Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fact Checker: Our six-month update of President Trump's false/misleading claims: 836 claims in 181 days

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Date: Jul 21, 2017 1:01 PM
Subject: Fact Checker: Our six-month update of President Trump's false/misleading claims: 836 claims in 181 days
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Our six-month update of President Trump's false/misleading claims: 836 claims in 181 days At an event earlier this week, President Trump made a definitive assertion — then paused. He said: "I better say 'think,' otherwise they'll give you a Pinocchio. And I don't like those — I don't like Pinocchios." Yet what he said — …
 
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Our six-month update of President Trump's false/misleading claims: 836 claims in 181 days

At an event earlier this week, President Trump made a definitive assertion — then paused. He said: "I better say 'think,' otherwise they'll give you a Pinocchio. And I don't like those — I don't like Pinocchios."

Yet what he said — that he signed more bills than any other president — was totally wrong. Trump truly is the most fact-challenged politician The Fact Checker has ever encountered.

Through the Fact Checker's Trump Claims database, we've been keeping careful track of every false or misleading thing Trump says during his first 365 days in office. We started this database because the pace and volume of the president's misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up. Readers can use the interactive database to quickly search a claim after they hear it, since there's a good chance he's said it before. But it also shows us just how repetitive Trump's claims are.

Thursday marked the end of Trump's first six months in office, so we took a look at what Trump has been misleading the public the most: that Obamacare is "dead" (the Congressional Budget Office found Obamacare exchanges are expected to remain stable for the foreseeable future); taking credit for jobs he didn't create; that his actions have led to billions of dollars flowing into NATO (false); that he proposed "the biggest tax cut in the history of our country" (the administration hasn't released an actual tax plan); and more.

Six months in, the president's tally stands at 836 false or misleading claims. That's an average of 4.6 claims a day.

(giphy.com)

 

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Decoding politicians' hypocrisy: Medicaid cuts vs. tax cuts? 

Washington politics often revolves around numbers. And no number is more important that the "baseline." When politicians talk about "spending cuts" or "tax cuts," they are measuring against a baseline. But it's a process open to manipulation and hypocrisy.

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Our resident baseline expert Glenn Kessler was recently on vacation. And true to form, while floating down the Mekong River, he thought of the best way to explain the whole "baseline" talking point. It's pretty simple, actually: Look at how politicians say Medicaid spending goes up while taxes go down under the GOP health bill.

A baseline measures the impact of policy changes in government spending and taxes versus current policies. The baseline records what would happen if nothing is changed and current policies remained the same.

You may have heard President Trump and other defenders of the GOP health law trying to claim that Medicaid spending goes up, not down, as a result of the health bill. The actual dollars spent on Medicaid does go up under the bill, but much more slowly compared to current law. Measured against the baseline — as in, compared to what the spending would have been under current law — funding for Medicaid would be $160 billion lower under the health bill.

Yet you may have heard the same politicians claim there is a tax cut in the bill because it repeals Obamacare taxes. The bill does reduce taxes relative to the baseline. But if you use the same logic that Medicaid spending is not cut, you can't argue that taxes get cut. That's because the actual dollars in tax revenues still grow, yet at a slower pace than under current law.

If a politician says there are tax cuts, they must also say there are Medicaid cuts. If a politician says Medicaid spending is growing, they must also say taxes are growing. Anything else is just spin. (Thanks to the Mekong River for contributing to this fact check.)

(giphy.com)

We're always looking for fact-check suggestions. You can also reach us via email, Twitter (@myhlee@GlennKesslerWP or use #FactCheckThis), or Facebook (Fact Checker or myhlee). Read about our rating scale here, and sign up here for our weekly Fact Checker newsletter. 

Scroll down for this week's Pinocchio roundup.

— Michelle Ye Hee Lee

 
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No, President Trump, you haven't signed more bills than any other president
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