NY Post, Politico uncritically reported misinformation by CNBC's Bartiromo about Obama's tax proposals

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN & JEREMY HOLDEN

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.

In a June 10 article on Page Six, The New York Post reported: "We're in for taxing times if [Sen.] Barack Obama wins the White House, says CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. 'He's going to take the capital gains tax at 15 percent right now all the way up to 25 to 28 percent,' the 'Money Honey' tells Avenue. '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 capital gains tax -- which the Post reported without challenge -- is false. Single homeowners can in most cases 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 in gains.

The Post article also quoted Bartiromo asserting of Obama's income tax plan: "Right now [it] is 35 percent, Obama wants to take that to 39 percent ... We're talking about people who make over $200,000. That's not rich. So it's actually going to impact more people than you may think" [brackets in original]. The blog Think Progress noted Bartiromo's comments in a June 10 post. But contrary to her assertion that an annual salary of $200,000 is "not rich," according to U.S. Census Bureau data for 2006 -- the most recent year available -- only 3.4 percent of U.S. households have an income of $200,000 or more. The median household income for 2006 was $48,451, and the mean household income was $65,527.

In his June 10 "Political Playbook" blog post, Politico's Mike Allen uncritically reprinted the Post report of Bartiromo's comments in its entirety.

From IRS Publication 523:

You can exclude up to $250,000 of the gain on the sale of your main home if all of the following are true.

  • You meet the ownership test.
  • You meet the use test.
  • During the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale, you did not exclude gain from the sale of another home.

If you and another person owned the home jointly but file separate returns, each of you can exclude up to $250,000 of gain from the sale of your interest in the home if each of you meets the three conditions just listed.

You may be able to exclude up to $500,000 of the gain on the sale of your main home if you are married and file a joint return and meet the requirements listed in the discussion of the special rules for joint returns, later, under Married Persons.

From Page Six on June 10:

June 10, 2008 -- WE'RE in for taxing times if Barack Obama wins the White House, says CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. "He's going to take the capital gains tax at 15 percent right now all the way up to 25 to 28 percent," the "Money Honey" tells Avenue. "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." The income tax is also in for a bump. Bartiromo says, "Right now [it] is 35 percent, Obama wants to take that to 39 percent ... We're talking about people who make over $200,000. That's not rich. So it's actually going to impact more people than you may think."

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
New York Post, CNBC, The Politico
Person
Maria Bartiromo
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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