IBD editorial quoted Will's false claim after Newsweek issued correction

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

In criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for proposing to "lift[] the tax cap on earnings subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000," an Investor's Business Daily editorial quoted a false assertion made by George Will that a "Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so you (Obama) would take another $5,642 from them." Newsweek issued a correction of Will's false claim the day before the IBD editorial appeared.

A May 20 Investor's Business Daily editorial claimed, "[Sen. Barack] Obama also said he'd consider raising payroll taxes. Indeed he would. Obama would save grandma and grandpa by bankrupting their grandchildren. He has proposed lifting the tax cap on earnings subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000," The editorial added: "As George Will points out, a 'Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so you (Obama) would take another $5,642 from them.' " But Will's assertion -- in a May 2 Newsweek column, from which IBD quoted approvingly -- that the payroll tax is assessed by household is false; the Social Security tax is assessed on individuals, so raising the payroll tax income cap would have no effect on individuals whose income is below the current income cap.

Indeed, on May 19 -- the day before the IBD editorial appeared -- Newsweek issued a correction to the May 2 column, in which Will asserted: "You [Obama] favor eliminating the cap on earnings subject to the 12.4 percent Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000. A Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so you would take another $5,642 from them." Newsweek noted that "because the Social Security tax is assessed individually, and the couple each earns less than the current cap, any elimination of that cap will not have an effect on their tax burden."

According to his campaign website, Obama supports "increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security" above the current level of "the first $102,000 a worker," but during the last Democratic debate, he said he would consider a "doughnut hole," exempting from a tax increase those making less than $200,000 or $250,000.

From the May 20 Investor's Business Daily editorial:

As for raising the retirement age, it's an option that's been considered by politicians of both parties, even by Barack Obama.

In a May 2007 interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week," Obama said he'd consider raising the retirement age himself. Obama also said he'd consider raising payroll taxes. Indeed he would. Obama would save grandma and grandpa by bankrupting their grandchildren. He has proposed lifting the tax cap on earnings subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000.

As George Will points out, a "Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so you (Obama ) would take another $5,642 from them."

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Investor's Business Daily
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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