Rand Paul: "When you look at the earned income tax credit, it has about a 25 percent fraud rate. We're looking at $20 billion to $30 billion."
In what could be a prelude to the Republican presidential debate season, a handful of potential GOP contenders shared a stage at a recent conservative confab hosted by the deep-pocketed Koch brothers. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas cordially sparred on a host of issues at the Freedom Partners retreat on Jan. 25. One area of division was about whether to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. The program is designed to incentivize low-income individuals to work by giving them a tax refund (technically a refundable tax credit) on money ...>> More
John Boehner: The Affordable Care Act "basically puts a penalty or a tax on employers for every new job they create."
As a new, entirely Republican-controlled Congress kicked into gear this month, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sat for an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes. The pair addressed many topics, including one of the biggest sources of friction between Republicans and President Barack Obama: the Affordable Care Act, the major health-care overhaul sometimes called Obamacare. "All the regulations that are coming out of Washington make it more difficult for employers to hire more people," Boehner said in the interview. "Chief amongst those, I would argue, is Obamacare, which basically puts a penalty or ...>> More
John Cornyn: The Super Bowl has "one of the highest levels of human sex trafficking activity of any event in the country."
For the past few years, campaigns against human sex trafficking have swelled in the days before the Super Bowl, largely because of the persistence of a claim that it’s the largest sex trafficking event in the country. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who has been pushing anti-human trafficking legislation through Congress, repeated this at a Jan. 27 news conference. "While most Americans are going to be getting prepared for the Seahawks and the Patriots to tee off in the Super Bowl," Cornyn said, "the dirty little secret is that the Super Bowl actually (has) one of the highest levels of human ...>> More
Barack Obama: "In Iraq and Syria, American leadership, including our military power, is stopping (the Islamic State’s) advance."
President Barack Obama briefly updated Americans on the state of the Islamic State during his State of the Union address. "In Iraq and Syria, American leadership, including our military power, is stopping (the Islamic State’s) advance," Obama said. "Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group." The comment came during a string of examples of his administration engaging the Middle East — militarily and diplomatically — without the need for large-scale troops. But is his claim that U.S. ...>> More
John Kasich: "You cannot build a little guy up by tearing a big guy down -- Abraham Lincoln said it."
In his argument against President Barack Obama’s proposed increase in capital gains tax, Ohio Gov. John Kasich invoked the words of a vaunted former president -- or at least he tried. Obama wants to create a nationwide free community college program. How he proposes to pay for it -- partially by increasing taxes on the wealthy via a higher tax rate on income earned from selling assets -- would be "a prescription for economic slowdown," Kasich, a Republican, said on Fox News Sunday Jan. 25. To support his position, he relayed a quote that he said comes from former President ...>> More
Critics of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care law, have assembled a long list of complaints about the law. One provision that’s getting increasing scrutiny these days is the penalty on employers who don’t provide their workers with health insurance. For workers who are on the job at least 30 hours per week, companies must offer health coverage or be hit with a financial penalty. The Obama administration twice delayed enforcement of this requirement, but it finally took effect this month for companies with at least 100 workers, and it is set to start next year for ...>> More
Barack Obama: "The auto companies have now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration invested in."
In the run up to his 2015 State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama was once again trumpeting his administration’s intervention in Detroit. "Last month, the rescue of the auto industry officially came to an end," Obama said Jan. 7 in Detroit. "The auto companies have now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration invested in." In December, the Treasury Department announced it sold the remainder of its 54.9 million shares in Ally Financial — formerly, General Motor’s financing service, GMAC — for $1.3 billion. With the deal, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the United States ...>> More
President Barack Obama devoted a portion of his State of the Union address to talking up America’s energy trends, including being a leader in our own energy production. "We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet," he said. "And today, America is No. 1 in oil and gas. America is No. 1 in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008." We’ve covered oil and gas and solar power before, but the wind energy claim was new to us. Is ...>> More
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was notable for its celebratory language about the state of the economy, following a recovery that was widely considered long and slow. Here’s one of the claims Obama made: "Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999." We initially read this to mean that both the economy and the number of jobs had been growing at the fastest pace since 1999. That would have been a problematic claim, since the final figures for growth in gross domestic product in 2014 ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis."
A significant theme of President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address was that the United States economy has come back from the brink. One of the metrics he used to make this claim was unemployment rate. During his address, Obama said that "our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis." We decided to check whether that’s correct. The most recent reported monthly unemployment rate was 5.6 percent for December 2014. The last time it was that low was in June 2008, when it was also 5.6 percent. The financial crisis occurred after June 2008 ...>> More
The United States is on top of the world in terms of energy production, President Barack Obama said during his sixth State of the Union. "We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet," he said during his Jan. 20 address. "And today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008." We decided to check out the data and see if in fact the United States is the world’s top oil and ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined."
Positive economic indicators were a major piece of President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, including a claim he repeated throughout 2014: that the American economy has outperformed the economies of other advanced countries. In talking about his goals for the upcoming year, Obama said, "As we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill. Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan and all advanced economies combined." We previously rated a similar statement by Obama, giving him a ...>> More
Barack Obama: The United States is "the only advanced country on Earth" that doesn’t guarantee "paid maternity leave to our workers."
President Barack Obama sent signs in the days leading up to the 2015 State of the Union address that he would once again call for Congress to require paid maternity leave for all workers. For those hoping he would, he didn’t disappoint. The push came as part of a package of ideas to help the middle class get ahead. " Middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change," he said. "That means helping folks afford child care, college, health care, a home, retirement — and my budget will address each of these issues, ...>> More
See editor's note below During the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, newly elected Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa urged bipartisan cooperation to pass a longstanding agenda item for Republicans and some Democrats -- the Keystone XL pipeline. The project has been in the works since 2008, and its current version involves a 875-mile pipeline that would run from Morgan, Mont., to Steele City, Neb. Building this link would allow 830,000 barrels of oil per day to move from the tar sands fields in Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Opponents of ...>> More
When President Barack Obama reflects on 2014, he brings up a litany of highlights that include drawing down the Afghanistan war and Americans signing up for health insurance thanks to his health care law. Oh, and slicing up the deficit. Obama is super-pumped about that. He made a point to brag about the deficit's drop in his 2015 State of the Union address. "At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits," Obama said. "Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Today, home sales are up nearly 50 percent from where they were in the worst of the crisis."
President Barack Obama is touting the apparent success of his policy decisions in speeches, telling a crowd in Phoenix that his actions have led to a rebound in the housing market. At a speech at Central High School on Jan. 8, 2015, Obama said programs to stop people from losing their homes and to help move homeless veterans off the streets has led to tangible economic benefits. "So as a result of all these efforts, today, home sales are up nearly 50 percent from where they were in the worst of the crisis." PolitiFact wondered if home sales had really ...>> More
America’s recovery from the Great Recession is slow but steady, President Barack Obama said in a recent speech, and the country is headed in the right direction, thanks in part to his energy initiatives. He told students at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn., on Jan. 9, 2015, the United States is now the world’s No. 1 producer in oil and gas -- a statement we’ve researched in the past and rated True -- and touted a move to more renewable resources. "We’ve doubled the production of clean energy," Obama told the crowd. There was no time ...>> More
Barack Obama: Over the past five years, the American automobile industry has "created about 500,000 new jobs."
During a recent visit to an automobile assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., President Barack Obama took a bit of a victory lap when he discussed the comeback of the American automobile industry. "Over the past five years, this industry created about 500,000 new jobs," Obama said. "Last year, American autoworkers churned out cars faster than any year since 2005. Ford has brought jobs back from Mexico, created nearly 24,000 new jobs across this country, including 1,800 new jobs right here in this plant. And after more than a century since Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line, you’re ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Factories are opening their doors at the fastest pace in almost two decades."
President Barack Obama celebrated some signals that American manufacturing is strengthening while on a recent multi-state tour. "We invested in clean energy, saved the auto industry, and today, factories are opening their doors at the fastest pace in almost two decades," he said in Clinton, Tenn. Jan. 9. Manufacturing was already facing challenges in terms of jobs, output and factory closings when the recession hit in the late 2000s. So we wondered about their recovery and Obama’s claim that factories are opening up faster than they have in years. The White House told us that they were ...>> More
Turning 40? Sen. Rand Paul says you can look forward to back pain in your near future, and maybe some anxiety. But don’t try to turn your ailments into a government check. At a breakfast event Wednesday, Jan. 14 in New Hampshire, the Kentucky Republican and potential presidential candidate spoke out against a public safety net that catches too many people who don’t need help. "The thing is, all of these programs, there’s always somebody who’s deserving. (But) everybody in this room knows somebody who is gaming the system," Paul said. The proof? Look no further than the diagnoses landing people ...>> More