Saturday, June 24, 2017

Trump lies

Robert Reich

Trump’s rally last night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was filled with lies. Now that he's doing more rallies and fewer press conferences, his lies must be countered with the truth.

1. Trump said he is pushing repeal of the federal estate tax so “farms can be passed on” to farmers’ children and grandchildren.
Baloney. The estate tax falls on fewer than one-half of 1 percent of farm estates. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that only 50 farms and closely held businesses will pay any estate tax in 2017. All are multimillion-dollar farms. Only estates worth $5.45 million or more must file a return, and most of them don’t owe any tax. For those who do owe tax, the Tax Policy Center estimates that the average effective rate would be 20 percent — with the option of spreading payments over 14 years.

2. Trump said “all” insurance companies have “fled the state of Iowa” and that “they’re leaving all of the states.”
Rubbish. Health insurer Medica Health announced Monday it would stay in the Iowa market statewide. As of June 21, there were just 44 counties in 3 states (Ohio, Missouri and Washington) in any danger of losing health insurers. But insurer Centene now says it will expand coverage in these states. Note also that the major reason given by insurance companies for leaving the Affordable Care Act is uncertainty from the Trump administration about whether it will continue to subsidize low-income enrollees.

3. Trump claimed he has reversed the trend of coal mining job losses because of his rollback of coal regulations, and pointed to the opening of a new coal mine in Pennsylvania as evidence that his policies have led to a resurgence in coal mining.
Utter nonsense. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40,000 coal mining jobs have been lost over the last 5 years. Since January, a minuscule 1,000 new coal mining jobs have been added, largely due to the opening of the Corsa Coal Company’s Acosta Deep Mine near Pittsburgh on June 8. But that had nothing to do Trump. The development of the Acosta mine began 2 months before his election victory. Also, the Acosta mine produces a type of coal used to make steel, a niche market in the coal industry, and the opening was due to problems mining such coal overseas. The vast majority of coal produced in the U.S. is thermal coal, used to generate electricity, whose consumption has declined by nearly 18 percent between 2012 and 2016 due to the surge in cheaper natural gas production driven by the shale revolution and to competition from renewable energy.

4. Trump touted his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which he said would have been an economic “catastrophe” for the U.S.
He's lying. The Paris agreement was on the way to stimulating renewable energy in the U.S. Now, China is about to take the lead on renewables. And failure to control carbon in the planet's atmosphere will be an economic, political, and social catastrophe. The agreement, which took effect last year, was signed by 195 countries and aims to keep warming “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to pursue “efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.” Trump's removal of the U.S. from that agreement is shameful and destructive.

5. Trump said he proposed a new law to bar new immigrants from receiving welfare for five years.
More rubbish. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, signed into law in 1996 by then-president Bill Clinton, already does that. It states that immigrants are “not eligible for any Federal means-tested public benefit for a period of 5 years beginning on the date of the alien’s entry into the United States.” That would include such benefits as food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security.

By this point, anyone who believes what comes out of Trump's mouth is either a knave or a fool.


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