A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Tax Distortions


Palin repeated several false claims about Obama’s tax policies.

Obama did not in fact vote to increase taxes on “families” making as little as $42,000 per year. What Obama actually voted for was a budget resolution that called for returning the 25 percent tax bracket to its pre-Bush tax cut level of 28 percent. That could have affected an individual with no children making as little as $42,000. But a couple would have had to earn $83,000 to be affected and a family of four at least $90,000.

Palin also repeated the exaggeration that Obama voted 94 times to increase taxes. That number includes seven votes that would have lowered some taxes, 23 that were against tax cuts, and 17 that came on just seven different bills.

And finally, it’s false that Biden and Obama voted for “the largest tax increase in history.” Palin is referring here to the Democrats’ 2008 budget proposal, which would indeed have resulted in about $217 billion in higher taxes over two years. That’s a significant increase. But measured as a percentage of GDP, the yardstick that most economists prefer, the 2008 budget proposal would have been the third-largest since 1968, and it’s not even in the top 10 since 1940.