Fact Checking Ted Cruz’s Pushback Against the Claim that Republicans are the Party of the RIch

Senate Judiciary Committee members U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz questions David Barron during his nomination hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)
Senate Judiciary Committee members U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz questions David Barron during his nomination hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)

“Let me tell you now about the single biggest lie in politics: It is that Republicans are the party of the rich. What complete nonsense. Do you know that under President Obama, the top one percent, those millionaires and billionaires that the president loves to demagogue, the top one percent are currently earning the highest percentage of our national income since 1928? Listen, when the government expands its control of the economy, the rich do fine. Five years ago if you had a private jet you’re still flying the private jet. Who are the losers? Who are the people who are getting hammered by the Obama economy? It’s the most vulnerable among us.”

–Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), speech in Iowa, Oct. 26, 2013

This may seem like an old quote, but it’s a regular part of Cruz’s stump speech to declare that the “single biggest lie in politics” is that Republicans “are the party of the rich.”

We stumbled across this interesting observation just this week when Alex Moe of NBC News tweeted about Cruz’s March 18 speech in Mason City, Iowa.

Sen. Cruz in Mason City, IA: the single biggest lie in all of politics is republicans are party of the rich — Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) March 19, 2014

We could not find a clip of that speech, but we found three other versions of the same talking point, including an extended discussion on Reason TV in January.

Here at The Fact Checker, we don’t like to use the word “lie”—it seems rather pejorative—but a politician describing something as the “biggest lie” is irresistible. What’s the basis for this claim?

The Facts

If you listen to Cruz, he never really explains why he believes this is the “biggest lie.” Instead, he attacks President Obama for presiding over an increase in income inequality and says that the president’s policies, such as the health-care law, have negatively affected “young people, Hispanics, African Americans, single moms.”

In the Reason interview, Cruz said:

I try to look at every policy issue from the perspective of my dad in 1957 washing dishes, making 50 cents an hour. If my dad were washing dishes today, the odds are very, very high he would have lost his job because of the crushing taxes and regulations that are hammering small business.  Two-thirds of all new jobs come from small businesses.

If my dad hadn’t lost his job, the odds are overwhelming he would have had his hours forcibly reduced to 28 or 29 hours a week because the threshold for Obamacare is 30 hours a week. And, he wouldn’t have been able to pay his way through the University of Texas at 29 hours a week.  He wouldn’t have been able to feed his kid at 29 hours a week. And if he doesn’t have that first job washing dishes, he doesn’t get his second job working as a cook. Which means he doesn’t get his third job as a teaching assistant, which means he doesn’t get his fourth job as a computer programmer at IBM.

We need to be focusing on how policies impact those who are struggling and every policy we think about and talk about should make it easier for those who are struggling to climb up the economic ladder and achieve the American Dream.

One specific point that Cruz makes is that the Dodd-Frank banking law, which he asserts had the “intended consequence” of making big banks bigger and small banks disappear because only larger banks could deal with the law’s regulations. Cruz appears to associate big banks with the wealthy.

In essence, Cruz suggests that Republicans focus more on the needs of small businesses, which in turn lift up the poor.

Click here to continue reading…

SOURCE:  GLENN KESSLER 
The Washington Post

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