Image From: Reuters
In their first presidential debate incumbent president Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney spun one-sided stories. The stories cannot be necessarily termed as bogus, but it was definitely not the entire truth. Obama tried to cover-up the health insurance premiums situation, whereas, Romney repeatedly asserted on an exaggerated number of unemployed people in the country.
Here’s a look at some of the claims made and how they contradict the on-ground facts.
Obama: "Over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up — it's true — but they've gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years. So we're already beginning to see progress. In the meantime, folks out there with insurance, you're already getting a rebate."
Facts: This is not precisely the case when it comes to premiums. Obama is mixing overall healthcare spending, which has been growing at historically low levels, and health care premiums, which continue to rise faster than overall economic growth.
Premiums for job-based family coverage have increased 4% this year. However, when it comes to insurance rebates under Obama’s health care law, less than 10% of people are benefitting.
Romney on failure of Obama’s economic policy: "And the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. The proof of that are 1 out of 6 people in poverty. The proof of that is we've gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. The proof of that is that 50 percent of college graduates this year can't find work."
Facts: The number of unemployed Americans is 12.3 million and not 23 million. Romney also included 8 million people who work part time but would like a full-time job. Furthermore, his claim that half of the college students can’t find work can also be rebuked.
According to a Northeastern University analysis, a quarter of graduates were unemployed and another quarter was underemployed, which means that their jobs do not make full use of their skills and experience.
Obama: It's important "that we take some of the money that we're saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild America."
Facts: This is an often repeated notion which is based on fiscal inaccuracy. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were paid for mostly with borrowed money, stopping them will not create a new reservoir of available cash that can be used for something like ‘rebuilding America’. It will only be effective to slow down government’s borrowing.
Romney: “What would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”
Facts: Romney has repeatedly portrayed China as the main cause behind large federal deficits. It’s true that China is the largest foreign holder of US debt, but that only represents 8% of the stake. Some two-third of the $16 trillion national debt is owed to the federal government.