Fact-Checking Michele Bachmann

November 16, 2011

In a speech in Ottumwa (IA) on October 29, Michele Bachmann claimed that in 1950, “the average amount of taxes that the average family (paid) was 5 percent overall.” Our analysis shows that this claim may be misleading; the actual total federal, state and local tax burden was 24.6 percent in 1950. While Bachmann is correct that total tax burdens have increased since the 50s (the tax total tax burden this year is 27.7 percent), the “5 percent” claim seems to be a gaffe.

The DesMoinesRegister.com covered this in a recent article, where they opined that perhaps Bachmann meant to refer to just federal tax collections as a percentage of GDP, which stood at 5.8 percent in 1950. From the article:

The apparent error undermines Bachmann’s central point, which is that the tax burden is primarily responsible for forcing both parents to work and other substantial changes to middle-class financial life over the past several decades.

Bachmann’s “Blueprint for Economic Prosperity and Job Creation” outlines her tax plan, which focuses on extending the 2001-03 tax cuts, reducing the number of tax brackets, repealing taxes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, lowering the corporate tax rate to 9 percent, eliminating the estate tax, eliminating the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and eliminating the capital gains tax.


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