Hillary Clinton delivered an economic speech in Warren, Michigan Thursday. She offered few new details on her own policy, and instead devoted most of her time to slamming Donald Trump’s tax plan, which he discussed Monday.
Here are the facts behind Clinton’s speech.
CLAIM: “An independent analysis by a former economic adviser to Senator John McCain,” Clinton said, found that Trump’s platform would lead to 3.4 million in job losses, while her plan would create 10 million jobs.
THE FACTS: Clinton is referring to a June assessment by Moody’s Analytics. It was authored by several economists, but led by Mark Zandi. Zandi was in fact one of McCain’s advisers — but he’s also a registered Democrat and a donor who has maxed out to Clinton’s campaign.
The Moody’s analysis did say that Trump’s policies would result in 3.4 million in job losses over the course of his potential presidency, reading in part: “The economic damage created by Mr. Trump’s policies is also stark when considering how the economy would perform if there were no significant changes to policy.” Moody’s July report on Clinton’s economic plan said it would create 10.4 million new jobs over the course of her hypothetical presidency.
CLAIM: “Then there’s the Estate Tax, which Trump wants to eliminate altogether. If you believe that he’s as wealthy as he says, that alone would save the Trump family $4 billion. But it would do nothing for 99.8 percent of Americans.”
THE FACTS: Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said this mostly checks out. The Estate Tax — which Republicans prefer to call the Death Tax — only affects estates worth more than $5 million, and just 0.2 percent of people who die each year surpass that threshold. The $4 billion figure though, based on Trump’s stated net worth of $10 billion, is a bit trickier since Trump could employ a number of tax avoidance mechanisms.
CLAIM: "I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages — including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as President."
THE FACTS: Clinton came late to opposing the TPP: She called it the “gold standard” of trade deals when she was Secretary of State. She now says she opposes it, and would as president, though critics on both the right and left remain suspicious.
CLAIM: Clinton said Trump called for a new loophole in his Monday speech that would allow him “to pay less than half the current tax rate on income from many of his companies.” She added that he would “pay a lower rate than millions of middle class families.”
THE FACTS: The Washington Post delved into what Clinton calls the “Trump loophole,” which would effectively lower the tax rate on high-income “pass-through” entities — companies that file taxes through their individual owners, rather than at corporate rates — from 39.6 percent to 15 percent.
Williams said Clinton is right to say that Trump’s companies would indeed pay half the current tax rate. But he said it’s harder to state definitively whether that would be lower than middle-class families' rates, since it would depends on their income level, and thus tax rate, as well as the amount they pay in payroll taxes. Under Trump’s plan, an estimated 63 percent of low-and-middle-class Americans would pay no federal income taxes at all.
CLAIM: “We do know that the 400 richest taxpayers in America would get an average tax cut of more than $15 million a year from this loophole,” Clinton said.
THE FACTS: The IRS periodically puts out data on the top 400 taxpayers. While Williams said it’s difficult to measure this claim in detail, he guesses they'd save between $10 and $15 million. “They’d save a lot of money,” he said.
CLAIM: “The tax cuts he doubled down on in his speech on Monday offer trillions to the richest Americans and corporations.”
THE FACTS: Clinton may be high-balling here, but it’s difficult to know for sure without more details on Trump’s new tax plan. The Tax Policy Center estimated that Trump’s old tax proposal would cut federal revenues by $9.5 trillion over the first 10 years, and that “high-income taxpayers would receive the biggest cuts, both in dollar terms and as a percentage of income.” However, Trump altered key portions of his plan Monday with the goal of making it $7 trillion less expensive, so the old analysis is out of date.