Fox News' Carlson falsely asserted "roughly 40 percent" of Obama's tax plan "is a handout to people who do not pay taxes"

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

Fox News' Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed that "roughly 40 percent" of Sen. Barack Obama's plan to cut taxes "is a handout to people who do not pay taxes." In fact, all American workers are required to pay taxes on their wages for Social Security and Medicare, and according to an Obama economic adviser, "every person that receives a tax cut under Barack Obama's plan is working."

On the October 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, during a discussion about Sen. Barack Obama's tax plan, guest host and Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. stated: "[W]hen we hear this frank talk about redistribution of wealth, it sounds like your tax dollars for people who don't work, and that becomes a little bit of concern to a lot of taxpayers." Co-host Gretchen Carlson responded: "Because that's part of the 95 percent tax cut that Barack Obama has brilliantly sold, by the way, to the American public -- I mean, who doesn't want a tax cut, let's be honest. The only problem is that when critics start looking into that tax cut, they see that roughly 40 percent of that is a handout to people who do not pay taxes."

But Carlson's claim that "roughly 40 percent" of Obama's tax plan "is a handout to people who do not pay taxes" is false. Obama proposes to "[c]ut taxes for 95 percent of workers [emphasis added] and their families with a tax cut of $500 for workers or $1,000 for working couples." As Media Matters for America has noted, American workers pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. American workers who are not self-employed are required to pay 6.2 percent of all of their wages up to a cap of $102,000, and 1.45 percent of their wages for Medicare under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Those who are self-employed are required to pay 12.4 percent of their wages up to the cap for Social Security and 2.9 percent of their wages for Medicare.

Additionally, Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee stated during an October 20 Council on Foreign Relations economic roundtable discussion that "every person that receives a tax cut under Barack Obama's plan is working." Goolsbee further stated:

One-third of federal tax revenue is the payroll tax. All of the people that are receiving this credit are paying payroll tax under Obama's program. So it's completely not true that they aren't paying taxes. They aren't paying income taxes, but they are paying payroll taxes. They aren't paying the estate tax, either, but that doesn't mean that they don't pay taxes.

From the October 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

OBAMA [video clip]: The choice in this election isn't between tax cuts and no tax cuts. It's about whether you believe we should only reward wealth, or whether we should also reward the workers and workers who create wealth.

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): That was part of his summation yesterday. It sounded a lot like the same speech that he used to kick off the campaign, and when asked about that, they said, well, you know, it kicked off pretty well, we thought we'd use parts of the same thing.

CARLSON: Well, you know something about that, because it was like a closing argument in a law case.

JOHNSON: Well, you know, you're absolutely right. And the verdict is still out. The jury has not decided, and we've got a week to go on that. But when I watched that, my initial reaction is, you know those signs you see along the highway, that says "your tax dollars at work?"

DOOCY: Hmm-mm.

JOHNSON: But when we hear this frank talk about redistribution of wealth, it sounds like your tax dollars for people who don't work, and that becomes a little bit of concern to a lot of taxpayers.

CARLSON: Because that's part of the 95 percent tax cut that Barack Obama has brilliantly sold, by the way, to the American public -- I mean, who doesn't want a tax cut, let's be honest. The only problem is that when critics start looking into that tax cut, they see that roughly 40 percent of that is a handout to people who do not pay taxes. And again, that sort of falls along the lines of redistributing the wealth, which apparently has been part of his philosophy for some time.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Gretchen Carlson, Peter Johnson Jr.
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.