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Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump's Convention Speech, Deconstructed

Donald Trump made his most important speech so far, at the Republican National Convention.  I went to Politifacts (and party-neutral organization) for some analysis.  I really don’t care for political speeches myself on either side, but I do find those who do can provide useful information.  Slight changes to identify Politifacts more clearly...

TRUMP CLAIM: We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint. This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal.
POLITIFACTS: It actually came AFTER the signing of the Iran deal, which happened on July 14, 2015. The sailors were captured in Jan. 2016 — right before President Obama's State of the Union address.

MY THOUGHTS:  Trump’s sense of time is poor.  It might be deliberate or it might be “convenient”.  But it is usually wrong.  Trump arranges facts to suit his goals.  In other words, he lies.
Trump Calls for Suspending Immigration From 'Compromised' Countries 0:27

TRUMP CLAIM: My opponent wants to essentially abolish the 2nd amendment.

POLITIFACTS: Clinton has proposed gun regulations, like background checks to purchase firearms. Yet the 2008 Supreme Court decision protecting and individual's right to possess firearms also stated that the right isn't unlimited — and can be subjected to regulations.

MY THOUGHTS:  Clinton supports some restrictions on gun ownership.  You don’t need military weapons to hunt deer.  Crazy people shouldn’t have them.  More people are killed by personally-owned guns than are saved.  You need military weapons only for their intended purpose - to kill people.   My view of the 2nd amendment is that it is pre-standing army and it is obsolete in the modern age.  We do not have or need functional “militias” today.

TRUMP CLAIM: Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America's fifty largest cities. That's the largest increase in 25 years.

POLITIFACT: Trump is correct that there has recently been an uptick in crime, including in some (but not all) of America's largest cities. But overall, violent crime is down significantly since the 1980s and 1990s, according to FBI statistics. And the current violent crime rate is lower today per the most recent data (365 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 people) than when President Obama first took office in 2009 (431 incidents per 100,000 people).

MY THOUGHTS:  Crime rates go up and down mostly in accordance to the population of 18-24 years old males in poverty status.  Drug-usage patterns matter too.

TRUMP CLAIM: The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015.

POLITIFACTS: That statistic is true, but it's also a bit of cherry-picking. In Fiscal Year 2014, there were more than 68,000 apprehensions of immigrant families crossing the border. That number declined to 40,000 in Fiscal Year 2015. In Fiscal Year 2016 (which ends in September), the number stands at 51,000 — so higher than in 2015, but lower than 2014.

MY THOUGHTS:  2015 had an unusually low illegal immigration rate.  Compared to 2014, the 2016 rate is lower.  It it always easy to find one year to compare to another and make things look bad.  A serious and thoughtful person would not do that.  But Trump is not a serious and thoughtful person.  If a random asteroid hit the Earth, he would blame Hillary Clinton and all Democrats for the uptick in asteroid strikes.

TRUMP CLAIM: Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58 percent of African-American youth are now not employed. Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the President took his oath of office less than eight years ago.

POLITIFACT: Yes, 38 percent of African American children are living in poverty, according to Census data. But Trump isn't correct that 58 percent of African American youth are unemployed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the African American unemployment rate for those ages 16-19 is 28.4 percent (versus 16.9 percent for all youth that age). And Trump is misleading on his claim about Latinos living in poverty. In 2009, 12.3 million Latinos were living in poverty (with a rate of 25.3 percent). In 2014, the number jumped to 13 million — but the rate actually DECLINED to 23.6 percent.

MY THOUGHTS:  Another example of misleading with statistics.  But more importantly, there are 2 possibilities.  Either Trump doesn’t understand the numbers, or he does and is deliberately misleading voters with them.  He says he is smart, so he OUGHT to understand the numbers.  Either way, it doesn’t say much about his honesty.  Or his supporters intelligence...

TRUMP CLAIM: President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than 19 trillion dollars, and growing.

POLITIFACT: He's right. When Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the public debt stood at $10.6 trillion. It is now $19.4 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

MY THOUGHTS:  In 2009, after the Bush Administration economic collapse $10.6 trillion dollars was a larger percent of the gross national product than $19.4 trillion is now in the recovered economy.  Think of it this way.  If you earned $50,000 and owed $10,000 that would be worse than earning $75,000 and owing $13,000.  Debt has to be compared to income...

TRUMP CLAIM: Where was sanctuary for all the other ... Americans who have been so brutally murdered [by undocumented immigrants], and who have suffered so, so horribly?

POLITIFACTS: Researchers have found that first-generation immigrants (legal or not) commit less crime than native-born Americans or second-generation immigrants.

MY THOUGHTS:  Some groups of US citizens like to assume that immigrants (legal or illegal) commit most of the crimes in the US.  The facts disprove that.  I support LEGAL immigration, controlled by rules.  I do NOT support illegal immigration.  But the argument against all immigrants legal and illegal is not supported by facts.  I am more likely to be a victim of a crime by a legal citizen than by either class of immigrants.

TRUMP CLAIM: [Hillary Clinton] supported NAFTA, and she supported China's entrance into the World Trade Organization — another one of her husband's colossal mistakes and disasters ... She supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

POLITIFACTS: Trump is correct that Clinton backed NAFTA and China's entry into the WTO, which took place while her husband was president. Yet although touting the TPP trade agreement while she served as secretary of state, Clinton has since opposed the measure. Notably, Trump's vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence also has praised NAFTA and TPP.

MY THOUGHTS:  Trump is in an outrageously awkward position here.  Globalization is a fact.  Companies logically move to where they can produce a product at the least cost.  Trump does this routinely.  Trump has pages long suppliers from other countries yet rails against outsourcing.   His objections ring hollow.

Aside from that, Trump objects to Clinton’s one-time support of NAFTA and the TPP.  People change their opinions of such things (and note that Trump’s VP candidate supported them too).

But the truth of the matter is that, in a global economy, international trade agreements are important.  The TPP is designed to constrain China’s influence in the Western Pacific.  China doesn’t like it.
NAFTA has reduced tarrifs between the US Canada and Mexico, reducing costs to consumers.  NAFTA has increased real wages for workers in all 3 countries by modest but real amounts.  Trade of goods and services between the U.S., Canada and Mexico has increased from $337 billion in 1993, before NAFTA went into effect, to $1.182 trillion in 2011.

We don’t notice these price changes in goods daily.  After all, when you go to a store, do you really know why the price of a shirt is $12.99 instead of $13.99?  Of course not.  But NAFTA is one reason why it is the lower price.
I won’t say the trade agreement benefit everyone.  A shirt buttoneer may have to learn to attach headlights to cars.  Things change,  I had a dozen jobs in my 35 years of work from mowing army base grass to selling automotive parts to managing office space to managing telecommunications.  No one is ever going to retire what they did when they started.

Jobs are where you find them.  But Trump’s world is a fiction of a return to the past, and following him is a road down anger to nowhere.

The way forward in the world is through experience and gradual progress.  If you are out of work, your next job isn’t going to be the CEO of some US company.  It is going to be learning a new skill a US company values.

Trump’s World is the 1950s.  This isn’t the 1950s.  We aren’t going to be the 1950s again.  Its 2016, the future your parents didn’t imagine.    Get moving or get left behind.  It’s up to you to sit and gripe and start learning something new.


Just Ducky said...

Lies, damned lies and statistics!

Megan said...

Thanks for sharing. Very interesting. Trump and the Republican Convention are getting lots of coverage in our press: a mix of "OMG - look at this idiot" and "OMG - this guy might end up President of the USA". At least he makes our politicians look good. LOL

Sydney, Australia