Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that "for the first three years of [Obama's] administration, many people would argue that he was all about raising taxes." In fact, Obama has lowered taxes repeatedly; he called for many tax cuts before becoming president as part of his economic plan; and more than half the cost of the jobs bill he proposed this year came from tax cuts.
Carlson Claims "Many People Would Argue" That Obama Has Been "All About Raising Taxes"
Carlson: "For The First Three Years Of [Obama's] Administration, Many People Would Argue That He Was All About Raising Taxes." On the December 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Carlson discussed the payroll tax cut extension with guest and conservative radio host Neal Boortz. During the interview, Boortz mocked the idea that Obama could "now [be] cast as the tax cutter." Carlson replied, "Because for the first three years of his administration, many people would argue that he was all about raising taxes." From the broadcast:
CARLSON: Moving forward, President Obama is going to be able to capitalize on this.
BOORTZ: Sure, they pass a two-month extension and they leave town. They're off Christmas shopping right now, the Republicans look hapless, and it'll probably go through January, who knows? And can you believe this? Barack Obama is now cast as the tax cutter? I mean, that's like me being a hair model. This -- this doesn't work!
CARLSON: Because for the first three years of his administration, many people would argue that he was all about raising taxes.
BOORTZ: Anybody that's been paying attention would argue that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/21/11]
But Obama Has Passed Billions Of Dollars In Tax Cuts
NYT: Final Stimulus Bill Included "$282 Billion In Tax Relief" Of "$789 Billion Stimulus." From a February 11, 2009, New York Times article:
House and Senate leaders on Wednesday struck a deal on a $789 billion economic stimulus bill after little more than 24 hours of rapid-fire negotiations with the Obama administration, clearing the way for final Congressional action later this week.
The final bill includes $507 billion in spending programs and $282 billion in tax relief, including a scaled-back version of Mr. Obama's middle-class tax cut proposal, which would give credits of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for families within certain income limits. It will also provide a one-time payment of $250 to recipients of Social Security and government disability support. [The New York Times, 2/12/09]
Recovery.Gov: Over $300 Billion Has Been Spent On Tax Cuts Since Act Was Passed. According to Recovery.gov, the website for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, over $300 billion has been spent on tax benefits under the bill. The majority of that money, $275.9 billion, was spent on individual tax credits, tax incentives for businesses, and a tax cut for working families called Making Work Pay:
[Recovery.gov, accessed 12/21/11]
CBS: HIRE Act Included "$17.5 Billion In Tax Cuts, Business Credits And Subsidies For State And Local Construction Bonds." From a March 18, 2010, CBS article about a jobs bill called the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act:
President Obama today signed into law a $17.5 billion jobs bill that he said will spur hiring and help small business owners.
In signing the bill, called the HIRE Act, the president said that while government can't be the only solution to address lagging employment in the wake of the recession, it can serve to "promote a strong, dynamic private sector" that can drive job creation.
The bill includes $17.5 billion in tax cuts, business credits and subsidies for state and local construction bonds, and moves $20 billion into the highway trust fund for spending on highway and transit programs. It exempts businesses that hire unemployed workers from paying the payroll security tax through December of 2010. [CBS, 3/18/10]
SMALL BUSINESS JOBS ACT
Small Business Jobs Act Included Eight New Small Business Tax Cuts. In September 2010, Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act, which included eight new small business tax cuts. From the White House website:
Zero Taxes on Capital Gains from Key Small Business Investments: Under the Recovery Act, 75 percent of capital gains on key small business investments this year were excluded from taxes. The Small Business Jobs Act temporarily puts in place for the rest of 2010 a provision called for by the President - elimination of all capital gains taxes on these investments if held for five years.
Extension and Expansion of Small Businesses' Ability to Immediately Expense Capital Investments: The bill increases for 2010 and 2011 the amount of investments that businesses would be eligible to immediately write off to $500,000, while raising the level of investments at which the write-off phases out to $2 million. Prior to the passage of the bill, the expensing limit would have been $250,000 this year, and only $25,000 next year.
Extension of 50% Bonus Depreciation: The bill extends - as the President proposed in his budget - a Recovery Act provision for 50 percent "bonus depreciation" through 2010, providing 2 million businesses, large and small, with the ability to make new investments today and know they can receive a tax cut for this year by accelerating the rate at which they deduct capital expenditures.
A New Deduction of Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed: The bill allows 2 million self-employed to know that on their taxes for this year, they can get a deduction for the cost of health insurance for themselves and their family members in calculating their self-employment taxes. This provision is estimated to provide over $1.9 billion in tax cuts for these entrepreneurs.
Tax Relief and Simplification for Cell Phone Deductions: The bill changes rules so that the use of cell phones can be deducted without burdensome extra documentation - making it easier for virtually every small business in America to receive deductions that they are entitled to, beginning on their taxes for this year.
An Increase in the Deduction for Entrepreneurs' Start-Up Expenses: The bill temporarily increases the amount of start-up expenditures entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for this year from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a phase-out threshold of $60,000 in expenditures), offering an immediate incentive for someone with a new business idea to invest in starting up a new small business today.
A Five-Year Carryback Of General Business Credits: The bill would allow certain small businesses to "carry back" their general business credits to offset five years of taxes - providing them with a break on their taxes for this year - while also allowing these credits to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing taxes for these small businesses.
Limitations on Penalties for Errors in Tax Reporting That Disproportionately Affect Small Business: The bill would change, beginning this year, the penalty for failing to report certain tax transactions from a fixed dollar amount - which was criticized for imposing a disproportionately large penalty on small businesses in certain circumstances - to a percentage of the tax benefits from the transaction. [Whitehouse.gov, 9/27/10, emphasis original]
PAYROLL TAX CUT FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES
Treasury Dept.: Obama's Payroll Tax Cuts Included Cuts Designed To Spur Economic Growth And Job Creation. From a November 30 study released by the United States Department of the Treasury:
The bipartisan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 included several specific tax cuts and initiatives designed to spur economic growth and job creation. One important component of the Act was a reduction in the employee Social Security tax rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of the first $106,800 of taxable wages received in 2011. On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed this Act into law. The payroll tax cut is providing substantial benefits to working families and the economy throughout 2011. Some of the highlights are:
$109 billion in overall tax relief: The payroll tax cut is providing an estimated $108.6 billion in tax relief throughout 2011 to working Americans.
Tax cut for 159 million workers: The payroll tax rate cut has resulted in an estimated 158.9 million working Americans receiving larger paychecks in 2011.
A tax cut of about $1,000 for a typical family: For a family with wages or salaries of $50,000 per year, about the median household income, the payroll tax cut equals $1,000.
No effect on Social Security solvency: The legislation provided that the Social Security Trust Fund be made whole by transfers from the General Fund. Thus, the reduction in Social Security taxes paid by employees had no effect on the Social Security Trust Fund and no effect on individuals' current or future Social Security benefits. [Treasury.gov, 11/30/11]
Obama Called For Tax Cuts Before Taking Office As Part Of His Economic Plan
As President-Elect, Obama Called For Tax Credits For Small Businesses And Companies That Expand U.S. Employment As Well As Tax Breaks For Working Families. As President-Elect, Obama called for a number of tax breaks that ultimately became law as part of the stimulus bill. From a page about the "Obama-Biden Plan" for the economy on Change.gov, the website for the President-Elect:
The Obama-Biden Plan
Our country faces its most serious economic crisis since the great depression. Working families, who saw their incomes decline by $2,000 in the economic "expansion" from 2000 to 2007, now face even deeper income losses. Retirement savings accounts have lost $2 trillion. Markets have fallen 40% in less than a year. Millions of homeowners who played by the rules can't meet their mortgage payments and face foreclosure as the value of their homes have plummeted. With credit markets nearly frozen, businesses large and small cannot access the credit they need to meet payroll and create jobs.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a plan to revitalize the economy.
A New American Jobs Tax Credit: Obama and Biden will provide a new temporary tax credit to companies that add jobs here in the United States. During 2009 and 2010, existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired. For example, if a company that currently has 10 U.S. employees increases its domestic full time employment to 20 employees, this company would get a $30,000 tax credit -- enough to offset the entire added payroll tax costs to the company for the first $50,000 of income for the new employees. The tax credit will benefit all companies creating net new jobs, even those struggling to make a profit.
Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009: Obama and Biden will give small businesses an additional incentive to make investments and start creating jobs again by providing temporary business tax incentives through 2009. The February 2008 stimulus bill increased maximum Section 179 expenses to $250,000 but this expires in December 2008. This provision will encourage all firms to pursue investment in the coming months, but will particularly benefit small firms which generally have smaller amounts of annual property purchases and so choose to expense the cost of their acquired property.
Zero capital gains rate for investment in small businesses: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that we need to encourage investment in small businesses to help create jobs and turn our economy around. That's why they will eliminate all capital gains taxes on investments made in small and start-up businesses. They also want to cut taxes for the small businesses that create jobs but are struggling with restricted access to credit on top of skyrocketing health care and energy costs.
A tax cut for 95 percent of workers and their families -- plus seniors: Barack Obama and Joe Biden propose a permanent tax cut of $500 for workers and $1,000 for families. A first round of these tax credits could be mailed out quickly by the IRS based on tax returns already filed for tax year 2007. In addition, Obama and Biden would extend these expedited tax credits to senior citizens who are retired as a down payment on his plan to eliminate taxes for all seniors making up to $50,000. [Change.gov, accessed 12/21/11, emphasis original]
More Than Half Of Obama's Jobs Act Was Tax Cuts For Employees And Employers
Washington Post: Obama's Jobs Bill Was "Composed Slightly More Of Tax Cuts Than New Spending." In a September 8 article about Obama's proposed American Jobs Act, The Washington Post noted that the plan, which Congress did not pass, was "composed slightly more of tax cuts than new spending." The article also included the following graphics:
[The Washington Post, 9/8/11]
Washington Post: "$175 Billion" Of The Plan "Is An Extension Of And 50 Percent Increase In A Payroll Tax Cut." The Post article noted, "The centerpiece of Obama's plan, at a cost of $175 billion, is an extension of and 50 percent increase in a payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the year." [The Washington Post, 9/8/11]
Washington Post: "Obama's Jobs Act Also Includes A $70 Billion Proposal To Offer Tax Cuts To Small Businesses That Hire New Workers." The Post article also noted, "Obama's jobs act also includes a $70 billion proposal to offer tax cuts to small businesses that hire new workers, and $62 billion in unemployment insurance." [The Washington Post, 9/8/11]