FactCheck.org rendered its verdict on the Republicans' "Pledge to America" and says it “falls short on some of its facts.”FactCheck.org is a nonprofit websitethat says it is a non-partisan "'consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics." A project at the Annenberg School for Communicationat the University of Pennsylvania,FactCheck.org is funded by the Annenberg Foundation.
Here’s what FactCheck didn’t like — do you agree?
For the full rundown, go to FactCheck.org:
FactCheck.org notes that page 5 of the Pledge says: “Our economy has declined and our debt has mushroomed with the loss of millions of jobs.”
But FactCheck.org says:“It’s true that the economy lost nearly 8.4 million jobs from the peak of employment in December, 2007 to the bottom of the job slump in December of last year. More than half (4.4 million) were lost before Obama took office. The economy has regained 723,000 jobs since hitting bottom, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
FactCheck.org notes that page 14 of the Pledge says: “Private sector unemployment remains at or near 10 %, jobless claims continue to soar, and the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.”
FactCheck.org says: “It’s true that the unemployment rate is 9.6%, but that’s actually down from the peak of 10.1 % reached last October. It’s also true that new claims for unemployment compensation – “jobless claims” – continue at a high level. But they are actually running 8% lowerthan they did at their worst levels, so they are slowly declining, not soaring.”
It adds: “And it’s not the case that only government is growing. The opposite is true — the private sector has gained a net total of 763,000 jobs this year, according to the BLS.”
FactCheck.org also says: “But at the same time, the total number of government jobs has declined by about 40,000, despite a transitory spike in hiring by the Census Bureau to conduct its decennial head count. That spike is now over. The decline in overall government employment is mostly due to public schools shedding 62,000 positions as local property tax rolls decline due to plunging real-estate values.”
Health Care Reform
FactCheck.org notes that page 26 of the Pledge says:“The Obama Administration has been forced to acknowledge that the new law will force some 87 million Americans to drop their current coverage.”
FactCheck.org says:“This is a misrepresentation. It’s true that the president over-promised when he repeatedly told Americans that ‘if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan.’ As we notedshortly before the bill passed, he can’t make that promise to everyone. It’s also true that after the bill passed, the administration released estimates showing that only about 55% of large employers and 34% of small employers would be offering the same insurance coverage in 2013 as they do now, under "grandfathering" rules. That works out to about 87 million workers — more or less — whose policies are likely to change in some way.”
It adds: “”But it’s deceptive of the GOP to claim that employers of these workers will 'drop' their coverage. It would be accurate to say they are expected to change it. In many cases policies will be replaced by more generous coverage, accompanied by government subsidies to help pay the premiums. Some workers will lose grandfathered status merely because their employers buy substantially similar policies from a different insurance company."
FactCheck.org notes: “In other cases coverage might get worse — plans would lose grandfathered status if they were significantly changed to cut benefits; raise co-insurance payments, copays or deductibles; lower employer contributions; or add or tighten caps on payments. But while the law would allow this, it certainly does not 'force' employers to reduce coverage, as many have done in the past.”
FactCheck.org notes that page 28 of the Pledge says:“Roughly 16,500 IRS auditors, agents, and other employees may be needed to collect the hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes levied on the American people by the new health care law.”
FactCheck.org says: “This is simply not true. As we reported last March, this figure 'stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.'
It adds: “For an eye-opening account of how Republican staff members of the House Ways and Means committee came up with this inflated figure, see our Ask FactCheck item posted March 30. Most of what the IRS will do under the law is hand out tax credits, not collect penalties.”
Pledge, page 14: “The trillion-dollar 'stimulus' spending bill…”
Pledge, page 15: “...the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ was signed into law…”
FactCheck.org says: “The stimulus bill is a big one, but CBO says it won’t cost $1 trillion, even spread over 10 years. CBO’s most recent estimateputs the price tag to $814 billion.
That’s higher than originally estimated at the time of passage, but still well short of $1 trillion.” Pledge, page 15:Despite the ‘stimulus’ and Democrats’ promises the unemployment rate would remain below 8%, the unemployment rate climbed from 7.7% in January 2009 to 9.5% in August 2010.
FactCheck.org says: “Republicans have a point here, as we noted some time ago. Back in July of last year we wrote, “the original projections from President Obama’s economic advisers on what would happen with and without the stimulus plan are still off — and significantly so.” But nobody 'promised' that unemployment would remain below 8%.”
It adds: “As we also wrote in June of last year, the White Houseexplanation was simple: ‘They say President George Bushleft them a worse mess than they realized’ when Obama’s advisers came up with their predictions. And that’s true. The original chart – produced Jan. 9, 2009 — was based on economic projections that were in line with what private economists were forecasting. Those forecasts were being revised for the worse even before any stimulus money was spent.”
FactCheck.org says: “And for the record, CBO’s experts calculate that the stimulus has had a positive effect on employment. In its most recent reporton the measure, the agency estimated that in the second quarter of 2010, stimulus spending lowered the unemployment rate between 0.7 and 1.8 percentage points and increased the number of people working between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.”
Pledge, page 14:“[Obama] also wants to raise taxes on roughly half of small business income in America.”
FactCheck.org says: “This is an exaggeration. Republicans are equating 'net positive business income' reported on individual returns with 'small business income,' which isn’t correct. They rely on a report from the nonpartisan staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation(p. 12), which estimated that about 3% of taxpayers who have any business income on their personal returns would see a tax increase under Obama’s proposal, and that those 750,000 taxpayers account for about half of all the business income reported.”
It adds: “But some of that income is from bigbusinesses raking in tens of millions of dollars a year. The JCT stated quite clearly that these figures for net positive business income do not imply that all of the income is from entities that might be considered ’small.’ Some in fact are quite large, and those big businesses account for a good chunk of that income.”
FactCheck.org says: “The JCT said: 'For example, in 2005, 12,862 S corporations and 6,658 partnerships had receipts of more than $50 million.'"