 162 million people with jobs. But only 325,000 people had two full-time jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another 4.4 million had both a full-time job and a part-time job, while nearly 2 million were juggling part-time jobs. In all, there are 7.8 million people who hold more than one job — just 5 percent of Americans with jobs. The percentage has been roughly steady since the Great Recession, and in fact is lower than in the mid-1990s, when it hovered around 6 percent."

Businessman Andrew Yang said: "We automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs due to automation."

The Post responds: "This is too simplistic. Automation is not the only reason for the loss of manufacturing jobs. There is varying research on the exact number of jobs lost due to automation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics research from 2018, there are many reasons that are cited for the decline in manufacturing employment. Among the main culprits: Competition with China; mismatch between the skills that workers have and skills employers need; and decline in cross-regional migration."

Former Vice President Joe Biden said: "I got Mitch McConnell to raise taxes $600 billion by raising the top rate."

The Post says: "Biden is only telling half the story. The 2013 deal did raise individual tax rates, to the tune of $600 billion over 10 years. But . . . the 2013 deal also made permanent President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for people making under $250,000, even though Democrats had long campaigned to repeal the tax cuts. The deal added to the federal deficit. Many Democrats at the time thought McConnell outfoxed Biden in the negotiations. Indeed, if the tax cuts had expired as planned under the Bush law, tax revenue would have soared."

Buttegieg said: "Tariffs are taxes. And Americans are going to pay on average $800 more a year, because of these tariffs."

The Post says: "Buttigieg quotes from a May study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which estimated that because U.S. purchasers of imports from China must pay tariffs imposed by President Trump, the costs will largely be borne by U.S. households. The total annual cost of the new round of tariffs to the typical household would be $831 from the president’s latest round of tariffs. That’s on top of $414 a year from tariffs imposed by Trump in 2018."

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