NY Times latest outlet to repeat McCain campaign misinformation about impact of Obama's tax plan on small businesses

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

The New York Times quoted McCain spokesman Jeff Sadosky saying: "Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes on small businesses and his attacks on Midwestern family farmers have turned off rural voters." But the Times did not point out that less than 2 percent of taxpayers declaring small business income would see a tax increase in 2009 under Obama's plan, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center.

In a November 1 New York Times article, reporter Jeff Zeleny quoted McCain spokesman Jeff Sadosky saying: "[Sen.] Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes on small businesses and his attacks on Midwestern family farmers have turned off rural voters at the same time that John McCain's independent record has earned the votes of Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats." But while Zeleny wrote that Obama "dismissed that argument" and "derided what he called a negative campaign being waged by Mr. [John] McCain," Zeleny did not point out that less than 2 percent of taxpayers declaring small business income would see a tax increase in 2009 under Obama's plan, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center (TPC).

As Media Matters for America has noted, Obama has proposed raising taxes only on individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year. According to estimates by the TPC, 1.9 percent of tax filers declaring small business income in 2009 will be in the top-two income-tax brackets -- which currently include all individuals earning more than $160,850 and all families earning more than $195,850. Obama has also proposed tax cuts for small businesses, including the "Obama Small Business Health Tax Credit," a "refundable credit of up to 50 percent on premiums paid by small businesses on behalf of their employees."

Media Matters has recently noted other media outlets, including McClatchy Newspapers, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and the Chicago Tribune, that have similarly reported the McCain campaign's assertion that Obama intends to raise taxes on small businesses without reporting that the vast majority of small business owners would not see a tax increase under Obama's proposal, according to TPC estimates.

From Zeleny's November 1 article:

Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, said the campaign had recruited a significantly larger set of volunteers than Republicans had in 2004. In anticipation of Mr. Obama's efforts in a state bordering Illinois, his home state, Mr. Sadosky said the get-out-the-vote operation was also more extensive than four years ago.

"Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes on small businesses and his attacks on Midwestern family farmers have turned off rural voters at the same time that John McCain's independent record has earned the votes of Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats," Mr. Sadosky said.

Mr. Obama dismissed that argument as he made a quick visit to a neighboring state, Iowa, on Friday afternoon, returning to the place that jumpstarted his candidacy nearly 10 months ago in the Iowa caucuses. To a crowd of thousands, he derided what he called a negative campaign being waged by Mr. McCain, overlooking his own aggressive tactics on the air and on the ground.

"A couple of elections ago, there was a presidential candidate who decried this kind of politics and condemned these kinds of tactics. And I admired him for it -- we all did," Mr. Obama said. "He said, 'I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land.' Those words were spoken eight years ago by my opponent, John McCain, but the high road didn't lead him to the White House then, so this time, he decided to take a different route."

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Person
Jeff Zeleny
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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