In a column criticizing Sen. Barack Obama's tax proposals, Thomas Sowell wrote that it is a "well-documented fact" that "lower tax rates on capital gains had produced more actual revenue collected from that tax than the higher tax rates had." In fact, numerous economists have challenged the assertion that cuts in the capital gains tax raise revenue in the long term. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the 2006 extension of the 2003 cuts on capital gains taxes would result in decreased revenues of $20 billion over 10 years.
On MSNBC, Joe Watkins asserted: "The reality is that John McCain actually supported tax cuts. The reason why he didn't support the tax cuts earlier is because he said you've got to slow down government spending. You can't spend and cut at the same time." In fact, McCain said in a May 2001 statement on the Senate floor that he was voting against the Bush tax cuts because "so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief." Watkins also claimed McCain "crafted that [comprehensive immigration reform] bill with Democrats, with Teddy Kennedy among other people. ... [H]ere's a guy willing to take big-time risks," but didn't note that McCain has said he would not support the bill if it came to a vote on the Senate floor.
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw did not challenge Carly Fiorina's assertion that "[t]he principal reason that [Sen. John McCain] voted against the Bush tax cuts is that they were not accompanied by fiscal restraint." In fact, the reason McCain gave for voting against the tax cuts in a May 26, 2001, statement on the Senate floor was that "so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
On his radio program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's proposal "for rescinding the Bush tax cuts" would result in "families of four that make $50,000 a year ... paying another $2,000 in taxes a year." In fact, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for middle-class families and rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on people who are making $250,000 a year or more.
During a CBS Evening News interview, Katie Couric did not challenge Sen. John McCain's suggestion that "five Nobel laureates and 300 economists" agree that his economic plan will allow him to balance the budget, despite an article, excerpted hours before on CBSNews.com, reporting that the statement the economists signed in support of McCain's economic plan said nothing about balancing the budget. The article further quoted one signatory saying, "He's not going to balance the budget. No one's going to balance the budget."
On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell twice failed to challenge claims by McCain economic adviser Carly Fiorina that a summer gas-tax holiday is "the best stimulus package we can have right now." Mitchell did not challenge Fiorina's assertions by noting the assessment by many economists that the relief to consumers would be minimal and that the plan would likely generate increased revenue for oil companies.
In an article on Sen. John McCain's proposed plan to balance the budget by 2013, The Washington Post's Michael Shear reported that "Democrats immediately criticized McCain, asserting that his promise is unrealistic, given his stated goals of tax cuts and other government spending." In fact, several economists and nonpartisan analysts have also criticized McCain's plan, reportedly saying that McCain's proposal for numerous tax cuts would bloat the deficit or require huge spending cuts.
In a Washington Post article, Perry Bacon Jr. listed "allowing younger workers to put money they currently pay for Social Security taxes into personal savings accounts" as one of "an array of ideas" that aides to Sen. John McCain "indicated" he "could support" in "finding a solution to the long-term solvency of" Social Security. But Bacon did not note that the Bush administration has admitted that private accounts themselves would do nothing to address Social Security's projected long-term revenue shortfall.
Washingtonpost.com's The Trail blog, CNN, and CBSNews.com each repeated Sen. John McCain's false claim that "[i]f you are one of the 23 million small business owners in America who files as an individual rate payer, Senator [Barack] Obama is going to raise your tax rates." 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"; according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, only 481,000 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
The New York Times' Adam Nagourney reported that Sen. John McCain will attack Sen. Barack Obama for supporting "tax increases," but Nagourney didn't note that Obama has proposed tax cuts for "working-class voters" and others. Nagourney joins other media outlets that have uncritically reported or failed to challenge assertions by the McCain campaign that Obama plans to raise taxes on all or most Americans.
Politico writers Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin reported a claim by Tucker Bounds, McCain campaign spokesman, that "Barack Obama wants more taxes from 21 million small businesses," without noting that it is false. 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 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On Hardball, Mike Barnicle said of Sen. Barack Obama's reaction to Sen. John McCain's proposal for a summer gas-tax holiday: "[P]oliticians have got to be very, very careful when they tell people living right at the margin, right at the edge, that $30 a week isn't a whole lot of money." But what Obama has said of McCain's proposal is that "[i]t would save you a total of about $28 for the entire year" -- not "$30 a week" -- and several analyses support Obama's claim.
On Fox & Friends, Mike Huckabee falsely asserted, "When Katrina, a Cat-5 hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast, not one drop of oil was spilled off of those rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico." In fact, according to a report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm, damages related to Hurricane Katrina resulted in 70 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of approximately 5,552* barrels of oil and petroleum products.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer asked Sen. Lindsey Graham how Sen. John McCain would "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts" and said, "But there's no waste -- with all due respect, Senator ... you're going to find $300 billion in waste, are you?" But when Graham replied, "No, no, $35 billion from earmarks, but there are other programs up here that can be reined in, including the Department of Defense," Blitzer did not press Graham to identify which specific "programs" McCain would "rein in" to "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts."