On Fox News Sunday, Liasson falsely claimed that study concluded Obama's tax plans "might add more to the deficit" than McCain's

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."

Discussing an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center of Sen. Barack Obama's and Sen. John McCain's tax plans on the June 15 edition of Fox News Sunday, National Public Radio national political correspondent Mara Liasson falsely asserted that the "group ... said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found the opposite of what Liasson claimed. The group -- a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution that describes itself as "made up of nationally recognized experts in tax, budget, and social policy" -- found that "Senator Obama's proposals would raise $700 billion, an increase of 2 percent, and Senator McCain's proposals lose $600 billion, a decrease of roughly 2 percent" when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent" over the next 10 years.

The Tax Policy Center analysis also found that Obama's tax plan was less expensive than McCain's tax plan when scored against current law. The analysis further stated that "the true cost of McCain's policies may be masked by phase-ins and sunsets (scheduled expiration dates) that reduce the estimated revenue costs."

From the Tax Policy Center analysis:

Although both candidates have at times stressed fiscal responsibility, their specific non-health tax proposals would reduce tax revenues by $3.7 trillion (McCain) and $2.7 trillion (Obama) over the next 10 years, or approximately 10 and 7 percent of the revenues scheduled for collection under current law, respectively. Furthermore, as in the case of President Bush's tax cuts, the true cost of McCain's policies may be masked by phase-ins and sunsets (scheduled expiration dates) that reduce the estimated revenue costs. If his policies were fully phased in and permanent, the ten-year cost would rise to $4.1 trillion, or about 11 percent of total revenues. Both candidates argue that their proposals should be scored against a "current policy" baseline instead of current law. Such a baseline assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT patch made permanent. Against current policy, Senator Obama's proposals would raise $700 billion, an increase of 2 percent, and Senator McCain's proposals lose $600 billion, a decrease of roughly 2 percent. Senator McCain has stressed that deficits should be closed by spending cuts, but policies he identifies, such as limiting earmarks, would offset only part of the revenue losses attributable to his tax plan. As noted, both candidates may be overoptimistic in their revenue targets for closing tax loopholes-Obama probably more than McCain.

From the June 15 edition of Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Well, a nonpartisan group called the Tax Policy Center analyzed Obama's tax plan and McCain's tax plan this week, and they say Obama's plan, Mara, redistributes income to lower- and middle-income people, while McCain's gives most of the benefit to the wealthy. Is that an advantage Democrats?

LIASSON: I think to a certain extent it's an advantage to Democrats, unless and until McCain can actually make the case why his tax plans are pro-growth, because that same group also said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit. I think what's interesting is these two candidates who are trying to be post-partisan figures are, at least in this debate, are really reverting to kind of old-fashioned Democrat-Republican, pre-Bill Clinton, almost -- this is not New Democratic arguments about the economy from Obama, these are Old Democratic arguments. It's pretty populist, you know, "tax the rich," and on McCain's side, much more standard boilerplate Republican talk about taxes. I think for McCain, if he wants an advantage on taxes and the economy, he has to kind of put it into a reform agenda and talk about why what he's doing would actually help the economy.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
FOX Broadcasting Company
Person
Mara Liasson
Show/Publication
FOX News Sunday
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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