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Unspinning the FairTax

Summary
In our recent article on the second GOP debate, we called out Gov. Mike Huckabee as well as Reps. Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter for their support of the FairTax. We wrote that the bipartisan Advisory Panel on Tax Reform had “calculated that a sales tax would have to be set at 34 percent of retail sales prices to bring in the same revenue as the taxes it would replace, meaning that an automobile with a retail price of $10,000 would cost $13,400 including the new sales tax.”

Counter-rotating Tax Spin

Summary
The Democrats’ proposed 2008 budget is being spun by both sides. Democrats claim it will not raise taxes by even a penny, while Republicans say it will impose the largest or second-largest tax increase in history.
Obviously, the budget can’t be the largest tax increase in history and zero tax increase simultaneously. So which is it? The answer depends on a couple of questions: What constitutes an increase? And an increase compared with what?

GOP Candidates Debate, Round 2

Summary

Claims, facts and figures flew at the second GOP presidential debate of 2008. Not all were true. For example:

Mitt Romney claimed he didn’t raise taxes when he was governor of Massachusetts, failing to note that he increased government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars and shifted some of the state tax burden to the local level.
Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado claimed scientific reports on whether humans are responsible for global warming are split 50-50,

A False Ad About ‘Lawsuit Abuse’

Summary
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running a TV ad alleging that "lawsuit abuse" is costing "your family" $3,500 a year. That’s false. The figure is from a study that estimates the cost of all lawsuits, not just abusive ones.
 
Even the author of the study cited by the chamber says its ad is "misleading." The fact is his study makes no attempt to specify which lawsuits are legitimate and which can be considered abusive.

Levitating Numbers

Summary
In an earlier article we criticized Rudy Giuliani for saying adoptions went up 65 to 70 percent when he was mayor, when in fact adoptions at the end of his tenure were only 17 percent higher than at the start, and falling. His campaign still insists his claim is justified and offers its own interpretation of the statistical record.
In this article we offer the former mayor’s rationale, along with why we believe it is a classic case of how candidates and public officials sometimes use data selectively to create a false impression.

Republican Candidates Debate

Summary

Ten Republican candidates for president debated at the Reagan Library in California, the first GOP debate of the 2008 campaign. Here and there we found stumbles, spin and exaggerations, just as we did at the Democratic debate a week earlier.

Giuliani claimed that adoptions shot up 65 to 70 percent while he was mayor. In fact, the net increase over his entire tenure was 17 percent.
Brownback hyped the medical potential of stem cells taken from adults and not embryos,

FactCheck.org Wins 2 Webby “People’s Voice” Awards

Summary
The Webby Awards named FactCheck.org the best political Web site, and also the best on government, in the 2007 People’s Voice vote.
Analysis
The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences announced May 1 that voters in the annual Webby "People’s Voice" competition chose FactCheck.org as winner in both the politics and government categories. Webbies are billed as "the Oscars of the Internet."
There were five nominees in each category, and sponsors said this year’s competition attracted a record number of votes from the public.