More Republican Debate Fact Checking

More Republican Debate Fact Checking October 31, 2015

InaneClownPossePolitiFact continues to fact check the Republican presidential candidates from Wednesday night’s third debate and finding lots of false claims and lies. When Carly Fiorina said that “92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women,” Justin Schieber immediately said, “There’s no way that’s true.” And he’s right, it’s not. Just like it wasn’t true when Mitt Romney said it in 2012.

Her 92-percent claim dates back to the 2012 presidential race when it was used by the Republican National Committee and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. At the time, March 2012, the claim had some numerical validity but was also cherry-picked and flawed. We rated it Mostly False.

We reached out to the Fiorina campaign and did not hear back, so we’re not sure if she based her statement on the same data as Romney’s campaign used.

But here’s what we found back in April 2012: Between January 2009 and March 2012, the total drop in employment was, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 740,000. In the same period, employment for women fell by 683,000.

Do the division and you get 92.3 percent.

A big problem with the claim in 2012 was that it cherry-picked the starting date for assessing Obama’s jobs track record. The recession began in December 2007, and he didn’t take office until January 2009, when it was nearly over. It’s difficult to blame any president for the economic situation he inherited.

The bigger problem with Fiorina making the same statement today is that Obama’s first term continued for another 10 months. During that time, the women job numbers did a U-turn and became a net gain.

The government data show an increase of 416,000 working women between January 2009 and January 2013. Total employment also rose by 1.3 million. So more women actually were working at the end of Obama’s first term compared with the day he first took office.

The whole idea behind such a claim is nonsense from the start. We have this absurd notion that anything that happens when a president is in office is automatically their fault (or their achievement, if it’s good). But Obama did not cause the recession that hit in 2008 (nor did Bush, for that matter; if you really want someone to blame, Bill Clinton should be at the top of the list for his absolute refusal to allow regulation of the derivatives market, which is what caused the mortgage and housing crash) and the fact that it did not end immediately upon his inauguration does not mean he is responsible for it. This is shallow, almost cartoonish analysis.

And then there was Chris Christie claiming that Bernie Sanders is going to raise the income tax to 90% for everyone. They rate that a pants-on-fire lie.

Sanders hasn’t released a tax plan yet — the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has a summary of the candidates’ tax plans here — and we searched Lexis Nexis and CQ and found that Sanders has never explicitly proposed a 90 percent tax rate for billionaires, let alone applying that rate across the board…

“If my memory is correct, when radical socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent,” Sanders said on May 26. (His memory is correct.) “That’s not 90 percent of your income, you know? That’s the marginal.”

Many on the right and left interpreted Sanders’ comments as advocating for increasing the top rate to 90 percent. The Sanders camp, however, told us the Vermont senator has made it very clear that that’s not what he was saying.

And beyond what his camp told us, a review of his past comments — one from 2008, and four more from this year — Sanders doesn’t seem like he’s committed to any figure…

And that’s the point that’s even more problematic with this claim — who Sanders’ supposed 90 percent tax would affect.

Both Trump and now Christie have indicated that essentially everyone will be hit by a 90 percent tax hike. With Trump, this rate would supposedly be levied on “you people” in the audience at his rally. Christie, for his part, said Sanders would “raise your taxes to 90 percent.”

But whatever big hike a President Sanders would seek to implement — and based on his comments it would be something south of 90 percent — would be targeted mostly at the wealthiest Americans, including hikes to the tax on the largest estates and on trading transactions and an elimination of tax deferrals for U.S. corporations located abroad.

More lies. The only thing they have to sell is fear itself.

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