On Fox News, Dick Morris asserted that as president, Sen. Barack Obama "would double the capital gains tax. That means that you get far less when you sell your home, or your 401(k) or your stock plan," and added, "[H]e would increase the limit on Social Security taxes, which means instead of paying 12 1/2 percent of the first $100,000, you pay it on everything that you're making." Morris' claims are false or highly misleading.
The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Times uncritically repeated the McCain campaign's claim that Sen. Barack Obama "propos[es] to raise taxes on millions of small businesses." In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 481,000 -- not "millions of" -- small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Gov. Tim Pawlenty's false claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to increase the capital gains tax rate, "if you have an IRA or a 401(k), which a lot of middle Americans do, and you go to retire or, you know, use that money, you're going to pay almost double the rate in taxation." In fact, most distributions from retirement accounts are taxed as regular income, not as capital gains.
The Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade uncritically reported the false assertion by Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Sen. John McCain, that Sen. Barack Obama would increase taxes on 21 million small businesses. In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center's table of 2007 tax returns that reported small-business income, only 481,000 of those returns are from filers with taxable incomes of more than $250,000.
The Hill and Bloomberg News uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false suggestion in a June 10 speech that Sen. Barack Obama plans to raise taxes on 21.6 million small businesses that file taxes under the individual income tax. However, Obama has proposed rolling back the Bush tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, only 481,000 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On MSNBC Live, Joe Watkins falsely claimed, "No matter what you think about the current administration, at least unemployment is at an all-time low. It's at 5 percent, and some points, less than 5 percent, which has been the lowest it's been in decades." In fact, the current unemployment rate is 5.5 percent, more than double the lowest measured unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, which was recorded in both May and June of 1953.
On America's Newsroom, Greg Jarrett cited a Tax Policy Center report on Sens. Barack Obama's and John McCain's tax plans but failed to note that the study contradicted Republican strategist Andrea Tantaros' claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's tax proposal, "an average family making $61,000 -- just alone letting the tax cuts expire -- would go up $2,100."
On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."
On Fox & Friends, Ben Stein misrepresented Sen. Barack Obama's tax plan to raise the capital gains tax rate on the wealthiest earners, stating: "[P]eople that have incomes in the five digits ... that's crazy to increase their capital gains tax." In fact, Obama has said he would not raise the capital gains tax on individuals with income of less than $250,000.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Carly Fiorina's assertion that Sen. John McCain "will balance his budget by the end of 2013." In fact, both McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin and McCain himself have reportedly said that he would balance the budget in eight years.
When Sen. John McCain twice touted the idea of a gas tax "break" during an interview on NBC's Today, Matt Lauer failed to challenge him over whether economists believe a gas tax holiday is a good idea. But when Sen. Hillary Clinton mentioned her proposal "to get the gas tax paid this summer out of the record profits of the oil companies" on the same program a month earlier, Meredith Vieira challenged her, saying that economists are "saying it's not sound policy."
The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "has vowed ... to end the cap on Social Security taxes, which amounts to a tax hike on anyone who makes more than $100,000 in income," and he later asserted that "New York Rep. Joseph Crowley says a couple with earnings of $100,000 could be 'a police officer and nurse.' 'In New York City,' he adds, 'they'd be struggling.' " Moore's inclusion of a reference to "a couple ... [who] could be 'a police officer and nurse' " falsely suggests that Social Security taxes are assessed on households. In fact, Social Security payroll taxes are assessed on individual income.
The New York Post reported CNBC host Maria Bartiromo's assertion that Sen. Barack Obama would "take the capital gains tax at 15 percent right now all the way up to 25 to 28 percent." The Post further quoted Bartiromo: "Sell anything, like a home or stocks, and make a profit ... [almost] 30 percent of the profit will go to the government instead of 15' " [brackets in original]. But Bartiromo's suggestion that the entire profit on the sale of a house is always subject to tax is false; single homeowners can exempt up to $250,000 in gains realized from the sale of an owner-occupied home from capital gains taxes, and married homeowners can in most cases exempt up to $500,000. Politico's Mike Allen uncritically reprinted the Post report of Bartiromo's comments in its entirety.
Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy gratuitously used Obama's middle name and echoed a false suggestion by Sen. John McCain that Obama supports raising taxes for middle-income Americans by claiming, "Under a Barack Hussein Obama administration, you will wind up with higher taxes." In fact, Obama has pledged to establish a tax credit for families.
The New York Times' John Harwood wrote that Sen. John McCain "prevailed over a field of Republicans who almost unanimously shared his support for the Iraq war, embrace of President Bush's tax cuts, skepticism toward government-run health care and opposition to abortion rights," while Sen. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "both staked out opposite ground from Mr. McCain." But neither Obama nor Clinton has proposed "government-run health care"; the Times has previously pointed out that McCain has "inaccurately described Obama's and Clinton's health care proposals" by likening them to "government-run health care systems."