On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity echoed President Bush's misleading claim during the State of the Union address that "116 million American taxpayers ... would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800" if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, a claim that Frank Luntz further exaggerated. In fact, because the tax cuts are largely skewed toward the wealthiest Americans, the "average of $1,800" figure cited by Bush dramatically overstates the impact of repealing the tax cuts on most Americans.
Fox News and The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's claim that he originally voted against the Bush tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts. And in its endorsement of McCain, The Arizona Republic wrote that McCain "opposed the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 because they arrived with no commensurate spending cuts." But in a floor statement during the Senate debate on the 2001 tax cut bill, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
PolitiFact.com asserted that "[i]n 2001, [Sen. John] McCain voted against a $1.35-trillion tax cut package, arguing that the tax cuts should be balanced by spending cuts." This assertion is false. While McCain now claims that was his reason for voting against the tax cuts in 2001, that was not the reason he gave at the time of the vote itself. In a floor statement, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated: "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
On MSNBC Live, Tamron Hall aired an ad from Sen. John McCain that accuses Mitt Romney of "chang[ing] positions like the wind" on his support for "the Bush tax cuts." But Hall did not mention that McCain himself has shifted positions on President Bush's tax cuts or that McCain has previously denounced "negative campaigns."
During a report on CNN's The Situation Room, Mary Snow uncritically aired Mike Huckabee's assertion that "[i]f we could free people up to go out and earn -- get their whole paychecks -- it could make a truly huge difference in securing jobs and making the economy work." However, in a previous report, CNN's Ali Velshi had rebutted the claim that, under the FairTax plan, workers would get to keep their entire paychecks, saying, "Promoters like Huckabee talk about how you'd get 100 percent of your salary paid to you. Now, that is a myth."
A USA Today article described John McCain as "a maverick senator from the West" who has taken "maverick stands, including votes against Bush's tax cuts in 2001" and "his sponsorship last year of an immigration bill that included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in this country," while a USA Today editorial asserted that "McCain's chief sin, apparently, is that he has broken ranks on issues that include campaign finance, President Bush's tax cuts, illegal immigration and global warming." Neither the article nor the editorial mentioned that McCain has since shifted positions on the Bush tax cuts and immigration.
CNN national correspondent John King uncritically reported that Sen. John McCain "says he opposed the Bush tax cuts because the plan did not also include spending cuts." The Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, and the Palm Beach Post also similarly reported McCain's assertion. But in a floor statement during the Senate debate on the 2001 tax cut bill, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
Responding to guest Jeff Frankel's statement that "[a]ll the past tax cuts have gone primarily to the rich, and I think it's -- it is time to give some of it to lower-income, working Americans," Glenn Beck said, "Nice of you to join us, Stalin. I mean, that is the redistribution of wealth!" This is not the first time Beck has invoked the Soviet Union in characterizing policies or people with whom he disagrees.
The Associated Press reported that Sen. John McCain favors an "extension of expiring tax cuts from Bush's first term," but the article did not point out that McCain changed his position on the Bush tax cuts, opposing the reductions in 2001 and 2003, then voting to extend them in 2006.
On The Situation Room, Mary Snow asserted that Sen. John McCain "wants to make President Bush's middle-class tax cuts permanent." But McCain does not favor the permanent extension of just middle-class tax cuts; he favors making permanent all of Bush's tax cuts, including those that largely benefit wealthy Americans.
CNN's John King reported that Sen. John McCain "didn't vote for the Bush tax cuts because there weren't spending cuts." In fact, during the Senate debate on the conference committee version of the 2001 tax cut bill, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated that, while he supported an earlier version of the bill "that provided more tax relief to middle income Americans," "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
During the ABC News-Facebook debate, moderator Charlie Gibson suggested that the Democratic presidential candidates' proposals to roll back or let some of President Bush's tax cuts expire would affect middle-class families, adding, "If you take a family of two professors here at St. Anselm, they're going to be in the $200,000 category that you're talking about lifting the taxes on." According to the U.S. Census, however, the median income for a U.S. household is $48,451, and the mean household income is $65,527; and only 3.4 percent of U.S. households have an income of $200,000 or more.
The Des Moines Register's endorsement of Sen. John McCain praised him for "taking stands based on principle, not party dogma," citing his positions on immigration reform and President Bush's tax cuts, among others. However, as noted in several reports, McCain has shifted his position on immigration reform and actually reversed his position on the tax cuts.
On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly stated that Warren Buffett "was not being truthful" when he said that, in Kirsten Powers' words, "he doesn't think his secretary should be paying a higher tax rate than he is." O'Reilly asserted, "His secretary isn't paying a higher tax. ... Mr. Buffett gets no salary. He gets return on his interest. And he gets capital gains tax at 15 percent. That's what it's taxed as," adding that Buffett was "being deceptive because he doesn't make a salary." But Buffett has acknowledged that most of his income is not salary, saying, "Most of my income is taxed at 15 percent, and doesn't pay a payroll. Mainly it's dividends and capital gains."
In an analysis of Rudy Giuliani's new campaign ad, Howard Kurtz asserted that Giuliani's claim that "reducing taxes produces more revenues" is "a matter of fierce dispute among economists." As evidence of this dispute, Kurtz provided the opinion of only one economist, Larry Kudlow, who agreed with Giuliani's assertion. But a day before Kurtz's analysis appeared in print, a Washington Post editorial had quoted Edward Lazear, chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, stating, "I certainly would not claim that tax cuts pay for themselves." Several other current or former Bush administration officials have also disagreed with the assertion that tax cuts produce more revenue.