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Fact-checking Hillary Clinton's economic speech about Donald Trump
Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg June 21, 2016

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton delivered a speech in Columbus, Ohio, that was supposed to focus on the economy. And it did — or at least on how Donald Trump would wreck it.

By our count, Clinton used about 75 percent of her words to attack the economic ideas and proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee. She promised a more positive approach describing her own plans for the next day.

We went through Clinton’s speech to vet it for accuracy. (We’ll update it with more fact-checks as they are published.)

"He bankrupted his companies not once, not twice, but four times."

Clinton could have actually offered a higher count. Four of Trump’s companies — three casinos in Atlantic City and the Plaza Hotel in New York — filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and 1992 alone. He declared Chapter 11 again in 2004 and once again in 2009.

It’s not entirely fair to pin it all on Trump, as Clinton seems to do, as the majority of the bankruptcies happened when the overall casino industry was struggling. We rated Clinton’s claim Mostly True.  

"Donald Trump actually stood on a debate stage in November and said that wages are too high in this country."

Trump has said many things about the minimum wage.

During the Republican debate in Milwaukee in November 2015, Trump said wages are "too high" and, when asked whether he would raise the minimum wage, said, "I would not do it."

Trump wouldn’t endorse a higher minimum wage in an interview with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, on Aug. 20, 2015.

"I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country," Trump said.

But Trump said the minimum wage is too low in an interview with Chuck Todd on May 8, 2016 on Meet the Press.

"I don't know how people make it on $7.25 an hour. Now, with that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I'd rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide. … I think people should get more. … I don't know how you live on $7.25 an hour."

So what Clinton stated was accurate, but it left out Trump’s more nuanced answer in May.

"In 2006, before the financial crash, Trump said, and again, I quote, ‘I sort of hope’ that the housing market crashes."

This leaves out some context, but the words themselves are accurate.

In 2006, real estate values had peaked and there was concern that they were overpriced, creating a "bubble" that could burst, producing a rapid fall in values.

In an interview for the audiobook How to Build a Fortune, created as part of Trump University, Trump is asked, "There's a lot of talk, which you've no doubt heard too, about a so-called real estate bubble. What's your take on that pessimism?"

"Well first of all, I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy. You know, if you're in a good cash position — which I'm in a good cash position today — then people like me would go in and buy like crazy," he says in a portion of the audiobook posted by CNN. "If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know, you can make a lot of money."

Whether the "bubble burst" that Trump was hoping for deserves to be called a "crash," especially a crash on the scale of what occurred during the Great Recession, is open to debate. And Trump went on to say that he didn’t think that the housing bubble would burst.

"He wants to end Obamacare, but has no credible plan to replace it or to help keep costs down. It really wouldn’t be good for our economy, would it, if 20 million people lost their health insurance."

There’s no question about him wanting to end Obamacare. Trump’s campaign website says, "On day one of the Trump administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare." As for the 20 million people who might lose their health insurance, that’s based on a March 2016 release from the Health and Human Services Department.

"The provisions of the Affordable Care Act have resulted in  an estimated 20 million people gaining health insurance coverage between the passage of the law in 2010 and early 2016," according to the press release.

However, it wouldn’t necessarily follow that all of those people would be without health insurance if Obamacare ended. As for Trump’s replacement plan, the details are vague.

"According to the independent Tax Policy Center, (Trump’s tax plan) would increase the national debt by more than $30 trillion over 20 years."

That is what the Tax Policy Center wrote. Their report said, "Including interest costs, the proposal would add $11.2 trillion to the national debt by 2026 and $34.1 trillion by 2036." However, that estimate assumes no major spending cuts. The authors also wrote, "If spending were cut enough to offset most of the revenue losses, the economy would grow." But they added the caveat that history shows when tax cuts have been made, matching spending cuts don’t follow.

"Maybe we will learn he hasn’t paid taxes on his huge income? We know that happened for at least a few years – he paid nothing, or close to it."

We don’t know much about Trump’s taxes, but a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators analyzed Trump's finances as part of his efforts to get a casino license for a proposed casino-hotel complex. The report says Trump paid no federal income tax in 1978 and 1979 because, according to the tax rules, he lost money.

(He wants to) "round up and deport more than 11 million people."

Trump said in August 2015 that all illegal immigrants "have to go." Trump amplified that call in May, saying he wanted teams to remove an estimated 11 million people who are in the country without authorization. He described how he would do this in an MSNBC interview in November 2015 when he said, "You’re going to have a deportation force. And you’re going to do it humanely."

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