He Said, She Said: Fact-Checking the Third Presidential Debate

Trump supporter wearing red hat

In the third presidential debate, while Republican candidate Donald Trump decried the state of the U.S. manufacturing industry, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton boasted her spending plans won’t add “a single penny” to the country’s debt. But how true are these claims?

America’s Manufacturing Production

The real estate tycoon complained America doesn’t produce stuff anymore, “relatively speaking.” A quick fact-checking shows his claim is wrong. The U.S. factory production grew two-fold as compared to 1979 levels, when employment in the manufacturing industry was peaking.

Trump could have made a more valid point had he complained about manufacturing employment. Indeed, America’s manufacturing industry shed over 7 million jobs over the same time simply because companies now produce more with fewer people. This marks a 40 percent job loss since 1979.

Even though factories employ fewer workers because of modern technology, they are still producing plenty of U.S. products. The Commerce Department reported that production of U.S. goods hit $1.91 trillion in 2015.

Another claim: Clinton said she would make some changes but not add “a single penny to the national debt.” After another quick fact-check, the assertion proves false.  The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculated that her plans to revamp infrastructure, expand current welfare programs, boost early childhood education would add $200 billion to the national debt by 2026.

The ‘Open Borders’ Claim

When Trump accused Clinton of planning to open the borders she said she was talking about energy. The controversy stems from a paid speech she gave to a Brazilian bank in 2013. WikiLeaks released the transcript of the speech last week in a new batch of leaked emails.

A quick glance at the transcript can show Clinton is wrong again. In the speech, she talked about “hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” before mentioning a future based on clean energy, which could power opportunity for all people living “in the hemisphere.” The full context suggests she wants more than an open energy market. So, Trump, this time, is right.

College Debt

Clinton also said she wants to erase college debt. So far, her proposals revolved around in-state students who attend public colleges or universities. So, she could give free college tuition but under some conditions. She also said tuition would be free if the student’s family earns less than $125,000 a year.

What’s more, even in-state students may have to borrow for other expenses such as food and accommodation, which account for more than half of student expenses, according to a report from College Board.

Trump said about Clinton that her tax reform would raise taxes to all Americans, and even double their taxes. Trump is wrong, as facts show. Tax Policy Center found Clinton will raise taxes for just 5 percent of Americans, or the nation’s rich and superrich. This segment of taxpayers could see their taxes double, even though the scenario is not very likely.

The TPP Deal

On Wednesday night, Clinton also hinted that she opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“It didn’t meet my test,”

she said.

But WikiLeaks says otherwise. The hacktivist website released an e-mail from her top aide Jake Sullivan in which he praised her as a “big champion” of the TPP. In the primaries she changed her position on the deal when she saw Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suddenly grew in popularity when he opposed the secretive trade agreement.

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