Dick Morris repeated false and misleading claims about Obama's tax proposals on Hannity & Colmes and Today

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On Fox News, Dick Morris asserted that as president, Sen. Barack Obama "would double the capital gains tax. That means that you get far less when you sell your home, or your 401(k) or your stock plan," and added, "[H]e would increase the limit on Social Security taxes, which means instead of paying 12 1/2 percent of the first $100,000, you pay it on everything that you're making." Morris' claims are false or highly misleading.

During the June 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Fox News contributor and nationally syndicated columnist Dick Morris repeated false and misleading claims about Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to increase capital gains taxes on individuals making more than $250,000 per year and about Obama's Social Security proposal. Morris asserted that as president, Obama "would double the capital gains tax. That means that you get far less when you sell your home, or your 401(k) or your stock plan," and added, "[H]e would increase the limit on Social Security taxes, which means instead of paying 12 1/2 percent of the first $100,000, you pay it on everything that you're making." Morris made a similarly false claim during the June 24 edition of NBC's Today, asserting that "[i]f you doubled the tax on capital gains, which means anybody sells their home, the government takes twice much out of it." Host Matt Lauer failed to challenge Morris' false claim.

Contrary to Morris' assertion that Obama "would double the capital gains tax," which would mean getting "far less" when "you sell your 401 (k) or your stock plan," Obama has said he would not raise the capital gains tax rate on individuals with income of less than $250,000. Moreover, an increase in capital gains taxes would not in any event affect most distributions from 401(k) and IRA accounts, which are taxed as ordinary income. Further, Morris' assertion that under Obama's plan all homeowners would pay twice as much in taxes when selling their homes is false. Single homeowners can in most cases exempt up to $250,000 in gains realized from the sale of an owner-occupied home from capital gains taxes, and married homeowners can in most cases exempt up to $500,000.

Additionally, while Morris claimed that Obama "would increase the limit on Social Security taxes," which Morris said would mean paying them "on everything that you're making," Obama's plan to raise the cap on income that is subject to Social Security taxes would include a "doughnut hole" that exempts income that is over the current cap of $102,000 but less than $250,000; Obama stated in a June 13 speech of his proposal that "[a]nybody under $250,000 would not be affected whatsoever. Ninety-seven percent of Americans will see absolutely no change in their taxes under my plan."

From the June 24 edition of NBC's Today:

LAUER: All right, so you just bring up the economy. And I've only got 30 seconds left, and I apologize for that, but when you look at polls, you got people who are saying that, although Barack Obama is pretty much a newcomer versus John McCain, who's spent years and years in the Senate, they trust Barack Obama more with the economy than they do John McCain. Why?

MORRIS: Well, because they're not informed. If you doubled the tax on capital gains, which means anybody sells their home, the government takes twice as much out of it. Sell any of your stock, they take twice as much out of it. You're going to drive capital away from the United States. When I was with Bill Clinton, we balanced the budget because we cut the capital gains tax, which raised revenue 'cause there's more transaction. And I believe that if Obama's elected, you can't have these kinds of tax increases without really deepening the recession.

LAUER: You say that, under normal circumstances, Barack Obama would be tough to elect, but you think that, at this particular time, he's the nominee of a party that can't lose?

MORRIS: Yep. You have a candidate that has trouble getting elected atop a candidate -- party that can't lose, and you have a candidate that could probably in normal times easily get elected atop a party that can't win.

From the June 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: All right, I'm going to tell you something. You -- this is -- you wrote some phenomenal stuff. I want you to tell everybody, your first chapter, President Obama -- what would he do?

MORRIS: He would double the capital gains tax. That means that you get far less when you sell your home, or your 401(k), or your stock plan. He would double the dividends tax. That means that old ladies who clip coupons from corporate stocks get less money.

He would double the -- he would increase the limit on Social Security taxes, which means instead of paying 12 1/2 percent of the first $100,000, you pay it on everything that you're making.

HANNITY: Wow.

MORRIS: So that gives you --

HANNITY: And you'll never get that money back.

MORRIS: It gives you an effective tax rate of 60 percent, and it means no boss can raise your pay without having to shell out that extra money in taxes.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes, Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, NBC
Person
Sean Hannity, Dick Morris, Matt Lauer
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes, Today Show
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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