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Sep 26, 2016 10:52 PM

AP FACT CHECK: Trump, Clinton deny their own words in debate

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's habit of peddling hype and fabrication emerged unabated in the first presidential debate while Hillary Clinton played it cautiously in her statements, though not without error. They both denied making statements that they are on the record as saying.

A look at some of the claims in the debate and how they compare with the facts:

TRUMP: President Barack Obama "has doubled (the national debt) in almost eight years. ... When we have $20 trillion in debt, and our country is a mess."

THE FACTS: Trump's expressed concern about the national debt obscures that his own policies would increase it by much more than Clinton's, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Trump's tax cuts would increase the deficit by $5.3 trillion over 10 years, the group found, while Clinton's proposals would boost the deficit by $200 billion. Those increases are on top of an already-projected increase of about $9 trillion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. By 2026, debt held by the public would total $23.3 trillion under Clinton's plans, and $28.4 trillion under Trump.

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TRUMP: "The Fed, by keeping interest rates at this level, the Fed is doing political things. ... The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton."

THE FACTS: This is a recurrent claim by Trump with no evidence to back it up. It's the Federal Reserve's job to help improve the economy and to the extent that happens, political leaders and their party may benefit. But presidents can't make the Fed, an independent agency, do anything.

Under former chairman Ben Bernanke and current chairwoman Janet Yellen, the Fed has attracted controversy by pegging the short-term interest rate it controls to nearly zero for seven years. After one increase in December, it is still ultra-low at between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent, a rate that some economists worry could spark a stock-market bubble or inflation. Bernanke was initially appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, and reappointed by President Barack Obama.

One reason Yellen is keeping rates low is that, in some ways, she agrees with Trump that hiring needs to keep growing to provide jobs for Americans who want them.

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