Wash. Times distorted Richardson's, Obama's remarks on tax policy

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

The Washington Times falsely suggested that Gov. Bill Richardson said Sen. Barack Obama would raise taxes on Americans making more than $120,000, stating that Sen. John McCain "continued to hammer the Democrat over his plan to tax Americans making more than $250,000 -- a number that has crept down, first to $200,000, then to $150,000 and finally to $120,000." In fact, the number hasn't "crept down," and during the interview to which the Times was referring, Richardson said that under Obama's plan for "those in the middle class, anybody under $250,000, there is no tax increase."

In a November 2 article, Washington Times reporters Joseph Curl and Christina Bellantoni falsely suggested that Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) said Sen. Barack Obama would raise taxes on Americans making more than $120,000. Curl and Bellantoni stated that Sen. John McCain "continued to hammer the Democrat over his plan to tax Americans making more than $250,000 -- a number that has crept down, first to $200,000, then to $150,000 and finally to $120,000, although the Obama campaign said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a campaign surrogate, simply misspoke Friday on the latter figure." But the Times' assertion that the "number" -- the threshold below which people would have no tax increase under Obama's plan -- has "crept down" is false. In the October 31 interview on Denver's KOA radio to which Curl and Bellantoni were referring, Richardson did not say that Obama would raise taxes on Americans making $120,000 or more. He said that under Obama's plan for "those in the middle class, anybody under $250,000, there is no tax increase."

Indeed, Obama has proposed raising taxes only on individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year.

Additionally, Curl and Bellantoni falsely claimed that in a 2003 television interview, Obama advocated for "tax relief only for people making less than $80,000 a year" (emphasis added). As Obama's comment -- which they provided in the next paragraph of the article -- shows, Obama did not assert that tax cuts should "only" go to those with incomes less than $80,000, but said that he supported cutting taxes that are "really burdensome on families that are making 50, 60, 70 thousand dollars a year." From Obama's 2003 television interview:

OBAMA: You know, the problem was is that [the Bush tax cuts] weren't targeted at the short-term stimulus of the economy. What we should have done is, if we were gonna initiate tax cuts -- and I am a strong supporter of tax cuts for working families like the Earned Income Tax Credit -- to, to initiate things like cuts in the Social Security tax, and other taxes that are really burdensome on families that are making $50-, $60-, $70,000 dollars a year. Those tax cuts I think would have stimulated the economy. But the money that we've given up directly affects Illinois in its potential in terms of job growth, because it means that transportation dollars are not in the state of Illinois, heath care dollars are not in the state of Illinois. There's enormous needs around the state that we could be using that money for.

From the October 31 KOA interview:

STEFFAN TUBBS (host): You know, you continue to talk on behalf of Barack Obama. He continues to be criticized for the "spread the wealth" type comments and people in our listening audience certainly equate Barack Obama to a socialist basically. Your reaction to that?

RICHARDSON: Well, that's unfounded because what Senator Obama has proposed is actually more tax cuts than Senator McCain's. Specifically, under Obama's plan, 95 percent of the American people get a tax cut -- those in the middle class, anybody under $250,000, there is no tax increase. So what you have for individuals is basically a wider spread of tax incentives and tax cuts. For small business Obama's proposing, for start-up companies, no capital gains tax. In addition to that, he is saying if you're a company and you hire somebody, you'll get a tax break. If you pay over the prevailing wage, you get a tax incentive.

Those are pro-growth economic policies. What Senator McCain wants to do, he makes -- he wants to make the tax cuts permanent for the upper 2 percent, and Senator Obama doesn't want to do this. So this claim that Obama wants to raise taxes is just totally fallacious. He's taken away the tax cut argument from the Republicans.

APRIL ZESBAUGH (co-host): What about the small businesses that make over $250,000? Doesn't it make sense to try to give businesses, whether it be small or big, tax breaks so that that kind of trickles down to the rest of us and we pay less for products and services?

RICHARDSON: Well, but Obama does give tax cuts on capital gains. He dramatically reduces capital gains for those small businesses over 250,000. What he is -- I think if you look at the upper bracket -- the upper 2 percent that President Bush wants to make permanent -- Obama does say, you know, let's not make those tax cuts permanent. Let's look at a whole range of tax fairness across the board. While Senator McCain doesn't have those same tax cuts for America's middle class that Obama has. So I just think that it's Obama who wants to incentivize renewable energy companies and aviation companies and the new emerging sector that is so prevalent in states like Colorado by giving them tax incentives to hire more people, purchase more plant equipment, and find ways to expand their operations.

TUBBS: Governor Bill Richardson on the 850 KOA Newsline and on the campaign trail. He's joining us live from Virginia this morning. One argument you hear, Governor, is "Hey, wait a minute. Forty percent of the population pay little or no taxes, so how do you -- you know, do the math -- Obama, do the math for me," I can hear some people say. How do you propose a 95-percent tax break or, you know, nobody's going to pay new taxes, but 40 percent of the population already isn't contributing anything?

RICHARDSON: Well, what Obama wants to do is he is basically looking at $120,000 and under, among those that are in the middle class, and there is a tax cut for those. So I think you do the math. And I don't think even Senator McCain -- I'll give him credit -- he's not proposing to have tax increases for those that don't pay taxes. I think we're talking about those that do pay taxes and the middle class. I think Senator Obama has looked at two income couples. He's trying to broaden the base so that more get those tax incentives that are needed as a way to incentivize the economy because we have a real deficit.

And Republicans have caused this last deficit. My God, I mean, we're -- with this last bailout, $750 billion added to the 450 billion that we had under President Bush. I mean, look, this argument that the Republicans are the tax-cutters and the budget-balancers is totally out the window in this last eight years.

From a November 2 Washington Times article by Joseph Curl and Christina Bellantoni, "Nominees sprint toward the finish line":

The poll came as Mr. McCain continued to hammer the Democrat over his plan to tax Americans making more than $250,000 - a number that has crept down, first to $200,000, then to $150,000 and finally to $120,000, although the Obama campaign said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a campaign surrogate, simply misspoke Friday on the latter figure.

"Interesting how the definition of rich has a way of moving down," Mr. McCain said at a rally in Springfield, drawing boos and jeers from the crowd. "Classic liberal left - tax and spend, redistribute the wealth." He contended that Mr. Obama was "running for redistributor in chief; I'm running for commander in chief."

Also Saturday, Fox News unearthed a 2003 interview in which Mr. Obama supports tax relief only for people making less than $80,000 a year.

"You know the problem was that they weren't targeted at the short-term stimulus of the economy," the Democrat says in the interview. "What we should have done is, if we were going to initiate tax cuts, and I'm a strong supporter of tax cuts for working families like the Earned Income Tax Credit, to initiate things like cuts in the Social Security tax, and other taxes that are really burdensome on families that are making 50, 60, 70 thousand dollars a year."

The McCain campaign teed off on the tape, calling it more proof the Democrat plans to raise taxes for many more Americans than he claims.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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