A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

EPA Tax on Cows and Pigs?

Q: Is the EPA considering a tax on cows and pigs?
A: No. The farm lobby warned that EPA “could” push for such a tax, but EPA never proposed any such thing and says it lacks authority to impose one anyway.

Nancy Pelosi’s Personal Jet

Q: Did Nancy Pelosi order up a 200-seat jet for her personal use?

A: The Democratic House speaker normally flies in a 12-seat Air Force jet, just as her Republican predecessor did. This rumor stems from a request by the House sergeant at arms, not Pelosi, for a jet large enough to reach California without refueling.

Year-end Whoppers

Summary

We've often said that the spin never stops in Washington. And the weeks since Nov. 4 offer further evidence of that.
Consider some of the bogus claims we've debunked just since Election Day:

It's not true that unionized auto workers at Detroit's Big Three make more than $70 an hour, as claimed by some opponents of federal aid.
And no, 3 million workers won't be tossed out of work if aid is not forthcoming,

Loss of Automaker Jobs?

Q: Would 3 million jobs be lost if U.S. automakers go under?

A: The 3-million-jobs figure is based on doomsday assumptions that are unlikely to materialize. Independent economists put the job loss in the hundreds of thousands if GM and Chrysler go under. Ford has said it can survive on its own for now.

Health Care Bill Bankruptcies

Q: What is the percentage of total personal bankruptcies caused by health care bills?
A: A Harvard study published in 2005 found that about half of those who filed for bankruptcy said health care expenses, illness or related job-loss led them to do so. Twenty-seven percent cited uncovered medical bills specifically, and 2 percent said they had mortgaged their home to pay what they owed.

We Wondered Where They Went…

Someone whose work we criticized a fair bit in 2004 and 2006 explains why, perhaps, so little was heard from MoveOn.org and other groups in 2008 in this piece fromNational Public Radio. Money was scarce, but other factors — such as the presence of factcheckers — may have had an impact.

Cost of Obama’s Transition

Q: How is President-elect Obama paying for his transition?
A: Obama’s transition is being financed with $5.3 million in public funds provided by Congress, supplemented by another $6.7 million that his team hopes to raise from individuals in donations not exceeding $5,000 each.

Our Disinformed Electorate

We saw more aggressive fact-checking by journalists in this election than ever before. Unfortunately, as a post-election Annenberg Public Policy Center poll confirms, millions of voters were bamboozled anyway.

More than half of U.S. adults (52 percent) said the claim that Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plan would raise taxes on most small businesses is truthful, when in fact only a small percentage would see any increase.

More than two in five (42.3 percent) found truth in the claim that Sen.

Auto Worker Salaries

Q: Do auto workers really make more than $70 per hour?
A: No. That figure is derived from what the auto companies pay in wages, health, retirement and other benefits, and includes the cost of providing benefits to retirees.

You Ask, We Answer

That’s the idea behind our Ask FactCheck feature on themain site.
This week, we looked into a suspicious quote allegedly from President-elect Barack Obama, speaking about urgent gun policy changes. The reader who sent it to us wasn’t convinced it was legitimate, and our reporting showed it was almost certainly a fabrication. The quote claims Obama told a "VPC Fund Raiser" in 2007 that "[i]n the first year, I intend to work with Congress on a national no carry law,