Trump's economic speech: CNN's Reality Check Team vets the claims

Trump's 'liberal' economic policies
Trump's 'liberal' economic policies

Reality Check: Trump on the Obama-Clinton Economy

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Donald Trump slammed President Obama and Hillary Clinton on Monday, saying their policies have hurt America economically.

"Home ownership is at its lowest rate in 51 years...58 percent of African-American youth are either outside the labor force or not employed...Meanwhile, American households are earning more than $4,000 less today than they were sixteen years ago," he said in Detroit.

Let's look at these one at a time:

On home ownership at its lowest level in half a century:

Some 62.9% of Americans owned a home in the second quarter of 2016, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate hasn't been that low since the third quarter of 1965. The share of Americans owning homes peaked in the fourth quarter of 2004 at 69,2% and has declined since. We rate this claim as TRUE.

On 58% of young African-Americans being either outside the labor force or unemployed:

Trump has used this line before, often saying 58% of African-American youth have no job. The figure is likely extrapolated from the employment-population ratio, which shows that 42.7% of blacks ages 16 to 24 had a job in July. But that doesn't mean that the rest -- or 57.3% -- were unemployed. To be considered unemployed, one has to be looking for a job. Those in school or not looking for work are not included in the labor force. So Trump's statement is technically true, but it's misleading because many young Americans don't have jobs. Only 49% of all Americans age 16 to 24 are employed. We rate this claim TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

Related: Are blacks worse off under Obama, like Trump says?

On American households earning $4,000 less today than 16 years ago:

Median household income was $53,657 in 2014, according to the latest Census figures available, which is about $4,000 lower than it was in 2000. But the Census data is out-of-date. Incomes have climbed since then, according to an analysis by Sentier Research. Median household income was $57,206 in June, compared to $ $57,826 in January 2000. We rate this claim as FALSE.

Reality Check: Trump says Hillary Clinton would tax the middle class

By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney

Donald Trump asserted that Hillary Clinton is planning "another massive job-killing $1.3 trillion tax increase."

He went on to say that Clinton herself "accidentally told the truth and said she wanted to raise taxes on the middle class."

Trump's estimate for how much Clinton wants to raise taxes is just a little high -- independent analyses out it between $1.1 trillion and $1.2 trillion. Still, we rate this claim TRUE.

But those tax increases are largely targeted at the highest-income households. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center notes that "Nearly all of the tax increases would fall on the top 1 percent; the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers would see little or no change in their taxes."

For this reason, we rate Trump's claim on Clinton and the middle class as FALSE.

Reality Check: Trump on jobs

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for hurting American workers.

He ticked off a litany of claims of how employment has suffered under the Obama administration.

"There are now 94.3 million Americans outside of the labor force. It was 80.5 million when President Obama took office. An increase of 14 million people...We have the lowest labor force participation rates in four decades," he said.

It's true that that in 2009 there were 80.5 million people who were not in the labor force -- meaning they did not have a job and haven't looked for one in the past four weeks -- and there are now 94.3 million. But that's not solely because of Obama's policies. While some working-age Americans have just given up looking for work, the aging of the country is also a powerful force. The number of Americans over age 65 grew by more than 11 million people over the same time period. So we rate the claim as TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

On labor force participation, the rate was 63.4% in July. That's actually up a percentage point from September. And it's above the rate in July 1976, when it was 61.8%. The labor force participation rate, particularly among men, has been declining for decades. There are many reasons for this, including the aging of the country. Also, some people can't find positions that pay decently or don't have the education or skills to land employment. But since the participation rate was lower last year and it's above the level of four decades ago, we rate this claim as FALSE.

Reality check: Trump on Obama's energy legacy

By Matt Egan, CNNMoney

Donald Trump slammed President Obama's energy legacy as one that has been harmful to average Americans.

"The Obama-Clinton Administration has blocked and destroyed millions of jobs through their anti-energy regulations, while raising the price of electricity for both families and businesses," Trump said in a speech on Monday.

The U.S. has in fact lost many energy jobs the past few years. Since mid-2014, nearly 200,000 jobs have gone away as a result of cheap oil alone, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Yet these job cuts have largely been caused by low prices fueled by excess oil production, not regulation.

Coal jobs are also down and major coal producers like Peabody Energy have even filed for bankruptcy. While regulation has helped speed the decline of coal, experts argue that the abundance of cheap natural gas has been coal's biggest downfall.

We rate this claim on America losing energy jobs TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

Trump also argues the Obama administration is "anti-energy." Obama did place some restrictions on fracking, though he has resisted calls from environmentalists to ban the controversial extraction method altogether.

The White House did place a temporary moratorium on Gulf of Mexico drilling after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. However, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has rebounded.

Related: America's biggest oil boom came under Obama

And overall U.S. oil production is up dramatically under Obama, hitting a 43-year high in 2015. In fact, Obama has presided over the biggest increase in oil production in American history.

We rate this claim that Obama is "anti-energy" FALSE.

Reality Check: Trump on business tax rate

By Kate Grise, CNN

During a speech to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Donald Trump slammed America's business taxes saying, "The United States also has the highest business tax rate among the industrialized nations of 35 percent. It's almost 40 percent when you add in taxes at the state level."

It is true that American businesses face the highest official corporate tax rate. The federal rate stands at 35%, and the average state and local tax rate is about 6%, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But that's not what many companies actually pay. The Government Accountability Office found that large, profitable U.S. corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6% in 2010 thanks to things such as tax credits, exemptions and offshore tax havens. In each year from 2006 to 2012, at least two-thirds of all active corporations had no federal income liability, according to the GAO.

U.S. corporate tax collection totaled 2.6% of GDP in 2014, according to the OECD. That was the 16th highest rate among the 34 nations.

So when it comes to American corporations, we rate Trump's statement as TRUE, BUT MISLEADING. The United States has the highest official corporate tax rate, but that's not what many companies actually pay.

Reality Check: Trump on the average worker's tax burden

By Kate Grise, CNN

During a speech on his economic policies, Donald Trump decried America's high income taxes.

"The average worker today pays 31.5% of their wages to income and payroll taxes," he said. "On top of that, state and local taxes consume another 10%."

Trump cites a report from the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank, which itself cites 2014 data from the OECD. That data includes a worker's income tax, his payroll tax contributions and the payroll tax contributions that his employer make on his behalf.

On a state and local level, the Tax Foundation says that U.S. average state-local tax burden in 2012 was 9.9% of the state's income.

Trump cited the information accurately. But the data itself may present a skewed picture.

For one, the Tax Foundation's average worker is assumed to be a single worker without children making $50,000. But that's much higher than the median wage for the average worker with no children, which was about $32,000 in 2014, according to Census Bureau data. And the more you make, the more you pay in taxes.

For workers making median wages, their tax burden is likely to be lower, said Len Burman, director of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. For instance, he noted a family of four with $75,845 in earnings in 2014 paid an average tax rate of 20.64%, including the employer portion of payroll taxes.

As for state and local taxes, the 10% represents the share of all income paid in taxes, not of the average worker's income. Nor do the calculations account for the fact that workers may deduct state and local income taxes on their federal return, thereby lowering their overall tax burden.

For those reasons, we rate Trump's claim as FALSE.

Reality check: Trump on Obamacare and jobs

By Patrick Gillespie, CNNMoney

Donald Trump claims that, as president, he would repeal Obamacare, which would save 2 million American jobs.

"One of my first acts as President will be to repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare, saving another 2 million American jobs," Trump said.

In the speech transcript, Trump's staff links to a December 2015 report by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office that estimated the U.S. would lose 2 million workers by the year 2025 due to Obamacare.

Related: Obamacare may prompt people to work less

The CBO report argues that workers may opt to work less to retain their eligibility for Medicaid or federal subsidies under Obamacare. Its estimate does not suggest employers will start axing jobs -- just that employees might start cutting back hours to stay under certain income thresholds to qualify for Medicaid and subsidies.

CNNMoney found Americans who are already choosing to work less. However, some workers left full-time jobs that provided healthcare so that they could become entrepreneurs and start small businesses. They say Obamacare gives them the flexibility to choose a new career.

It's important to note the CBO's projections vary. For instance, in 2014, the CBO forecasted that Obamacare would reduce the labor force by 2.5 million workers by 2024. Last year that estimate was trimmed to 2 million workers by 2025. The CBO emphasizes that its estimates are "uncertain."

It's unclear if repealing Obamacare would "save" all the jobs since it would be workers choosing to drop out of the work force, not employers firing workers. Still, Trump's claim comes from the CBO report, not his own staff's calculations. We rate this claim on Obamacare reducing the workforce as TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

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