CLAIM: Joe Biden claimed at the ninth Democrat presidential debate that the American middle class is getting killed and the poor have no way up under President Donald Trump’s economy.
VERDICT: False. Wages for blue-collar and low-skill workers have increased since the start of the Trump presidency, while unemployment has fallen.
Biden, who has seen his hopes of becoming the Democrat nominee evaporate with the entrance of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, came out swinging on economic issues during Wednesday’s debate. In between touting his proposal to raise taxes across the board and lambasting Bloomberg for being a billionaire, Biden also asserted most Americans were not doing well under the Trump presidency.
“We should be rewarding work, not just wealth,” the former vice president said. “The American people, the middle class is getting killed and the poor have no way up.”
The claim, though, is not accurate. Since 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 Biden’s suggestion, is at the lowest point since the great recession in 2007. Likewise, the unemployment rate reached 3.5 percent in November 2019—the lowest in 50 years.
Further undercutting Biden’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.