Fact-Checking the First 2020 Presidential Debate

Photo of author

By admin

— Mr. Trump

Mr. Biden, who has stressed the importance of following scientific expertise in responding to the pandemic, is not promising to shut down the country no matter what.

In an interview with ABC News in August, Mr. Biden was pressed on what he would do “if the scientists say shut it down.” Mr. Biden responded: “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”

This month, Mr. Biden said, “There is going to be no need, in my view, to be able to shut down the whole economy.”

— Mr. Trump

Mr. Trump often claims that his administration had fostered the best economy in history before the onset of the pandemic. But data show that the expansion that he presided over — which he inherited — failed to measure up to prior economic eras across several dimensions.

The expansion from 2009 through early 2020 was the longest on record. It saw years of strong labor market gains that pushed the unemployment rate steadily lower, until it hit 3.5 percent and held around that half-century low for much of 2019 and early 2020. The robust labor market led to stronger wage gains for low earners and helped to fuel consumer spending.

But many people remained on the job market’s sidelines: the employment rate for men in their prime, for instance, never rebounded to pre-crisis levels.

Output growth, which did receive a temporary boost from Mr. Trump’s tax cuts, has otherwise generally oscillated around 2 percent. That is roughly the level economists see as sustainable given modern productivity and demographic trends, and lower than the run rate that prevailed in prior decades.

And inequality remained very high. The top 1 percent hold almost 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, based on a Federal Reserve survey, while the bottom 50 percent of wealth-holders had only about 1 percent of the overall pie. Those 2019 figures are little changed from 2016, Fed economists said.

— Mr. Trump

Top health officials have said that a vaccine may not be widely available until next summer. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the top scientist on the administration’s vaccine development program, recently said that Americans would most likely not be widely vaccinated until the middle of 2021, a timeline echoed by Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Slaoui also said that the chance of having a vaccine by October or November was “extremely unlikely.”

Of the companies with vaccines in late-stage clinical trials in the United States, just one — Pfizer — has said that it could have initial results by the end of October, a time frame the company has clarified is a best-case scenario.

At the same time, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top health officials in the administration have said that there could be evidence of a vaccine’s effectiveness by November or December. If every aspect of the vaccines’ development and distribution goes exactly as planned, certain people in high-risk groups, including frontline health workers, could get vaccinated this year.

— Mr. Trump

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the first case of the H1N1 virus on April 14, 2009. The Obama administration declared swine flu a public health emergency on April 26. The Food and Drug Administration approved a rapid test for the virus two days later.

At the time, the C.D.C. had reported 64 cases and zero deaths. The C.D.C. began shipping test kits to public health laboratories on May 1 (at 141 cases and one death) and a second test was approved in July. From May to September 2009, the agency shipped more than 1,000 kits, each one able to test 1,000 specimens.

A vaccine became available in early October but, amid reports of shortages, President Obama declared the outbreak a national emergency later that month. The estimated death toll in the United States from the H1N1 epidemic was 12,469 from April 2009 to April 2010.

— Mr. Trump

Mr. Biden, at a campaign event in South Carolina last year, claimed that he “got started out” out of Delaware State University, a historically Black university. Many in conservative media interpreted the comment as Mr. Biden claiming to have attended the university, when he attended the University of Delaware. But he was likely referring to the political support he received from the college when he first campaigned for Senate, as he has done in several other appearances.

In a September visit to North Carolina, Mr. Biden called Delaware State University “the best H.B.C.U. in America.” He noted that he began his political career after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr “and a lot of my support came out of that H.B.C.U.”

“I am a political product of Delaware State University, a great H.B.C.U.,” he said in May. “Delaware State University is the best. They’re the ones that brought me to the dance, they’re where I got started,” he said in March.

— Mr. Biden

The global population is estimated to be around 7.8 billion; roughly 330 million people live in the United States, accounting for about 4 percent of it. More than 205,000 people have died in the United States — a fifth of the million who have died worldwide. About 40,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus are identified each day in the country, and roughly 300,000 each day worldwide.

— Mr. Trump

Mr. Biden wrote on Twitter in March that “banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop” the coronavirus, which critics seized on to argue that he was against imposing travel restrictions. A top Biden campaign official said in early April that Mr. Biden did support the Trump administration’s restrictions on travel from China.

Mr. Biden did accuse Mr. Trump of xenophobia. On the day the travel restrictions were announced by the administration, Mr. Biden said that “this is no time for Donald Trump’s record” of “hysterical xenophobia and fear-mongering to lead the way instead of science.” But he did not specifically tie the accusation to the day’s announcement.

— Mr. Trump

Mr. Trump has signed four executive orders on drug prices, which direct the Department of Health and Human Services to pursue various policies to lower drug prices. But none of them have gone into effect yet. The policy Trump described in the most detail, his “most favored nations” policy, will be difficult to implement without new legislation, and will be vulnerable to court challenges. And that policy would only influence the prices paid by the Medicare program for drugs, not the prices paid by Americans who buy their own health insurance or get it from their jobs.

— Mr. Trump

Mr. Trump was referring to Mr. Biden’s health care platform. The left wing of the Democratic Party has embraced Medicare for All, the universal government run insurance program advocated by Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, and a self-described democratic socialist.

But Mr. Biden has not embraced Medicare for all. He supports expanding the Affordable Care Act, which relies on the current system of private insurers. Mr. Biden would, however, favor adding a “public option” to the Affordable Care Act — a government run-program that would cover people qualify for Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor.

— Mr. Biden

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has expressed reservations about the reasoning in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s opinion in 2012 upholding a central provision of the Affordable Care Act. But she has not expressed a view about the constitutionality of the entire law or about a challenge to it pending in the Supreme Court.

— Mr. Biden

President Trump’s Justice Department is arguing in Supreme Court briefs that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be overturned. The effects of that reversal will be far-reaching. Mr. Biden’s estimate that 20 million more Americans will have health insurance is consistent with calculations from the Urban Institute, a Washington research group with a widely respected model that the measures the likely effects of changes in health policy. But that estimate is a bit out of date, since fewer Americans have coverage now than did before the Coronavirus pandemic.

— Mr. Trump

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has been endorsed by at least one prominent liberal, Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard. Many Democrats object to the process used to place her on the court without questioning her qualifications.

Source link

Leave a Comment