Trump and Biden
With both Trump and Biden trying to convince Latinos on how they advanced their rights, Politifact shows the administrations' efforts to be virtually identical AFP

Growing reports of this years' election shows the Latino vote to be up for grab, making them potentially a decisive voting bloc ahead of November. Because of this, both Democrats and Republicans alike have invested large sums of campaign money trying to convince the group that their respective candidates have a proven track record of advancing Latino rights.

But ultimately, were Latinos actually better under the Trump or Biden administration? A new report by Politifact tries to tackle this question.

Throughout the campaign season, both candidates have tried to convince voters that their ideas and policies have helped Latinos, while those of their opponent have done the exact opposite.

During the first presidential debate, Trump made several remarks directed at Latinos. Taking into account that the economy and the cost of living tends to rank as the most important issue among Latino, Trump blamed Biden for high inflation.

Throughout that encounter, the former president said Biden is "killing Black families and Hispanic families." he added that Biden's economic policies are "taking Black jobs and they're taking Hispanic jobs" and that Biden has "done a horrible job for Hispanics."

Biden, on the other hand, has suggested several times his policies' impact on Latinos. For instance, at a campaign event in March in Phoenix, he said, "we achieved the lowest unemployment rate for Latinos in a long, long time. We cut Hispanic child poverty to record lows. We lowered the health care costs. We made historic investments in Latino small businesses."

But despite each of their perspectives and claims on whom Latinos' fared better with, Politifact's report shows surprising results— there seems to be a tie.

According to the organization, Trump's catastrophic warnings about Latinos and the economy lack support. Biden edged out the former president in three key statistics: inflation-adjusted wages, homeownership and health insurance coverage. But on balance, they found that in most of the other areas, both presidents posted similar results.

But there's a caveat, George Washington University Tara Sinclair said, since given the pace of past economic recoveries, there was hardly any certainty that Americans broadly, and Latinos in particular, would recover economically as well as they did after the pandemic.

"Trump's presidency was at the end of a long, slow economic recovery, whereas Biden's presidency started in an incredibly weak economy," said Sinclair. "The fact that they come out similarly outside the pandemic on some of the measures is still a win for Biden's policies. Forecasters did not expect the economy to recover nearly as quickly as it did, and that fast recovery particularly benefited Hispanic households.

By the numbers, Latinos see similar experiences among both presidents.

For instance, except during the pandemic, the Latino unemployment rate has been similar under Trump and Biden, with the average difference between Latino and white unemployment rates being 1.19 percentage points under Trump and 1.24 percentage points under Biden.

When it comes to labor force participation rate, the averages of both presidents, excluding the peak pandemic period, have been virtually identical: 66.5% for Trump and 66.7% for Biden.

In relation to wages, after adjusting for inflation, weekly earnings for full-time Latino workers under Trump averaged $271.30 before the pandemic. Despite higher inflation, take-home pay for Latino workers starting in 2022's first quarter averaged $284.30, a level almost 5% higher under Biden.

Meanwhile, persistent gaps separating whites and Latinos have remained, with neither Trump nor Biden managing to close them significantly.

This is why, Belinda Roman, an associate professor of economics at St. Mary's University in San Antonio and a member of the American Society of Hispanic Economists, cautioned about the ability of either Trump or Biden to claim too much credit on any of these advances.

She said that although inflation, interest rates, and property taxes weigh heavily on Americans, including latinos, "neither Trump nor Biden can fix these. Interest rates are the purview of the Federal Reserve. Property taxes are a legislative matter. Inflation is an amalgamation of everything."

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