FALSE: Clinton Claims U.S. Economy Lags Behind Our Allies

Well this is awkward. Not only did photos emerge of former President Bill Clinton receiving a massage from an Epstein victim shortly before his Democratic National Convention speech, but he also butchered the speech with lies... and the fact checkers are on it.

Clinton said on Tuesday,  “Our unemployment rate is more than twice as high as South Korea’s, two-and-a-half times the United Kingdom’s, more than three times Japan’s. Donald Trump says we’re leading the world — well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate tripled."

ERRRRRRR. That is incorrect.

It is extremely misleading to claim that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is Trump's fault, and even more misleading to imply that it makes our economy weaker than the U.K.’s, Japan’s, or South Korea’s.

The U.S. unemployment rate did jump higher than that of our European and Asian allies. But that is because the U.S. has favored a more flexible and generally more effective economic policy response than Europe, South Korea has an export-focused economy, and Japan’s shrinking population and societal conventions all but prohibit layoffs.

The U.K., like many other European nations, has relied on a job protection scheme that has kept workers formally attached to their jobs even though many are not actually working or businesses cannot afford to keep them on.

The U.S., for its part, engaged in a massive fiscal expansion that has swiftly ended the economic contraction caused by the coronavirus. That included allowing workers to be laid off but paying most of those workers more in unemployment benefits than they earned on the job. That has limited the damage to the U.S. economy, kept household consumer spending afloat, and allowed many Americans who lost their jobs to keep paying their bills.

The eurozone’s gross domestic product plunged 40.3 percent on an annual basis, far exceeding the 32.9 percent contraction in the U.S. economy over the same period, according to data released last month. Japan is deeply mired in a recession, with its economy shrinking for three consecutive quarters, most recently by 27.8 percent. Smaller South Korea has done better but largely because the structure of its economy means it is much less dependent on the spending of its own consumers and therefore less vulnerable to social distancing drags.

In other words, the difference in unemployment is not descriptive of the effectiveness of the economic policies of the different nations.

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