Fact-checking Bernie Sanders in Phoenix

Posted at 9:46 PM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 01:30:24-04

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to a loud crowd of supporters at the Phoenix Convention Center Tuesday evening.

He made many claims, from calling it a rigged economy to the influence of Wall Street. Here are three statements Sanders made that sounded familiar to us, so we pulled up the research from the PolitiFact truth-checks: 

Youth unemployment rate

"All over this country we see very high rates of youth unemployment, the white kids 33 percent, Latino kids 36 percent, African-American kids 51 percent," Sanders said.

PolitiFact researched two nearly identical claims, one in July 2015, and the other earlier this month at the Democratic debate in Miami. Sanders specifies "kids" as between ages 17 and 20 during the Miami debate. 

His camp cited a June 2015 report from the Economic Policy Institute, a think-tank, which matches the numbers he referenced in Phoenix. But, PolitiFact noted that some of these unemployment rates are volatile and have a "larger margin of error" than the population as a whole. 

But, Sanders is right - African-Americans and Latinos do have worse job prospects than whites. 

PolitiFact rated this claim Mostly True


Worst in family and medical leave?

Sanders said the United States is the "only major country not to provide paid family and medical leave."

PolitiFact fact-checked Sanders when he made a similar claim in October 2015, when he said  "every other major country" has family paid leave. 

In two major economic studies, the United States is indeed the outlier. Along with the U.S., only Papua New Guinea does not provide maternity leave to women. 

But, family leave isn't a universal benefit in some countries as certain workers are excluded. 

PolitiFact rated this claim Mostly True


Prescription drugs

Sanders said, "they (the pharmaceutical industry) are charging us by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs."

PolitiFact researched this same claim when he said it during a Democratic debate on PBS last month. 

Brand-name drugs yield the highest profit margins for the American pharmaceutical industry, but some generic drugs cost less in Canada than they do here. Plus, Medicare is prohibited from bargaining for lower prices, which makes up a huge chunk of the healthcare industry. 

PolitiFact rated this claim Mostly True


We should note that Sanders appeared to have tweaked many of his statements that PolitiFact fact-checked earlier on his presidential campaign trail. Overall, PolitiFact has fact-checked Sanders at least 75 times


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