The Wall Street Journal's Jesse Drucker wrote that Sen. Barack Obama has said he will "seek to raise" the capital gains tax to "at least 20%, the rate before the 2003 cut, and possibly higher." In fact, Obama has said he would not raise the capital gains tax on individuals with income of less than $250,000 -- a fact noted by WSJ reporter Tom Herman in an "Ask Dow Jones" Q-and-A.
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw asked Al Gore if, on the subject of renewable energy, "Hillary Clinton reset this debate when she said there should be a summer holiday on the federal gas tax." But Brokaw did not mention that Sen. John McCain also proposed a gas-tax holiday or that one of his top advisers still touts the plan as "the best stimulus package we can have right now."
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.
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.
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 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."
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.