FOX's Hannity wrong on Kerry tax plan

FOX News Channel host Sean Hannity said Senator John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, are “hypocrites,” because Kerry's tax plan “doesn't go to dividends, only income.” Hannity complained, “Kerry says raise the taxes on the rich but not themselves.” In fact, Kerry's tax plan would raise taxes on dividends for families that earn over $200,000. Hannity made the inaccurate claim on the May 12 episode of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes during a debate with Kiki McLean, Democratic strategist and spokesperson for former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign:

HANNITY: The Kerry campaign wants to cut taxes on people who make two hundred thousand dollars. She [Teresa Heinz Kerry] only paid 14.7 percent of her income in taxes, because their plan doesn't go to dividends, only income. So they don't want to tax themselves. They're hypocrites. That's their big problem.

MCLEAN: Sean, Sean, you're talking about a woman who gave more than $4 million to charity this year. You're also talking about numbers that are comparable with what the Cheneys did.

HANNITY: Big deal. 14.7 percent? 14.7? The Bushes paid 28 percent.

MCLEAN: And how about the Cheneys, Sean, what did the Cheneys pay?

HANNITY: I'm just saying, if he's going to say tax the rich...

MCLEAN: Sean, what do the Cheneys pay?

HANNITY: Tax the rich and tax themselves, tax their dividends. Don't tax everybody but themselves. They're hypocrites.

MCLEAN: Sean. The Cheney's paid in the 13 percent range. You know it.

HANNITY: They're hypocrites. The Cheney's are not saying raise the taxes.

MCLEAN: Sean...

HANNITY: Kerry says raise the taxes on the rich but not themselves.

But as the Associated Press reported May 8, 2003, Senator Kerry in 2003 opposed the Republican plan to cut taxes on dividends and would "[r]estore the capital gains and dividend rates for families making over $200,000 on income earned above $200,000 to their levels under President Clinton," according to an April 4 Kerry campaign press release. In fact, Republicans have been eager to highlight this aspect of Kerry's tax proposal. On April 21, Stephen Moore -- economic correspondent for the national conservative weekly Human Events and president of the conservative anti-tax organization The Club for Growth, wrote in an April 21 Commentary in The Washington Times, “If you own stocks, Mr. Kerry really plans to sock it to you. Here he does not even bother to camouflage his plans. The Kerry tax scheme openly promises to raise ... the dividend tax rate.”