Fact Check: Mayor Pete Claims U.S. Economy ‘Not Working for Most’ Americans

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Seven candidates out of the crowded field qualified for the 6th and last Democratic presidential primary …
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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed on Thursday the economy was “not working for most” Americans at the Democrat presidential primary debate in Los Angeles, California.

Buttigieg made the claim when asked by the debate’s moderator to explain his argument for winning over voters who “may not like everything President Donald Trump has done,” but like the economy.

“Where I live folks aren’t measuring the economy by how the Dow Jones is doing, they’re measuring the economy by how they’re doing,” the mayor said in response. “When you’re doing the bills at the end of the month at your kitchen table and you find that even if your wages have gone up it’s not nearly going as fast as the cost of health[care] and housing.”

“This economy is not working for most of us, for the middle class and, I know you’re only ever supposed to say ‘middle class’ and not poor in politics, but we’ve got to talk about poverty in this country,” he added, before arguing for increasing the minimum wage and stronger labor protections.

Buttigieg’s claim that the economy is not working for most Americans, especially those in the middle and working class, is strongly rebutted by most fiscal indicators.

Since President Donald Trump’s tax cuts went into effect, wages have gone up, while unemployment has hit  record lows. The impact has been most felt by blue-collar and low-skill workers, who have seen their wages grow by more than three percent in the last year alone.

Meanwhile, the number of out of work Americans, contrary to Buttigieg’s suggestion, is at the lowest point since the great recession in 2007. Likewise, the unemployment rate reached 3.5 percent in November—the lowest in 50 years.

Further undercutting Buttigieg’s claim is that Trump’s policies have boosted communities that have generally missed out on prior periods of economic growth. As such, the unemployment rates among African Americans and Hispanics have reached record lows, while median household income has soared.

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