The first Democratic debate, night 1
Elizabeth Warren said the insurance industry last year “sucked $23 billion in profits out of the health care system.”
Facts first: It’s true. Insurance companies’ profits have been booming.
A study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows the private insurance industry has seen “tremendous growth” raking in profits of $23.4 billion in 2018 compared to $16.1 billion the year before. That’s the highest profit amount in at least 10 years.
It also shows that those companies’ profit margin improved to 3.3% from 2.4% in 2017.
Elizabeth Warren said that "there's a $23 trillion market coming for green products."
Facts first: According to a World Bank estimate, that's correct.
Warren was referring to a report by the International Finance Corporation, a division of the World Bank Group, which found that commitments made by emerging economies under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement potentially will open up to $23 trillion in opportunities for investment in low-carbon technology and infrastructure.
Cory Booker often notes on the campaign trail that he lives in a low-income, inner-city area. During Wednesday night's debate, the former Newark, NJ, mayor said that seven people were shot in his Newark neighborhood last week.
"I hear gunshots in my neighborhood,” Booker said. “I think I'm the only one, I hope I am the only one that had seven people shot in their neighborhood just last week."
Fact Check: It's sad, and it's true.
Six people were injured and one man died in two separate shootings in Newark’s Central Ward, where Booker lives, the Tuesday before last, according to Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose.
Two women were injured and one man was killed in the first shooting, just before 4 p.m., Ambrose said in a press release. Five minutes and about a mile away four men were injured in another shooting, Ambrose said.
Booker lives just a block away from that first shooting.
Tim Ryan claimed that “the top 1% control 90% of the wealth.”
Facts first: This is incorrect. Recent studies show the wealthiest 1% own around 39% of the country’s total wealth.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research institute, “the share of wealth held by the top 1 percent rose from just under 30 percent in 1989 to nearly 39 percent in 2016.”
Sen. Cory Booker said at tonight's debate, "If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and own a firearm. And not everybody in this field agrees with that, but in states like Connecticut that did that, they saw 40% drops in gun violence and 15% drops in suicides."
Facts First: There is peer-reviewed academic support for this claim.
Booker was referring to the effects of a 1995 law that required a permit or a license to obtain a firearm, raised the age of people allowed to own guns from 18 to 21, and required 8 hours of gun safety training.
A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the law was associated with a 40% drop in the firearm-related homicide rate.
A 2015 study in the journal Preventive Medicine found that the law decreased the firearm suicide rate by an estimated 15.4%.
Rep. Tim Ryan claimed that “the bottom 60% haven’t seen a raise since 1980.”
Facts first: This is incorrect. The bottom 60% have seen their income rise since 1980.
It’s unclear where Ryan is pulling this statistic from, but a 2018 report from the Congressional Budget Office says that the bottom 60% saw an increase in household income of 32% -- adjusted for inflation -- from 1979 to 2015.
Meanwhile the top 1% saw their income rise by 233%.
Reps. Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard sparred on Wednesday night over the best strategy in Afghanistan.
“These flare ups distract us from the real problems in the country,” Ryan said. “If we’re getting drones shot down for $130 million because the president is distracted, that’s 130 million that we could be spending in places like Youngstown, Ohio or Flint, Michigan --”
“Congressman Ryan,” Gabbard said.
“Or rebuilding--” Ryan continued.
“Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan --’we just have to engage’?” Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq War, said.
“As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable,” she added. “We have to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. We are in a place in Afghanistan where we have lost so many lives. We’ve spent so much money -- money that’s coming out of every one of our pockets money that should be going into communities here at home, meeting the needs of the people here at home.
Gabbard continued, “We are no better off in Afghanistan today than we were when the war began. This is why it’s so important to have a president and commander in chief who knows the cost of war and who’s ready to do the job on Day 1, I am ready to do that job when I walk into the Oval Office.”
Ryan replied, “I don’t want to be engaged. I wish we were spending all this money in places that I’ve represented that have been completely forgotten and we’re rebuilding. But the reality of it is, if the United States doesn’t engage, the Taliban will grow and they will have bigger bolder terrorist acts. We have got to have some presence there --”
“The Taliban has been there long before we became in, they’ll be there long after we leave,” Gabbard said. “We can not keep US troops deployed to Afghanistan thinking that we’re going to somehow squash this Taliban that has been there--”
Ryan said, “I didn’t say squash them. When we weren’t in there, they started flying planes into our buildings. So I’m just saying right now--”
Gabbard replied, “The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11, Al-Qaeda did. Al-Qaeda attacked us on 911, that’s why I and so many people joined the military to fight Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban.”
Ryan said, “I understand that, the Taliban was protecting those people who were plotting against us. All I’m saying is, if we want to go in to elections and we want to say that we got a withdrawal from the world, that’s what President Trump is saying. We can’t, I would love for us to.”