Detroit Free Press, Toledo Blade uncritically report false assertion that Obama would raise taxes on 21 million small businesses

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

The Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade uncritically reported the false assertion by Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Sen. John McCain, that Sen. Barack Obama would increase taxes on 21 million 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's table of 2007 tax returns that reported small-business income, only 481,000 of those returns are from filers with taxable incomes of more than $250,000.

Articles in the Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade uncritically reported the false assertion by Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Sen. John McCain, that Sen. Barack Obama would increase taxes on 21 million small businesses. Bounds' claim echoed McCain's false suggestion during a June 10 speech at the National Small Business Summit that Obama plans to raise taxes on 21.6 million sole proprietorships that file taxes under the individual income tax. 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's table of 2007 tax returns that reported small-business income, only 481,000 of those returns are in the top two income tax brackets -- which include all filers with taxable incomes of more than $250,000 -- not 21.6 million. Media Matters for America has noted that despite the fact that McCain's claim is false, it has been uncritically reported by media outlets.

In a June 18 article, Free Press staff writers Kathleen Gray and Lori Higgins reported, "Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, said Mr. Obama's college tuition plan depends on raising taxes on 21 million small businesses, which provide the jobs that pay college tuition bills." Blade politics writer Tom Troy reported in a June 19 article: " 'Every college-savings account starts with a job, and Barack Obama has proposed tax hikes on over 21 million small businesses that drive job growth,' McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said. 'So while Sen. Obama shares John McCain's concern over the high price of college tuition, there is a critical job gap that must be addressed." Neither article noted the Tax Policy Center's data.

From the June 18 Detroit Free Press article:

Meanwhile, Mr. McCain's campaign responded to Mr. Obama's plan, aired Tuesday in Michigan, to give $4,000 annual tuition grants to college students and to Mr. Obama's charge that Mr. McCain is "out of touch" on the issue of college tuition.

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, said Mr. Obama's college tuition plan depends on raising taxes on 21 million small businesses, which provide the jobs that pay college tuition bills.

Mr. Bounds said Mr. McCain has "a proud record" of co-authoring bills to expand educational opportunities and promote national service.

From the June 19 Blade article:

Obama said he hopes to offer a $4,000 annual tax credit for low-income students or their parents in return for community service. He would pay for the tax credits by raising taxes for people who make more than $250,000.

"It just isn't right when you're working so hard and struggling so much just to pay your tuition," Obama told Pace, who is helping care for her disabled father. "I do not accept an America where you can't achieve your potential because you can't afford it."

The campus visit capped a two-day trip to Michigan for Obama, who talked about many of the same issues Monday at Kettering University in Flint.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, favors consolidating training programs and partnering with community colleges to help displaced workers get college educations and perhaps new careers. On Tuesday, his campaign said Obama's proposals would result in a big tax increase that would hurt, not help, job growth in the nation.

"Every college-savings account starts with a job, and Barack Obama has proposed tax hikes on over 21 million small businesses that drive job growth," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "So while Sen. Obama shares John McCain's concern over the high price of college tuition, there is a critical job gap that must be addressed."

Paying for education is a daily struggle for countless students across Michigan as tuition has increased while state subsidies to universities have fallen. .

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
Toledo Blade
Show/Publication
Detroit Free Press
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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