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Obama Moves to Bust 'Myths' About His Economic Policies

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy during a visit to Concord Community High School in Elkhart, Indiana, June 1, 2016.

U.S. President Barack Obama returned to Elkhart, Indiana, Wednesday to dispel what he says are Republican myths that his policies are bad for the economy.

The Midwestern city was the first city Obama visited as president in 2009, when Elkhart's unemployment rate was nearly 20 percent.

It is now down to 4 percent, and Obama credits what he says are smart decisions by his administration and Congress to create jobs across the country.

Obama told the crowd to beware of politicians who he says "prey" on their anxieties about the country's economic future to try to win votes.

He said they continue to reinforce myths that play on people's fears, adding that it is a myth that government regulations on business and industry destroy jobs, that global trade deals kill domestic manufacturing, and that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans.

The president said immigrants start 30 percent of all new businesses in the U.S., and that they pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits.

Obama said true immigration reform is what is needed, and the mass deportations that some politicians want is not only impossible but would damage the middle class.

Candidates, refugees

Later Wednesday, at an Elkhart town hall meeting broadcast on PBS television's NewsHour, the president said it is hard to see how other Republican-supported proposals, such as easing regulations on Wall Street and cutting taxes for the wealthy, would benefit the middle class.

While not saying the name Donald Trump, Obama wondered how the presumptive Republican presidential nominee would bring back lost jobs and renegotiate trade deals as he promises he would.

"What magic wand do you have?" Obama asked rhetorically.

The president said big factory manufacturing jobs that have moved overseas or been lost to automation are not coming back. He said people must be trained for the jobs of the future, including high technology careers.

Also on PBS, Obama refused to endorse Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as the Democratic choice for president, saying they both broadly share his goals. He also said he is trying to get more Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S.

He noted that other countries, specifically Canada and Germany, have done so much more.