Showing posts with label Trump-Lier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump-Lier. Show all posts

March 7, 2020

Donald's Gut Collides With Science Again


President Trump is known to say what's on his mind, to go with his gut and accentuate the positive. That approach is now colliding with a public health emergency in the form of coronavirus. 
The challenge posed by Trump's breezy style was on full display Wednesday night in an interview in which he disputed the World Health Organization's recent coronavirus death rate estimate of 3.4%.
"Well, I think the 3.4% is really a false number," Trump told Sean Hannity on Fox News. "Now, this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it's very mild. They will get better very rapidly. They don't even see a doctor."
"Personally, I would say, the number is way under 1%," Trump said.
Public health experts have said there actually is a lot of uncertainty about the mortality rate of coronavirus because it is so new, testing remains limited and the severity of illness varies widely. They say the mortality rate could decrease as more is understood about the disease.
"We are still very early in understanding. All the evidence isn't there," said Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant health secretary in charge of public health. Giroir told reporters on Capitol Hill that modeling suggests that the death rate is likely lower than 1%. That's higher than the death rate for the seasonal flu, which is typically around 0.1% and 0.15%.
The WHO rate compares the number of deaths to the number of people tested. But many people who have the virus do not show serious symptoms and do not get tested, said Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
But, as Trump tried to explain this in his interview, he added confusion by discussing how people with a mild case of the disease caused by coronavirus may not be tested for it.
"So, if we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better," Trump said.
Trump's upbeat tone made it seem as though he was suggesting it was a good thing that people with coronavirus could go to work. 
Meanwhile, major employers in Washington state, where there has been a cluster of coronavirus cases, are telling employees to stay home to avoid further spread of the virus.
Facing backlash, Trump clarified what he said he meant in a tweet on Thursday morning. "I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work," Trump said. 
An administration official told NPR on the condition of anonymity that when Trump said sick people go to work, he was talking about telecommuting.
During the interview, Trump also revealed that he was concerned that repatriating Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was held in Japan last month would "look bad" because it would increase the total number of coronavirus cases in the United States. "I felt we had to do it. And, in one way, I hated to do it statistically," Trump said.
Trump has continued to boast about the United States having fewer cases of the virus than other countries do, even as infectious disease experts say numbers are likely to go up significantly once testing is more widespread.
It's a challenge for any politician to accurately convey public health messages: to encourage preparedness and avoid inciting fear without underplaying or overselling the risks. That challenge is particularly acute for Trump given his free-flowing communications style.

February 13, 2020

Are You Gay? Have Friends Or Fam? This is How Trump is Reversing What We Gained in Plain Sight!


Didn't Mr. Lier in chief....oh you know President Trump! Promised he was going to do the opposite of what is below? Why I call him a lier? Because He lies every time he opens his mouth in public. 
What else would be true and fair? (Adamfoxie)

by Kirsten Berg and Moiz Syed

When he campaigned for president, Donald Trump posed with the rainbow flag and became the first GOP nominee to mention LGBTQ citizens in his convention speech. In his first month as president, he released a statement stating he was “determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”

Yet since taking office, Trump’s administration has acted to dismantle federal protections and resources for LGBTQ Americans, particularly those gained under President Barack Obama.

In a reversal from the Obama administration, the Trump administration has repeatedly taken the position that laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex do not cover a person discriminated against for being gay or transgender. The administration has also pushed for religious exemptions to civil rights laws, which experts say will make it easier to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. The administration has taken particular aim at transgender people, barring them from joining the military.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment about its track record on LGBTQ issues. In response to our questions, agency officials defended these changes, largely depicting them as necessary corrections to overreach by the Obama administration. Elsewhere, the administration has also promoted its goal to “end the HIV epidemic in the U.S." by 2030, which includes efforts to expand access to drugs that prevent and treat HIV infections.

ProPublica reviewed actions taken by the Trump administration that could directly affect LGBTQ citizens. We found dozens of changes that represent a profound reshaping of the way the federal government treats the more than 11 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Schools and Youth Groups
Health Care
Public Housing
Foster Care and Adoption
Criminal Justice
Public Life

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow [...] Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
Donald Trump, via Twitter

 On July 26, 2017, just months after taking office, the president tweeted that he planned to ban transgender people from military service. This announcement reportedly came as a surprise to the generals he claimed to have consulted. It took the Department of Defense almost two years to carry out the policy. While transgender members of the military who have served openly since the Obama administration ended the previous ban on trans service members in 2016 are eligible for waivers, no new transgender members may join. 

 Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo that reversed the Justice Department’s position on whether the Civil Rights Act protects transgender people from workplace discrimination. The DOJ under the Obama administration interpreted the law’s Title VII in a way that made “discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status” illegal. 

 The Department of Justice, in accordance with Sessions’ memo, submitted a number of briefs in state and federal courts around the country arguing that employers could legally discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Among those were briefs filed in three cases currently in front of the Supreme Court that deal with the issue of workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people. 
 The Office of Personnel Management removed guidance written for federal agency managers on how to support transgender federal employees and replaced it with guidance that links to the DOJ’s reinterpretation of the Civil Rights Act, which says that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. 

 The DOJ sent two memos to all executive branch departments that interpret religious liberty protections in ways that give broad exemptions from federal anti-discrimination laws to agencies and contractors. 

 The Department of Labor issued a directive to its staff to exempt contractors from compliance with federal nondiscrimination rules that cover employment if they conflict with a contractor’s religious beliefs. The directive specifically cites sexual orientation and gender identity, and it contradicts promises made by Trump in the early days of his administration that it would safeguard those rules, which had originally been put in place by Obama in an executive order. 

 The Department of Labor removed sections from its website about workplace rights and resources for LGBTQ workers, including the page on “Advancing LGBT Workplace Rights.” 

 The Department of Labor proposed exempting providers of services and supplies for the military’s TRICARE health program from an executive order that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by federal contractors. The proposed rule addresses a debate that predates the Trump administration over whether TRICARE providers were considered covered under these and other requirements. 

Schools and Youth Groups

“President Trump [r]evoked the Education Department’s order that public schools allow gender-confused males access to girls’ restrooms and locker rooms.”
Trump 2020 campaign website, “Promises Kept”
under “achievements”

 The day after Sessions was sworn in as attorney general, the DOJ withdrew the federal government’s challenge to an injunction against trans-inclusive Title IX guidance. Later that month, the DOJ and the Department of Education rescinded that guidance entirely. That guidance, issued by the Obama administration, had instructed public schools to treat students according to their gender identity, including using students’ preferred names and pronouns and allowing access to bathrooms and other gender-separated facilities that match their gender identity. Though Title IX — the law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs — still provides some protections to transgender students, advocates say that axing the guidance opens the door for schools to misinterpret or resist requirements to accommodate transgender students and keep them safe. 

 The Department of Education confirmed to multiple news outlets that it was no longer investigating or taking action on complaints filed by transgender students who were barred from restrooms or other facilities that match their gender identity. 

 According to a 2019 report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, the Trump administration’s Department of Education has drastically scaled back civil rights enforcement for LBGTQ students. The report found that complaints students filed alleging sexual orientation- and gender identity-based discrimination was nine times less likely to result in corrective action under the Trump administration than under the Obama administration. 

It also showed that the current administration was more likely to dismiss these types of complaints without a formal investigation. In a response to ProPublica, the Department of Education did not dispute these specific findings, but it said that on average it has resolved almost double the number of overall civil rights complaints per year than under the Obama administration. 

 The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into a Connecticut policy that allows transgender high school athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify. The investigation followed a complaint filed by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of three cisgender girls who claimed they were discriminated against because they had to compete in track events against “boys who claim a transgender identity to compete in girls’ athletic events.” Critics say the administration may use the case to claim that Title IX requires schools to drop trans-inclusive athletics policies. 

 According to an investigation by The Des Moines Register, the Department of Agriculture pushed the national 4-H youth organization to withdraw guidance aimed at welcoming and protecting LGBTQ members. The Register reported that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s chief of staff had requested that the USDA subagency that oversees the program remove the document from its website after the policy prompted fierce opposition from some conservatives and evangelical groups. In a statement, the USDA said the guidance didn’t officially represent 4-H policy and should not have been posted. 

Health Care

“We’re going back to the plain meaning of those terms, which is based on biological sex.”
Roger Severino
Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services

 The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule that would eliminate Obama-era regulations explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping — stereotypical notions of how those of a certain gender should look or act — and gender identity by federally funded health providers, programs and insurers that must abide by Section 1557, the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act. The move came after a preliminary court injunction put federal enforcement of the regulations on hold. In a press call explaining the proposal, the director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, Roger Severino, said, “We’re going back to the plain meaning of those terms, which is based on biological sex.” 

 In that same proposed rule, HHS said it planned to eliminate other Obama-era regulations that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in certain Medicaid, private insurance and education programs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, without these nondiscrimination prohibitions, health plan issuers could charge higher premiums or cancel or deny coverage to LGBTQ individuals, and Medicaid managed care programs could discriminate against LGBTQ beneficiaries in enrollment. 

 HHS dropped proposed requirements for hospitals to establish policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, the agency stated it would defer to the nondiscrimination requirements of Section 1557, which the administration now defines to exclude discrimination on the basis of gender identity. 

 This spring, the administration issued a new “conscience rule” aimed at significantly expanding protections for federally funded health care providers who refuse to provide some medical services because of religious or moral objections. The rule’s implementation, which had been delayed by legal challenges, was blocked by three federal judges this month. As of this writing, the administration has yet to file an appeal. Experts and advocates have expressed concern that the rule’s broad definitions could reduce health care access for LGBTQ people by empowering a wide range of health care workers and entities — including emergency care professionals — to claim protections if they refuse to provide services. 

 The HHS Office for Civil Rights — the part of the agency that enforces healthcare-related anti-discrimination laws — has taken steps to shift the office’s emphasis from the protection of “equal access” for patients to the protection of “conscience and free exercise of religion” for providers. This has included rewriting the office’s mission statement as well as opening a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division and directing millions of dollars to it. 

 HHS’ Administration for Community Living removed a proposed question about sexual orientation from a planned revision to its survey that gathers information on federally funded programs for the disabled. According to The Associated Press, a revised draft posted four days after Trump’s inauguration had included the sexual orientation question, but it was subsequently edited to delete the question on sexuality. This deletion was the only notable change. Critics, including a group of senators led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voiced concern that removing this question will limit HHS’ ability to address the specific challenges faced by LGBT people with disabilities, “including financial insecurity, social isolation, discrimination, and barriers to access for aging and accessibility services.” 

 HHS announced a new proposed rule that would allow the agency to issue grants to organizations that deny services to LGBTQ people. Specifically, the administration announced that it would immediately drop enforcement of — and will be seeking to roll back — Obama-era regulations that prohibited grant recipients from denying services on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. The change would cover the wide range of programs the agency funds, including those related to HIV and STD prevention, substance abuse treatment, youth homelessness, elder care and other areas of public health and education. It also applies to federally funded adoption and foster care agencies (see the Foster Care and Adoption section). 
Public Housing

“Everybody is equal, everybody has equal rights, but nobody gets extra rights. And when we start trying to impose the extra rights based on a few people who perhaps are abnormal, where does that lead?”
Ben Carson, in a 2016 interview
Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

 The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a plan to gut Obama-era protections that gave transgender people equal access to homeless shelters by instead giving federally funded shelters broad permission to use their own religious, privacy and safety concerns to “consider an individual’s sex” when making a determination about how and whether to accommodate someone seeking shelter. This may include, for example, turning transgender women away from women’s shelters or housing them with men. Carson had told Congress the day before the announcement that he had no plans to change this rule.

 HUD removed training and guidance resources from its website that advised emergency shelters on equal access practices for serving transgender and other LGBTQ people, as well as on complying with federal equal access and nondiscrimination rules.

 HUD withdrew a proposed Obama-era regulation that would have required federally funded shelters to hang a poster notifying residents of their right to equal access regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. 

 HUD withdrew a planned survey to evaluate the impact of the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative. The initiative was a set of multiyear pilot programs in two cities to come up with strategies that would ensure “no young person is left without a home because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.” The agency gave a scant explanation for its decision but later reconsidered doing the evaluation. HUD did not respond to repeated requests to clarify whether it was ever done. 

Foster Care and Adoption

“Child welfare providers will never be forced to choose between their faith and serving those in need — not on our watch.”
Mike Pence, in a speech at HHS’ 2019 National Adoption Month Celebration
Vice President

 HHS announced a new proposed rule that would allow adoption and foster care agencies funded by the department to turn away would-be care providers who are LGBTQ. Specifically, the administration announced that it would drop enforcement of — and planned to roll back — Obama-era regulations that prohibited HHS grant recipients from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Although it applies to a wide range of grantees, the rule seemed to target child welfare programs — and same-sex couples are more likely to adopt or foster children. 

 HHS proposed to cut planned information collection on the sexual orientation of foster children and of foster or adoptive parents or guardians. The Obama administration added the questions as part of a major overhaul of the only nationwide, comprehensive source of case information on children who are in foster care or are adopted. At the time of the proposed revision, the agency had yet to start gathering this information. HHS stated that it was making the change because of concerns that the information would be overly detailed, that it may be inaccurately reported, and that children’s answers may not be kept private.
Criminal Justice

“The designation to a facility of the inmate’s identified gender would be appropriate only in rare cases.”
Revised Federal Bureau of Prisons Transgender Offender Manual, 2018
 The Federal Bureau of Prisons approved new policy guidelines rolling back Obama-era policies that recommended housing transgender inmates by gender identity “when appropriate.” The new guidelines direct staff to instead use an inmate’s “biological sex” to make initial housing and facilities assignments. The new manual states that exceptions to those assignments should be rare. 
Public Life
“There is no need for the power of the government to be arrayed against an individual who is honestly attempting to live out — to freely exercise — his sincere religious beliefs, and there are plenty of other people to bake that cake.”
Jeff Sessions
Former Attorney General

 The Census Bureau, after the DOJ withdrew its request, removed proposed questions about sexual orientation and gender identity from the final 2020 American Community Survey. Several federal agencies and many advocacy groups had proposed asking the questions in order to better understand and track LGBTQ demographics in the country. Data from the census is used to help distribute billions in federal funds, and without such questions, advocates worry that the LGBTQ community’s needs are at risk of not being met. 

 The DOJ dropped an Obama-era federal lawsuit against North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” law, saying that the state had repealed the law and replaced it with a new one. That new law dropped the bathroom requirements, which restricted the public restrooms transgender people could use, but barred local governments from enacting their own anti-discrimination laws until 2020. The ACLU and Lambda Legal, which had filed lawsuits against the bathroom bill, amended their suits and continued their challenge in the courts. That effort resulted in a consent decree giving transgender people access to bathrooms matching their gender identity in North Carolina state-run buildings, but it does not reverse the ban against local anti-discrimination ordinances. 

 In a Supreme Court case over whether a Colorado baker had the right to refuse service to a gay couple on religious and freedom of speech grounds, the DOJ submitted an amicus brief in support of the baker’s right to refuse service. The ACLU opposed the brief, calling it another example of the Trump administration advocating for “nothing short of a constitutional right to discriminate” against LGBT people. The case ultimately resulted in a narrow Supreme Court ruling in favor of the baker, finding that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was hostile to the baker’s religious beliefs. 

 The Trump administration released a statement opposing the passage of the Equality Act, which passed the House but has not been taken up for a vote by the Senate. The bill, which extends civil rights protections to LGBTQ people and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, would need to be brought up for a vote by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Originally published by

ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. 

February 6, 2020

Trump Lied (Job Growth, Obama Did Better) Let's Fact Check The Lier

Source: Fact Check Org

In his 2020 address to Congress, President Donald Trump s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d and DiSToRtEd the facts:
  • Trump claimed the economy is “the best it has ever been.” But GDP growth fell to 2.3% last year and economists predict further slowing this year.
  • He said he brought about low unemployment by reversing “years of economic decay” and “failed economic policies,” when in fact over 1 million more jobs were added in the 35 months before he took office than in the first 35 months since.
  • Trump boasted that the “unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years.” That’s true, but it had been trending down for several years before he took office. 
  • President wrongly said, “After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast.” They’ve gone up under Trump, but also have risen under the last several presidents.
  • Trump claimed that people’s 401(k)s and pensions have increased “60, 70, 80, 90, and 100% and even more.” Some may have, but that’s far higher than the average.
  • He said, “real median household income is now at the highest level ever recorded.” However, the Census Bureau noted that it was partly due to a change in survey questions in 2014. Based on “adjusted” figures, median household income was slightly higher in 1999 than in 2018.
  • Trump claimed the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico “will create nearly 100,000 … auto jobs.” But an independent federal commission puts the job gains at 28,000 over five years.
  • The president boasted that “a long, tall, and the very powerful wall is being built” along the southern border, and more than 100 miles have been completed. But only one mile is located where no barriers previously existed.
  • Trump said “illegal crossings” at the southwest border “are down 75% since May.” But total apprehensions in 2019 were 81% higher than in 2016, the year before Trump took office.
  • He said that “after losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories under my administration.” He’s referring to what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls manufacturing “establishments,” and most of the growth under Trump has been in facilities with fewer than five employees.
  • Trump compared apples to oranges in claiming a doubling of insurance premiums in five years before he took office and “less expensive” plans under his administration.
  • The president said he made an “iron-clad” promise to “always protect patients with preexisting conditions,” but that ignores the fact he has supported Republican health plans that would reduce the current protections under the Affordable Care Act.
  • He suggested, misleadingly, that his administration was responsible for the U.S. becoming the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas. But the U.S. has been No. 1 in the world for natural gas for more than a decade and tops in petroleum since 2013.
  • Trump said “300,000 working-age people” left the workforce during Obama’s eight years. Actually, the workforce grew by 5.4 million.
We also reviewed the Democratic response and found that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer got the story on wages wrong, too, when she said they have “stagnated while CEO pay has skyrocketed.” Pay at the top may have grown more rapidly over the long term, but wages overall have gone up.
Trump delivered the State of the Union on Feb. 4, a day before the Senate is expected to acquit him in the impeachment trial and nine months before the presidential election.
Trump’s Twisted ‘Comeback’
The president twisted the facts when he said his administration “launched the great American comeback” ending “years of economic decay.” Actually, as we reported three years ago when he took office, the economy was already experiencing steady growth in output, jobs and incomes in the years before he took office.
GDP — Trump boasted that “our economy is the best it has ever been,” which isn’t true.
As of the most recent official estimate the nation’s real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product grew 2.3% last year. It grew 2.9% in 2018 and also in 2015, before Trump’s tenure. And it grew 3.8% in 2004 and 3.5% in 2005.
Most economists predict further slowing this year; last month’s Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey of business and university economists produced an average prediction of 1.9% growth for this year, for example.

Jobs — “Since my election, we have created 7 million new jobs,” Trump said (taking credit for thousands of jobs created after the election but while Barack Obama was still president). The most recent figures show that in the 35 months after Trump actually took office, the economy added just under 6.7 million jobs.
In fact, the rate of job growth has slowed down a bit under Trump. In the 35 months of supposed “economic decay,” before he took office, the economy added nearly 8 million jobs.
Unemployment — The president said the unemployment rate is the lowest in over half a century, which is true enough. It was 3.5% in December.
He was also correct when he said: “the average unemployment rate under my administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country.” The average rate during Trump’s first 35 months is 3.9%, compared with an average monthly rate of 7.4% under Obama, 5.3% under George W. Bush and 5.2% under Bill Clinton.
But Trump claimed too much credit for that when he claimed this wouldn’t be true “if we hadn’t reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration.” The fact is, the jobless rate was down to 4.7% by the time Trump took office — well below the historical norm of 5.6%, which is the median monthly rate for all the months since the start of 1948.
Women’s Unemployment Rate
Trump also claimed that the “unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years.” That’s true. But, as with the overall unemployment rate, the unemployment rate for women has been trending down for nearly a decade.
The women’s rate had reached a 10-year low of 4.6% under President Obama in July, November and December of 2016. It dropped further under Trump, falling to 3.4% in April and again in September of 2019 — the lowest since September 1953. That’s almost 70 years, as Trump said.
As of December 2019, the women’s unemployment rate was 3.5% — 1.2 percentage points lower than what it was when Trump took office. Under Obama, the women’s unemployment rate declined 2.3 percentage points — from 7% in January 2009, during the Great Recession, to 4.7% in January 2017, when he left office.
Trump claimed that the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico “will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs.” But the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates the job gains at 28,000 over five years.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which Trump signed into law Jan. 29, replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Trump administration has estimated that it will create 76,000 automotive jobs over five years. 
However, in its April 2019 analysis of the new trade deal, the USITC said that the Trump administration’s estimate is too high. The trade commission is “an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency.”
“U.S. government officials who are familiar with USMCA negotiations and have access to aggregate data from vehicle manufacturers estimate that the impact of USMCA will be an increase of 76,000 vehicle and parts manufacturing jobs, and investments totaling $34 billion over five years,” the analysis said. “This estimate is larger than the Commission’s estimate, which predicts an increase of 28,000 jobs.”
The USITC also reviewed three independent analyses of the trade deal and found that two of them were “generally consistent” with the commission’s findings. A third — from the Center for Automotive Research — extended its analysis to include “impacts on downstream service employees (e.g., at dealerships), which concludes with a more negative result” than the USITC.
The commission said that one key difference between its estimate and the administration’s is in the area of auto manufacturing. The administration projects an increase in vehicle manufacturing jobs, while the commission “finds a decline due to decreased volume.”
“It’s not at all clear that there is going to be a positive effect on jobs in the auto industry,” Mary Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which produced one of the reports reviewed by the USITC, told the New York Times last year. “This is the hard lesson of economics, which is basically there’s a lot of factors here.”
Wages Have Gone Up Under Past Presidents
Trump was wrong when he claimed: “After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast.”
Wages have gone up under Trump, but they haven’t been “flat” for “decades.” Real wages, adjusted for inflation, have gone up over the last several presidencies.
During Obama’s last four years in office, the average weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers went up 4.9%. Over his eight years in office, wages went up 4.2%.
Under President George W. Bush, wages also increased by 4.2%, and they rose by 6.4% under President Bill Clinton.
During Trump’s time in office, those wages have gone up by 2.6%.
These figures come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The long-term trend shows a U-shaped curve, not a flat line. Real wages hit their peak in the early 1970s, and then generally dropped before beginning to rise again starting in the mid-1990s.
Democratic Response Also Wrong on Wages
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer claimed in the Democratic response to the State of the Union: “In my own state, our neighbors in Wisconsin and Ohio, Pennsylvania and all over the country, wages have stagnated while CEO pay has skyrocketed.” As we explained, wages, adjusted for inflation, have been rising.
Whitmer has a point that wages for those at the top, over the long-term, have grown more rapidly than for those in lower-income groups. The Economic Policy Institute, a think tank that advocates for low- and middle-income workers, said in a 2019 report that every income percentile saw some growth in inflation-adjusted hourly wages from 1979 to 2018, though the 50th percentile saw a 14% increase while the 95th percentile experienced a 56.1% increase.
Household Income
Trump claimed that “real median household income is now at the highest level ever recorded.” That’s true by one inflation-adjusted measure, but not by another.
As we wrote in our latest update of “Trump’s Numbers,” the Census Bureau’s official measure of median household income reached $63,179 in 2018 – which is the highest ever recorded. But Census officials said recent figures are due in part to a change in the survey questions in 2014. Since then, the annual survey has included additional sources of income that were previously left out.
According to the “estimated adjusted” figures Census officials published to reflect the change, the median household income in 2018 was less than it was in 1999 – $63,231.
Trump exaggerated the success of the stock market gains under his leadership, claiming, “Since my election, United States stock markets have soared 70 percent.” And, he said, “All of those millions of people with 401(k)s and pensions are doing far better than they have ever done before with increases of 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100% and even more.”
As we wrote recently in “Trump’s Numbers January 2020 Update,” stock prices continued their decade-long rise with Trump in office. But he is overstating that success, and he’s goosing the numbers a bit by taking credit for gains while Obama was still in office, but after Trump’s election.
At the close on Feb. 4, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock average was 45.2% higher than it was on the day of Trump’s inauguration. Over the same period, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, made up of 30 large corporations, was up 45.3% under Trump. And the NASDAQ composite index, made up of more than 3,000 companies, was up 70.4%.
It’s certainly possible that some 401(k) plans have increased dramatically, even as high as 100%, as the president said. But those would be outliers. According to an analysis by Fidelity Investments, the average 401(k) balance increased about 1% between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 and increased 8% between the first quarters of 2017 and 2018.
And as we have written, not everyone in the U.S. is enjoying the stock market gains. Only about half of U.S. households owned stocks directly or indirectly (through mutual funds, trust funds or pension plans) in 2016, according to a paper published in November 2017 by the National Bureau of Economic Research. And only about a third of Americans contribute to a 401(k), according to the U.S. Census.
Border Wall
Trump boasted that “as we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built” along the southern border. “We have now completed over 100 miles,” he said.
The administration has improved the barriers along the southern border, but nearly all construction has been to replace existing barriers — not extend the length of the miles of physical barriers between the U.S. and Mexico.
As of fiscal year 2015, there were 654 miles of primary barriers on the southwest border, “including 354 miles of primary pedestrian barriers and 300 miles of primary vehicle barriers,” according to a July 2018 report by the Government Accountability Office. As of Jan. 24, U.S. Customs and Border Protection “has 655 miles of primary barriers on the southwest border,” according to a CBP fact sheet.
Under Trump, “approximately 99 miles of new border wall system [has been] constructed in place of dilapidated and/or outdated designs and approximately 1 mile of new border wall system constructed in locations where no barriers previously existed,” the fact sheet said.
In addition to those primary barriers, CBP said the administration has completed so far 10 miles of secondary barriers, which are located behind the primary barriers.
Border Apprehensions
Trump said “illegal crossings” at the southwest border “are down 75% since May.” But measured over a longer period of time, border apprehensions under Trump are up, not down.
Trump: As a result of our unprecedented efforts, illegal crossings are down 75% since May — dropping eight straight months in a row.
There are technically no statistics for those who cross the border illegally, but apprehensions by U.S. Customs and Border Protection are used to measure such trends.
Total southwest border apprehensions did decline by nearly 75% from 132,856 in May to 32,858 in December, according to CBP. But attempted border crossings tend to be highest in March, April and May and lowest in December.
As we wrote in “Trump’s Numbers January 2020 Update,” there were 799,669 total apprehensions at the southern border in 2019, the highest annual total since 2007 and 81% higher than in 2016, the year before Trump took office.
Boasting about growth in manufacturing, Trump claimed: “After losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories under my administration.” But there’s less here than meets the eye.
He’s likely referring to Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the “Number of Establishments in Private Manufacturing,” which indicates there was a decline of 54,865 manufacturing “establishments” between the first quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of 2017. That was a roughly 13% decrease during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And there has been an increase of 12,074 of those establishments (3.5%) between the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2019, the last quarter for which such data is available.
However, some context is in order. The BLS counts all establishments “engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products.” Although manufacturing establishments “are often described as plants, factories, or mills” — Trump called them “factories” — and “characteristically use power-driven machines and materials-handling equipment,” they also include “establishments that transform materials or substances into new products by hand or in the worker’s home and those engaged in selling to the general public products made on the same premises from which they are sold, such as bakeries, candy stores, and custom tailors.”
The figures also include all sizes of establishments, and when we looked into this claim in October, Caleb Foote at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation noted that the vast majority of gains under Trump’s watch have been establishments with fewer than five employees.
Also, the upward trend began before Trump took office. In Obama’s last four years, the number of establishments grew by 10,407.
Health Insurance Premiums
The president compared apples to oranges in claiming, “Before I took office, health insurance premiums had more than doubled in just five years. I moved quickly to provide affordable alternatives. Our new plans are up to 60 percent less expensive and better.”
The administration had claimed a doubling of the “average premium” from 2013 to 2017, but, as we wrote, that compares individual market premiums before the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions went into effect with 2017 exchange premiums. The ACA required insurers to charge the same premiums, regardless of health status, and include a minimum set of benefits. So, cheap, barebones plans could no longer be offered to those who buy their own insurance.
Also, as we explained in detail, the Department of Health and Human Services report that included these estimates said there were several limitations and caveats, including relying on data for 2013 that HHS acknowledged wasn’t a “perfect comparison.”
As for the “affordable alternatives” Trump touted, his administration has issued rules to expand cheaper, less comprehensive insurance options, such as short-term insurance. Whether those plans would be “better,” as Trump claimed, would be a matter of opinion, as we’ve said before. They would cost less because they wouldn’t have to cover certain benefits and could vary premiums more widely than the ACA allows.
Not So ‘Iron-Clad’ on Preexisting Conditions
Trump said he made an “iron-clad” promise to Americans: “We will always protect patients with preexisting conditions.” But he has backed Republican health plans that would lessen the current protections for those with preexisting conditions, and his administration has supported a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act by arguing the health law’s preexisting condition protections would have to be eliminated.
As we’ve explained, under the ACA, insurers can’t deny coverage or set premiums based on an individual’s medical conditions. The GOP health plans debated in 2017 and supported by Trump, however, could have caused some with health conditions to pay higher premiums. (See “Bloomberg, Trump Spar on Preexisting Conditions” for more.)
The Republican plaintiffs in the court case, Texas v. The United States, say the entire ACA should be found unconstitutional. We don’t know what the administration would do regarding preexisting conditions if the plaintiffs ultimately win that case, but a 2018 Justice Department letter said that two provisions of the ACA would need to be eliminated if the suit were successful: those guaranteeing that people can’t be denied coverage by insurers or charged more based on certain factors, such as health status.
As he has done previously, Trump attributed the U.S.’s position as the top producer of oil and natural gas to his administration’s actions. “Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign,” he said, “the United States has become the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world, by far.”
While energy production has risen under Trump, the hydraulic fracking boom that has propelled the U.S. to its current heights began under previous administrations — and some of the top rankings were hit years ago.
As we have written on other occasions when Trump has made similar claims, including in last year’s State of the Union, the U.S. outstripped Russia to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas more than a decade ago, in 2009.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. also took the top spot for petroleum production well before Trump was in office, in 2013. Total petroleum, EIA explains, is “made up of several different types of liquid fuels, including crude oil and lease condensate, tight oil, extra-heavy oil, and bitumen.”
Trump was president when the U.S. surpassed Russia on crude oil production in the summer of 2018. That achievement, however, was long expected and based on a surge in crude that began about a decade ago. The International Energy Agency’s 2012 energy outlook, for example, predicted that the U.S. would become the largest crude oil producer by 2020, primarily because of advances in fracking technology.
Trump also claimed the U.S. was energy independent, saying, “With the tremendous progress we have made over the past three years, America is now energy independent.” While there isn’t necessarily a single definition for energy independence — and as a concept, it may be impossible, given global markets  — one metric would be whether the U.S. produces more energy than it consumes. 
The latest monthly data from EIA, which is currently up to October 2019, shows that for six out of the 10 months of last year, U.S. total primary energy production exceeded total consumption.
The U.S., however, still has energy imports.
Trump made a puzzling and misleading claim when he said, “In eight years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people dropped out of the workforce. In just three years of my administration, 3.5 million people, working-age people, have joined the workforce.”
The fact is that the total civilian workforce grew during Obama’s eight years — adding 5.4 million. It has grown faster under Trump, adding 4.9 million during his first 35 months.
(The workforce is made up of those aged 16 and over who are either employed or seeking employment.)
It’s not clear what Trump means by “working age.” If he meant to refer to workers in what is commonly called the “prime” working years of 25 to 54, then he would be correct to say there was a decline. But the loss was actually close to 1.6 million (not 300,000) during Obama’s time. And there has been a gain under Trump in this age group, but the figure is just under 2.5 million (not 3.5 million).

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