Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are promising to expand Social Security and ensure that all benefits can be paid in full and on time for the foreseeable future by requiring the wealthiest to pay more. Donald Trump promises to end Social Security as we know it.No amount of obfuscation by the Trump administration, Trump allies, surrogates, and so-called fact checkers should hide that very clear and very real fact.Fact Checking the Fact Checkers: Trump Does Indeed Plan To Destroy Social Security | The Smirking Chimp
When a Minister gets that flustered you know a nerve has been hit. (ODT)
The RMIT ABC Fact Check unit, funded jointly between the RMIT University and the ABC, describes itself as an “agenda-free zone” that does not allow staff of the unit to be members of political parties or activist groups.
Australia’s Shame…. ” Climate Change is Crap” Australia’s PM Tony Abbott (ODT)
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Claims that Sweden leads the world in sexual assault and rape are not supported by data.
From the September 1 edition of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360:DON LEMON (HOST): Donald Trump laying out his immigration plan in a speech tonight in Phoenix. Now, our CNN Reality Check team takes a look, here is our Tom Foreman. What do you have for us, Tom?TOM FOREMAN: Hey Don, you know the central theme of all of this, a big theme, was that
Mr Morrison claims that there are eight out of 10 income taxpayers required to go to work every day to pay for the $154 billion social services bill. ABC Fact Check runs the numbers.
Now that Tony Abbott’s time as prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party is over, how does his record of claims and promises stack up?
- The claim: Tony Abbott says it is a criminal offence to attack a royal commissioner.
- The verdict: There is a criminal offence for “insulting” a royal commissioner but experts say the provision is likely to be unconstitutional because it impinges on the right to comment on political matters. Mr Abbott’s claim is oversimplified.
- The claim: Joe Hockey has warned that Australia is at a “tipping point” and living beyond its means. “We cannot continue to go on borrowing $100 million a day as a government just to pay our daily bills,” he said.
- The verdict: Mr Hockey is using a conservative figure to estimate the daily cost of borrowing, but economists said his statement that we are at a “tipping point” is open to debate. Australia’s debt and deficit are not at particularly high levels historically, or internationally, and investors are prepared to lend more to the federal government. Mr Hockey’s claim is over-egged.
Experts weigh in
Economists contacted by Fact Check offered a range of responses to Mr Hockey’s claim.
Richard Robinson, from business research and forecasting firm BIS Shrapnel, says it is “a reasonable claim” yet points out Australia’s total debt remains low by world standards. “So I would not say we are at a tipping point…yet,” Mr Robinson added.
“I think it’s a bit alarmist,” Jakob Madsen of Monash University told Fact Check, while noting Mr Hockey’s sums are correct.
Professor Madsen also said that while the $100 million a day figure sounds “astronomical”, Australia’s deficit measured as a proportion of gross domestic product is a better measure and at 2.5 per cent is “not too bad” in historical terms.
And former Reserve Bank economist Paul Bloxham, from investment bank HSBC, said that, strictly speaking, Mr Hockey’s assertion that Australia can’t continue borrowing is not correct.
“The market is currently prepared to lend to the Australian government at an historically low interest rate of 2.5 per cent for 10 years,” he said.
This means the market clearly believes Australia’s budget deficit is sustainable at this stage, Mr Bloxham said.
Good debt and bad debt
Gordon Menzies, another former Reserve Bank economist now at the University of Technology, Sydney, said if you think of government debt in terms of a household or business debt, then a relevant comparison is that borrowing to buy a house or factory is quite different from borrowing to have a party.
“Some government spending, such as infrastructure spending, will yield ongoing benefits even if the government has to borrow to do it,” Dr Menzies told Fact Check.
Mr Bloxham also said if government spending is directed to investing in future growth, then the spending itself could help to support growth and pay the interest associated with the budget deficit.
“This is why the right question is not if the deficit is sustainable, because it clearly is,” Mr Bloxham said. “It is whether the spending is well allocated to building capacity to support medium-term growth.”
As for whether Australia is living beyond its means, Mr Robinson said the Government’s main problem is that it doesn’t have enough revenue to match expenditure.
“In my opinion, a large chunk of the revenue problem is due to large tax benefits to already wealthy people, with the largest of these being superannuation breaks, capital gains tax breaks and negative gearing,” Mr Robinson said.
Mr Hockey is using a conservative figure to estimate the daily cost of borrowing the difference between the Government’s expenditure and its revenue.
But economists said his statement that we are at a “tipping point” is more open to debate.
They point out Australia’s debt and deficit are not at particularly high levels historically, or internationally, and that investors are prepared to lend more to the federal Government. They also point out that some spending goes towards building infrastructure and investing in future economic growth.