Fact Check: The truth behind the promises

Fact Check: The truth behind the promises

Kylie Yamada, Feature Editor

A 30-foot wall. A debt-free college experience. The two presidential candidates have made countless promises over the course of their campaigns, but what are the facts behind both of these promises?
“[The press] should definitely double check [the facts], because you shouldn’t make promises in speeches and not follow through,” sophomore Jafari Binder said.
The height of the wall would be anywhere from 35 to 55 feet tall. His website makes it clear that not only would Mexico pay for the wall, it would also be a one-time payment.
Regardless of the numbers used, engineers can agree that his estimate is far too low. The cost of building a wall includes not just the materials, but also transportation for said materials and maintenance once the wall is complete. The Mexican-U.S. border is over a thousand feet long, and it would require many different forms of transportation to move the materials, particularly the area near the Rio Grande.
Would Mexico still pay for maintenance of the wall? Once all of these various extra costs are included, the price of the border wall increases to $25 billion, not including maintenance costs. Maintenance costs are difficult to calculate, but they raise another question: who is going to pay for upkeep of the wall?
The current Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, has publicly expressed his refusal to pay for the wall, though he stated in August 2016 to reporters that he “will be absolutely respectful and will seek to work with whomever becomes the next president.” Even taking his stance into consideration, spending billions of dollars on a wall that would not benefit Mexico in any way is sure to be unpopular with Mexican citizens.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton has been fairly quiet on her plan for free college. It first became an official part of her platform during the Democratic National Convention in summertime. Initially in the campaign system, Bernie Sanders had been a champion for tuition-free higher education.
Clinton’s proposal is that every family earning under $125,000 will be entitled to free public school tuition by the year 2021. According to the 2010 Census, only about 20 percent of American households earn over $100,000 a year, meaning that Clinton’s plan would result in millions of Americans eligible for a free education.
Exactly where the money for free college will come from is unclear; Sanders’s plan stated that it would come from taxing Wall Street. Higher taxes on billionaires may seem logical, but the tax code is filled with flaws and the money gained from the higher taxes may ultimately end up too low to offset the cost.
Another issue with free college is whether it will truly lower costs for lower-income families. Clinton’s plan applies to tuition, not necessarily room and board. Some universities may elect to gain more money from increasing other student expenses, including boarding or food.
It’s also possible that universities may decide to accept fewer students to compensate for less funding, which may cause students to turn to private universities to be accepted and educated, and still face high tuition costs.
Both Trump’s and Clinton’s campaign promises are flawed, with questionable math and several possible problems. The takeaway from this fact-checking? Be careful what promises you believe from politicians, and always look closer into the numbers.