During her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has made many claims about economic issues. CNN’s Reality Check Team put her statements and assertions to the test.
The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
Reality Check: Clinton on Trump’s child care plan
August 11, 2016
By Tami Luhby and Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney
Hillary Clinton blasted Donald Trump’s plan to exclude child care costs from people’s income, saying “it’s transparently designed for rich people.”
“He would give wealthy families 30 or 40 cents on the dollar for their nannies, and little or nothing for millions of hard-working families trying to afford child care so they can get to work and hold the job,” she said.
Here’s what Trump said he would do:
“My plan will … help reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes,” Trump said in a speech in Michigan on Monday.
There has been confusion among tax and child care experts as to how the break would work, because the candidate, the campaign and an outside economic adviser each described the break very differently.
Related: What Clinton and Trump would do for parents
The Trump campaign tried to clarify the issue to CNNMoney. While details are still being finalized, a spokesman confirmed the following:
– Parents could write off the average cost of child care in their state for their child’s age. Anyone with child care expenses who ends up owing income tax could take this benefit, even if they don’t itemize their deductions.
– Low-income filers, who often end up owing nothing in income tax, could instead take their deduction against their payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.
Still, tax experts said the break as described may not benefit lower income parents very much for at least two reasons. First, they have to pay child care costs throughout the year, so waiting until tax time for relief may be “too late to be much help for needy families,” said Elaine Maag, a senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center.
Second, what low-income filers pay in payroll taxes is typically much lower than what they owe in child care costs. “If you earned $20,000 in a year, your share of payroll taxes would be about $1,500. That would be the maximum amount of money that could be delivered through a payroll tax deduction,” Maag said.
It could be even less – just $750 – if an earlier statement from the campaign applies, she noted. That statement promised that parents could “exclude child care expenses from half of their payroll taxes.”
As for how much wealthy families would save, it would depend on how the credit is structured. But the top tax rate is 39.6%, so excluding child care costs from income could save the wealthy nearly 40 cents on the dollar.
We rate Clinton’s claim as TRUE.
Reality Check: Clinton on the costs of childcare in the US
June 22, 2016
By John Newsome, CNN
Clinton addressed minimum wage families and single parents who are dealing with the cost of childcare.
“Two parents earning the minimum wage have to spend up to 35% of their income on child care. For a single parent, it could be 70%,” she said.
While minimum wages are more-or-less the same throughout the country, the cost of childcare varies, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
In Clinton’s home state of New York, EPI says infant care can top $14,000, and childcare of a 4-year-old $11,000. For a federal minimum-wage single parent with an infant, this represents 75% of their income. For a dual minimum-wage household, it is 39%.
While the costs fluctuate from state-to-state, there are a number of states that fit the percentages she referenced. We therefore rate Clinton’s statement as TRUE.
Reality Check: Clinton says U.S. is only developed country without paid family leave
June 22, 2016
By Sonam Vashi, CNN
Clinton said, “Over the past several decades, women have entered the workforce and boosted our economy, yet we are the only, the only developed country that doesn’t provide paid family leave of any kind.”
The United States is the only developed economy that doesn’t pay maternity benefits or family leave, according to a 2014 International Labor Organization (ILO) report.
Most U.S. employees – about 60% – are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act to take 12 work weeks of unpaid leave. But just 13% of workers get paid family leave, according to a 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey.
Four states – California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York – provide guaranteed paid family leave insurance programs, in which employees must pay a premium for benefits. Washington passed a paid parental leave law 10 years ago, but it has been left unfunded.
However, not every developed country provides benefits that the ILO deems acceptable to its standards, which include 14 weeks of leave and providing at least two thirds of previous earnings. Some countries, such as Canada and Japan, exclude some types of workers from these benefits.
The U.S. is still the only developed economy that provides no nationwide family leave program. Clinton’s claim is TRUE.
Reality Check: Clinton says she supported $15 minimum wage
April 14, 2016
By Tom LoBianco, CNN
Debating Sanders in New York, where state lawmakers recently approved a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Clinton strongly suggested that she had been pushing for that much throughout her campaign.
“I have supported the fight for 15. I am proud to have the endorsement of most of the unions that have led the fight for 15. I was proud to stand on the stage with Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo, with (Service Employees International Union) and others who have been leading this battle, and I will work as hard as I can to raise the minimum wage. I always have. I supported that when I was in the Senate,” Clinton said.
Sanders, who introduced a bill to set the federal minimum wage at $15, quickly shot back, “I am sure a lot of people are very surprised to learn that you supported raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour.”
Clinton has long supported raising the minimum wage, but only recently came around to supporting a $15 minimum wage.
In November, she proposed a $12 federal minimum wage, and said it should be left to localities to decide whether they wanted to raise the wage further.
The Clinton campaign explains on its website: “Hillary believes we are long overdue in raising the minimum wage. She has supported raising the federal minimum wage to $12, and believes that we should go further than the federal minimum through state and local efforts, and workers organizing and bargaining for higher wages, such as the Fight for 15 and recent efforts in Los Angeles and New York to raise their minimum wage to $15. She also supports the Obama administration’s expansion of overtime rules to millions more workers.”
But cities and states already have the power to raise their own minimum wages – something cities and states across the nation have been doing for more than a year now. Clinton placed a point on it when she stood by Cuomo earlier this month at a rally shortly after he signed the state’s new $15 minimum wage.
Verdict: TRUE, BUT MISLEADING
Reality Check: Clinton on poverty
March 13, 2016
By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
In talking about fighting poverty, Clinton pointed out that poverty fell drastically during the administration of her husband, Bill Clinton.
“In the ’90s, more people were lifted out of poverty than any time in recent history. Because of the terrible economic policies of the Bush administration, President Obama was left with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and people fell back into poverty because they lost jobs, they lost homes, they lost opportunities and hope,” she said.
Poverty did rise under the first Bush administration. In 1989, George H.W. Bush’s first year in office, there were 31.5 million people in poverty, or 12.8% of Americans.
It rose to 39.3 million, or 15.1%, by 1993, when Bill Clinton entered the White House. In 2000, his last full year in office, it had dropped to 31.6 million people, or 11.3% of Americans, the lowest rate since 1974.
Poverty jumped again to 39.8 million people, or 13.2%, by 2008, when George W. Bush was leaving office.
The Great Recession sent millions more Americans into poverty. The rate hit 15.1% in 2010, when 46.3 million Americans were below the poverty line.
There are now 46.7 million people in poverty, or 14.8% of the nation. (The share has eased somewhat because the population has grown.)
Reality Check: Clinton says Americans haven’t had a raise in 15 years
February 11, 2016
By Tami Luhby and Chip Grabow, CNN
Hillary Clinton knows many Americans are angry about the economy, a sentiment her opponent Bernie Sanders has plugged into.
“For good cause,” she said in her opening statement during Thursday’s Democratic debate. “Many Americans haven’t had a raise in 15 years.”
Wages have remained stubbornly stagnant in recent years, even as employment has recovered from the Great Recession. That’s in large part because employers still have their pick of workers to fill positions so they don’t need to pay higher wages to attract new hires.
The income of the typical household was $53,657 in 2014, according to the most recent Census Bureau data available. That’s 7.2% lower than it was 15 years earlier, when it was $57,843.
If one looks at median weekly earnings, there’s been a scant 2% rise in pay for full-time wage and salary workers between 2000 and 2015, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
As the labor market continues to tighten, economists believe wages will finally start to rise this year.
Reality Check: Clinton on American prosperity under Bill Clinton
January 25, 2016
By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
Clinton pointed to the economic record of her husband, Bill Clinton, noting that “what was most important is incomes grew for everybody – not just those at the top. More people were lifted out of poverty, incomes rose in the middle and (for) working people.”
Americans did prosper under President Bill Clinton.
When Clinton took office in 1993, the nation’s median income was $50,421, according to U.S. Census data. In 2000, the last year of his term, the typical American earned $57,724. (It has since fallen to $53,657 in 2014, the most recent year available.)
Meanwhile, the share of Americans in poverty dropped during the Clinton years, from 15.1% in 1993 to 11.3% in 2000.
But the wealthy still did better. The top 1% saw their income nearly doubled during those years, according to data compiled by University of California-Berkeley Economic Professor Emmanuel Saez. The income of the bottom 99% grew by 20.3%.
Reality Check: Clinton on minimum wage
November 14, 2015
By Tami Luhby, CNN Money
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threw her support behind a $12 hourly minimum wage at Saturday’s debate. That’s lower than the $15 an hour minimum backed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, as well many progressive activists nationwide.
Clinton defended her stance, saying: “If you go to $12, it would be the highest historical average we’ve ever had.” That’s the “smartest” way to move forward, she added.
So has the minimum wage ever reached $12, even after adjusting for inflation? The answer is no. The highest it ever got was way back in 1968 when it was $1.60. That may seem low, but in today’s dollars it was $10.86.