WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and liberal stalwart Elizabeth Warren campaigned together Monday in Ohio, symbolizing the coming together of the Democratic Party for Clinton’s presidential campaign. A sampling of their statements and how they compare with the facts:
WARREN: “A lot of America is worried — worried and angry. Angry that too many times, Washington works for those at the top and leaves everyone else behind. That Washington … lets giant oil companies guzzle down billions of dollars in tax subsidies, but then says there’s no money to help kids refinance their student loans.”
THE FACTS: It’s not true Washington has empty pockets on the matter of student debt.
More borrowers are taking advantage of income-dependent repayment plans that make monthly expenses less burdensome and provide the possibility of debt forgiveness. Roughly $240 billion worth of loans are in repayment plans based on incomes, compared with just $72 billion in the middle of 2013, according to the Education Department.
Separately, the department erased $132 million in student loans for former students of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges, which collapsed last year amid evidence of fraud.
Interest rates are higher than what the senator from Massachusetts has advocated in the past, and today’s debt relief is not as substantial as what Clinton has proposed, but claiming “no money” is available for college debt relief is a significant stretch.
WARREN: “After my middle brother, John, got out of the Air Force, he got a good union job operating a crane. Today he has a pension because of that job. I learned from him that unions built America’s middle class and unions will rebuild America’s middle class.”
THE FACTS: The U.S. economy would have to undergo an improbable structural shift for unions to have the numbers and clout to rebuild the middle class. Just 11.1 percent of workers belong to unions, down from 20.1 percent in 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
WARREN: “Donald Trump … wants to abolish the minimum wage. Hillary Clinton believes no one should work full time and live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage,” paid family and medical leave, and more.
THE FACTS: Trump hasn’t been a model of clarity on the minimum wage, sketching out positions that seem at odds with each other.
The presumptive Republican nominee has said he would not raise the federal minimum wage, implying he’d leave it as is. He’s said at other times that he favors a higher base wage, but the matter should be left to the states — meaning the federal minimum would essentially be abolished.
Recently he’s said he favors an increase (and accused Warren of lying about his position). Warren has chosen to play up the Trump position that suits Democrats politically.
Clinton has supported a $12 federal minimum wage, but encouraged states and local communities to set the higher level of $15 sought by the liberal wing of the party personified by Warren and primary rival Bernie Sanders.