During the ABC News-Facebook debate, moderator Charlie Gibson suggested that the Democratic presidential candidates' proposals to roll back or let some of President Bush's tax cuts expire would affect middle-class families, adding, "If you take a family of two professors here at St. Anselm, they're going to be in the $200,000 category that you're talking about lifting the taxes on." According to the U.S. Census, however, the median income for a U.S. household is $48,451, and the mean household income is $65,527; and only 3.4 percent of U.S. households have an income of $200,000 or more.
In articles on President Bush's December 20 press conference, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today uncritically reported Bush's criticism of Congress for passing all but two of the fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills as a single omnibus appropriations bill "at the last minute, nearly three months after the end of the fiscal year." But none of the articles noted that during his seven years in the White House, Bush has never signed all of Congress' appropriations bills into law before the beginning of the fiscal year, and has on two occasions signed omnibus spending bills on dates later than that on which the fiscal year 2008 bill passed.
The Des Moines Register's endorsement of Sen. John McCain praised him for "taking stands based on principle, not party dogma," citing his positions on immigration reform and President Bush's tax cuts, among others. However, as noted in several reports, McCain has shifted his position on immigration reform and actually reversed his position on the tax cuts.
On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly stated that Warren Buffett "was not being truthful" when he said that, in Kirsten Powers' words, "he doesn't think his secretary should be paying a higher tax rate than he is." O'Reilly asserted, "His secretary isn't paying a higher tax. ... Mr. Buffett gets no salary. He gets return on his interest. And he gets capital gains tax at 15 percent. That's what it's taxed as," adding that Buffett was "being deceptive because he doesn't make a salary." But Buffett has acknowledged that most of his income is not salary, saying, "Most of my income is taxed at 15 percent, and doesn't pay a payroll. Mainly it's dividends and capital gains."
In an analysis of Rudy Giuliani's new campaign ad, Howard Kurtz asserted that Giuliani's claim that "reducing taxes produces more revenues" is "a matter of fierce dispute among economists." As evidence of this dispute, Kurtz provided the opinion of only one economist, Larry Kudlow, who agreed with Giuliani's assertion. But a day before Kurtz's analysis appeared in print, a Washington Post editorial had quoted Edward Lazear, chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, stating, "I certainly would not claim that tax cuts pay for themselves." Several other current or former Bush administration officials have also disagreed with the assertion that tax cuts produce more revenue.
A New York Times article asserted that President Bush "is shifting his agenda to what aides call 'kitchen table issues' -- small ideas that affect ordinary people's lives and do not take an act of Congress to put in place," citing as examples the mortgage crisis and toy safety concerns. But the Times did not note that the Bush administration has in fact opposed attempted "acts of Congress" in the form of legislation by Democrats targeting those issues.
On CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, David E. Williams, vice president of policy for Citizens Against Government Waste, asserted that "the tax cuts are ... really what's saving this country right now. ... Believe it or not, tax cuts bring in revenue." However, several Bush administration officials have stated that tax cuts, including those enacted during the Bush administration, produce a net decrease in revenue, including Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, who said during his confirmation hearing, "As a general rule, I don't believe that tax cuts pay for themselves."
A Politico article suggested that the Republican-led 109th Congress was responsible for a decrease in the number of earmarks approved in 2006 (for the 2007 fiscal year) relative to previous years. But the article did not mention that following the Democratic victories in the 2006 midterm elections, the GOP leadership declined to pass nine of 11 annual appropriations bills and that in order to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2007, Democrats placed a one-time moratorium on earmarks.
On PBS' Washington Week, John Dickerson asserted that there will "perhaps [be] a tax increase to fix the alternative minimum tax," which he claimed "gets the Republicans very exercised and excited" because they "can go around talking about how Democrats are going to raise taxes." In fact, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) has authored a proposal that would, according to the accompanying press release, "provide tax relief to more than 90 million working families through a permanent repeal of the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and enhancement of other tax benefits." The press release also stated that Rangel's plan is "entirely revenue-neutral."
On Morning Joe, Larry Kudlow asserted that "on the campaign trail, Democrats trashing this economy, talking about raising taxes across the board are totally, utterly missing the boat here." In fact, the leading Democratic candidates for president have all proposed economic plans that include some tax cuts.
In his OpinionJournal.com column, former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont wrote that "[t]ax rate reductions increase tax revenues. This truth has been proved at both state and federal levels, including by President Bush's 2003 tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends." However, several former and current Bush administration economists have stated that tax cuts, including those passed under Bush, produce a net decrease in revenue.
The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher asserted that President Bush "is generally against tax increases as he believes they stifle economic growth. So his idea is to pay for the war by cutting back elsewhere in the budget." In fact, inflation-adjusted non-defense discretionary outlays have risen each year since Bush took office; Bush has actually paid for the war by deficit spending.