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Obama Misleading Voters Again on Taxes

3 min readBy: Gerald Prante

So today in a speech to a Pennsylvania crowd, Obama said this:

Now, in the closing days of this campaign, my opponent is trying to distance himself from the President he has faithfully supported 90% of the time. He’s supported four of the five Bush budgets that have taken us from the surpluses of the Clinton years to the largest deficits in history. John McCain has ridden shotgun as George Bush has driven our economy toward a cliff, and now he wants to take the wheel and step on the gas.

And when it comes to the issue of taxes, saying that John McCain is running for a third Bush term isn’t being fair to George W. Bush. He’s proposing $300 billion in new taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. cuts for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. That’s something not even George Bush proposed. Not even George Bush proposed another $700,000 tax cut to the average Fortune 500 CEO. Not even George Bush proposed a plan that would leave out 100 million middle class families. That’s not change.

Change is a middle class tax cut for 95% of workers and their families. Change is eliminating income taxes for seniors making under $50,000 and giving homeowners and working parents more of a break. Change is eliminating capital gains taxes for the small businesses that are the engine of job-creation in this country.

That’s I want to do. That’s what change is.

With regard to the claim that George Bush is not proposing another $700,000 tax cut to the average Fortune 500 CEO, Obama is deliberately misleading voters. The $700,000 figure actually comes from the tax cut those individuals would receive from extending the Bush tax cuts in 2011, something George Bush actually would favor. You can technically call it "another" tax cut, but those CEOs' taxes are set to go up in 2011 and McCain merely supports extending those lower taxes on them. In other words, Obama's claim is misleading.

The next thing Obama says actually contradicts an ad that he is running. He said in this speech that "not even George Bush proposed a plan that would leave out 100 million middle-class families." But an Obama ad says this about McCain's tax plan: "Tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthy. But almost nothing for the middle class — same as Bush." So in a speech, Obama says McCain doesn't give any relief to the middle class but Bush did. But in an ad, he says that Bush didn't give any relief to the middle class. Hey, Sen. Obama: If you're going to make stuff up, you should at least be consistent with your message.

And once again, saying that McCain's plan leaves out 100 million families is technically incorrect and highly misleading. The 100 million figure is "correct" only if you assume the following:

Families = tax returns AND
McCain's health care plan doesn't exist (that's odd…I swear that Obama has run an ad on it) AND
His baseline assumes AMT patch (which is a different baseline from that which Obama uses in the next part of his speech when he says he cuts taxes for 95 percent of working families…in other words, he gives himself credit for patching AMT but not McCain when talking about how many families would benefit, thereby making the comparison bogus)