Blitzer let Fleischer falsely claim Obama has a "proposal to eliminate deductions" for charitable donations

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Ari Fleischer's false claim that President Obama has a "proposal to eliminate deductions" for charitable donations and housing-related expenses. In fact, Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget proposal includes a provision to reduce to 28 percent the rate at which families earning more than $250,000 a year can take deductions for charitable donations, housing-related expenses, and other itemized deductions.

During the March 12 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer did not challenge former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer's claim that President Obama "said no tax hikes for anybody who makes less than 250 [thousand dollars] a year, and then we learn that it's really 125,000 a year when you take a look at his proposal to eliminate deductions for charitable deductions and for housing deductions." In fact, Obama does not have a proposal to "eliminate deductions" for charitable donations and housing-related expenses. Rather, Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget proposal includes a provision to reduce to 28 percent the rate at which families earning more than $250,000 a year can take these and other itemized deductions.

As Media Matters for America documented, during the March 1 edition of CNN's State of the Union, host John King similarly failed to challenge Rep. Tom Price's (R-GA) false claim that Obama's budget proposal "will remove the ability to make charitable contributions deductible."

From Obama's budget proposal:

Reducing Itemized Deduction Rate for Families With Incomes Over $250,000. Lowering health care costs and expanding health insurance coverage will require additional revenue. In the health reform policy discussions that have taken place over the past few years, a wide range of revenue options have been discussed -- and these options are all worthy of serious discussion as the Administration works with the Congress to enact health care reform The Administration's Budget includes a proposal to limit the tax rate at which high-income taxpayers can take itemized deductions to 28 percent -- and the initial reserve fund would be funded in part through this provision. This provision would raise $318 billion over 10 years.

From the March 12 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: And he said, Ari Fleischer, that there's not going to be any tax increases for the wealthiest 2 or 3 percent of the population, at least for two years, starting in 2011. They'll revert back to where they were during the Clinton administration in the '90s, a time of prosperity. Is that likely to reassure the business community?

FLEISCHER: No, I don't think so, Wolf. I think actually when you look at some of the things he said, then you examine the specifics, he said no tax hikes for anybody who makes less than 250 thou a year, and then we learn that it's really 125,000 a year when you take a look at his proposal to eliminate deductions for charitable deductions and for housing deductions. So there's still a lot of skepticism. But the bigger issue is: Will it do any good? Will it get the economy back on track?

BLITZER: What do you think, [Democratic strategist] Jamal [Simmons]? What did you think of that message that he delivered, specifically something that some Democrats might not like? He said he's not going to go with any protectionist policies. He wants free trade because that would be a huge blunder to go back to the tariffs of the trade protection that occurred in the '20s and '30s that exacerbated the Depression then.

Posted In
Economy, Budget, Taxes
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
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