Fact-checking resources for the 2020 presidential debates

Before the candidates take the stage for the first presidential debate of 2020, EPI has compiled resources that could be helpful in fact-checking the economic and political claims that are made during and after the debate. We’ve broken down our research into several themes and have highlighted some of our most important research in each area:

Response to COVID-19


Labor protections

  • 50 reasons the Trump administration is bad for workers
    The Trump administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic marks the administration’s most glaring failure of leadership. However, the administration’s response to the pandemic is in no way distinct from its approach to governing since President Trump’s first day on the job. The administration has systematically promoted the interests of corporate executives and shareholders over those of working people and failed to protect workers’ safety, wages, and rights.
  • Unprecedented: The Trump NLRB’s attack on workers’ rights
    Under the Trump administration, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has systematically rolled back workers’ rights to form unions and engage in collective bargaining with their employers, to the detriment of workers, their communities, and the economy.
  • Why unions are good for workers—especially in a crisis like COVID-19
    The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored both the importance of unions in giving workers a collective voice in the workplace and the urgent need to reform U.S. labor laws to arrest the erosion of those rights. During the crisis, unionized workers have been able to secure enhanced safety measures, additional premium pay, paid sick time, and a say in the terms of furloughs or work-share arrangements to save jobs.

Trade and manufacturing

  • We can reshore manufacturing jobs, but Trump hasn’t done it: Trade rebalancing, infrastructure, and climate investments could create 17 million good jobs and rebuild the American economy
    While the Trump administration has claimed that the era of U.S. offshoring is “over,” the reality is that the United States has not begun to address the root causes of America’s growing trade deficits and the decline of American manufacturing. Decades of trade, currency, and tax policies that incentivized offshoring, combined with an utter failure to invest adequately in infrastructure and good jobs at home, have contributed to growing inequality and an eroding middle class.
  • Trump’s ‘blue-collar boom’ is likely a dud
    Globalization has reduced wages for working Americans by putting non-college-educated workers into a competitive race to the bottom in wages, benefits, and working conditions with low-wage workers in Mexico, China, and other low-pay, rapidly industrializing countries. The Trump administration’s two trade deals don’t change that reality. Workers counting on Trump to deliver a “great American comeback” have been left waiting at the station.
  • Growing China trade deficit cost 3.7 million American jobs between 2001 and 2018: Jobs lost in every U.S. state and congressional district
    Despite the tariffs and other restrictions imposed on China trade by the Trump administration, the bilateral trade deficit continued to grow between 2016 and 2018 because of the failure to address the fundamental flaws with the U.S.–China trade relationship.
  • U.S.MexicoCanada Agreement—Weak tea, at best
    The revised U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) represents a significant improvement on the draft agreement first released in 2017. Negotiators for labor and House Democrats strengthened the provisions on labor rights, environmental standards, and the enforcement of these rules, and also removed costly and egregious new protections for corporations, including giveaways by the Trump administration to pharmaceutical companies. But the changes embodied in the USMCA still constitute Band-Aids on a fundamentally flawed agreement and process.


Health care


Child care

  • Cost of child care by state
    Center-based care for four-year-olds ranges from $4,493 a year in Arkansas to nearly $18,980 a year in D.C.—while ECE for infants ranges from $5,760 in Mississippi to $24,081 in D.C. All told, parents currently spend about $42 billion on early care and education, while federal, state, and local governments spend just $34 billion.
  • Who’s paying now? The explicit and implicit costs of the current early care and education system
    The current early child care and education (ECE) system is substantially “funded” through low teacher pay and inadequate supports for ECE teachers, who are primarily women, specifically women of color. Nationally, the median hourly wage for ECE teachers is just $12.12—and nearly one in five live below the official poverty line.


Wages and inequality