Fact check: Biden makes at least four false statistical claims at CNN town hall

President Joe Biden took questions from Wisconsin residents and from Anderson Cooper at a CNN town hall event in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

We’re still looking into some of the claims Biden made, so this article is not comprehensive. But we can tell you now that he made at least four false claims — all of them involving statistics — about the minimum wage, undocumented immigrants, China’s economy and Covid-19 vaccinations.

Biden also made claims that could have benefited from some additional context, that he acknowledged he might not have gotten right or that there is not solid evidence for.

Here is a breakdown:

The minimum wage

Biden said the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage is too low, then said soon after: “For example, if it went — if we gradually increased it — when we indexed it at $7.20, if we kept it indexed by — to inflation, people would be making 20 bucks an hour right now. That’s what it would be.”

Facts First: This is false; the White House told CNN after the event that Biden got mixed up with another statistic about the minimum wage. Today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which took effect in 2009, would not be even close to $20 per hour if Congress had decided to link it to inflation. Adjusted for inflation, $7.25 in January 2009 was equal to $8.98 in January 2021.

The White House told CNN that Biden was attempting to refer to a claim, from a progressive think tank about how the minimum wage would have been $24 per hour in 2020 if the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity growth (not inflation) since 1968 (not 2009).

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