ABC News' Jake Tapper, CNN's Dana Bash, and Fox News' Sean Hannity advanced the falsehood that President Obama's plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for wealthy taxpayers would cause a large percentage of small businesses to pay higher taxes. In fact, according to the Tax Policy Center, just 2 percent of tax returns that reported small business income in 2007 are in the top two income tax brackets, which include all filers with taxable incomes that would be affected.
On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck again attacked the recovery act by citing a provision he did not understand. Beck stated that the final version of "[t]he spending bill, clean of earmarks, has ... $800 million for carbon capture projects." Meanwhile, on-screen text read: "$800M to Carbon Capture Project: What Is That?"
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller falsely suggested President Obama supported California's Proposition 8. After Miller described a call to his radio show in which the caller suggested that "had [Obama] been a California resident," he "would have voted for Proposition 8," O'Reilly stated that the caller "probably listened to The Radio Factor and then called you because we had said that." In fact, Obama opposed Proposition 8.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "the Democrats in charge of the finance committees" resisted efforts by the Bush administration to regulate the mortgage industry and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in particular. In fact, it was only after the Democrats did gain control of both "finance committees" in Congress in 2007 that Congress passed legislation strengthening oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
On Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson allowed Steve Adubato to misrepresent President Obama's February 24 address to Congress in order to claim that Obama engaged in "class warfare." After Adubato suggested that Obama did not refer to people who "bought houses they shouldn't have bought because they can't afford them," Carlson responded: "Good point." In fact, contrary to Adubato's suggestion, Obama did refer to people who "bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway."
On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly advanced the falsehood that "the average autoworker now makes 70 bucks an hour." In fact, a recent Barclays Capital analysis reportedly found that the average U.S. autoworker is paid "an average of $55 an hour in wages and benefits."
On Fox News, Sean Hannity repeated the false GOP talking points that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directs that funds be spent to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco and on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, as Rep. Joe Sestak noted in response to Hannity, the bill does not contain any language directing funds to the salt marsh harvest mouse or its San Francisco wetlands habitat, nor does the bill include a provision directing that funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto stated that President Obama "misstate[d]" the facts on the U.S. corporate tax rate structure, and purporting to "correct" him, claimed that the U.S. corporate tax rate is "at a high 35 percent ... the highest in the industrialized world. That is un-debatable and unequivocal." In fact, while the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate is 35 percent, according to the Government Accountability Office, "Statutory tax rates do not provide a complete measure of the burden that a tax system imposes on business income." Additionally, World Bank and GAO data indicate that the U.S. effective corporate tax rate is lower than 35 percent and lower than several developed economies.
On Hannity, Bo Dietl falsely asserted that "[t]en years from now" there will be only two workers for each Social Security beneficiary. He added, "The problem is there's going to be bankruptcy in Social Security and then the pension system." In fact, the 2008 Social Security trustee's report estimates that the ratio will fall from more than 3 workers for every beneficiary to a 2.2 ratio by 2030, not in "[t]en years." Furthermore, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, at which point it will be able to cover 78 percent of benefits if no legislative changes are made.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that prior to the housing crisis, Rep. Barney Frank had been "pumping it that poor people ought to be given mortgages 'cause everybody has a right to a house." In fact, Frank has consistently taken the position that the government should focus on the expansion of affordable rental housing, rather than enacting policies geared toward universal home ownership.
Citing a Congressional Quarterly article about the relationship between House members and lobbying firm The PMA Group, Sean Hannity falsely suggested that current or former House members who received PMA funds and inserted earmarks that benefited PMA clients into a 2007 bill are "all Democrats." In fact, according to CQ, 44 of 91 current or former House members who received campaign contributions from the PMA Group's political action committe or its employees from 2001-2008 and "secured earmarks for clients of The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations law," are Republicans.
On Fox News' Glenn Beck, Tracy Byrnes baselessly asserted that Namasté Solar Electric Inc. -- the company whose president introduced President Obama at the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- has a "progressive, maybe even socialist, internal structure," and during her report, on-screen text falsely claimed that "all employees are paid the same." In fact, according to Namasté's website, "starting salary depends upon experience."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Karl Rove falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank "was one of the more prominent opponents of [housing] reform in 2004 and 2005." In fact, Frank supported efforts to enhance regulatory oversight on mortgage brokers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005, and he has long championed policies that emphasize low-income home rentals as opposed to homeownership.
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren did not challenge Sen. Jon Kyl's false claim that the economic recovery plan is "going to be wasting an awful lot of money, putting permanent programs in place that over a 10-year period ... are going to spend $3.27 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office." Kyl's assertion echoed the false claim in a Washington Times editorial that CBO estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do.