A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of March 23-March 29

This week, readers sent us comments about the middle class, the Congressional Budget Office and the value of context.
In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

IRS Expansion

Q: Will the IRS hire 16,500 new agents to enforce the health care law?

A: No. The law requires the IRS mostly to hand out tax credits, not collect penalties. The claim of 16,500 new agents stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.

Crist, Rubio Ad War

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist once looked like he’d surely get the GOP nomination in the race to replace outgoing Sen. Mel Martinez. But it’s the former Florida state House speaker, Republican Marco Rubio, who’s currently positioned as the front-runner.
With several months to go before the August primary, Crist released his first TV ad last week hitting his chief opponent for having been a "registered lobbyist" and using "Republican political donations on his lavish lifestyle."

It’s true that Rubio was a registered lobbyist in Florida’s Miami-Dade County for several years —

Just the Facts 2010: Census

Does the 2010 Census asks lots of intrusive, personal questions? Is it true that the Census Bureau has no constitutional authority to ask us these things? No. In this episode, we look at several untrue claims being made about this year’s national head count.

Health Care and Census

President Obama signed the health care bill into law this week — but we’re still fact-checking claims about it. In this episode, we look at two ads from groups that were pushing for passage of the legislation. Plus, we discuss various false claims about the 2010 Census.
(Click the play button below to listen to the podcast. Or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.)

For more on the stories discussed in this episode see:
"All Those in Favor …"

Student Lenders’ Slippery Jobs Numbers

Would overhauling the student loan program really "jeopardize more than 30,000 private sector jobs," as claimed by those who oppose it? We find that figure to be a stretch. A widely quoted, independent expert says any job loss is likely to be much less, and that it’s possible no jobs will be lost at all.
The student-loan overhaul — under which the federal government would become the sole lender, ending the role of banks and other private sector lenders in this government program —

Misleading on Military Pay

Q: Did Obama propose a 1.4 percent pay increase for the military, the lowest since 1973?
A: Yes. Military pay raises are based on the Employment Cost Index, which grew very little this year.

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of March 16-March 22

This week, readers sent us comments about congressional ethics and the politics of the next generation.
In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

And Here We Go: Attack Ad Cites Health Care Vote

Republican businessman Scott Sipprelle, who is running to unseat Democratic Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey this fall, has launched one of the first TV ads attacking an incumbent on the recent health care vote.

In the 30-second spot, which is also the first TV ad of his campaign, Sipprelle says, "Rush Holt and Nancy Pelosi ignored you" and supported a "trillion dollar health care bill [that] creates a massive new federal bureaucracy that will hurt the quality of care and saddle us with more debt and higher taxes."

Enter the Lawyers

You knew they were coming, didn’t you?
Back in October, we were getting lots of e-mail asking if the health care overhaul bill was constitutional or not, particularly the part that requires each individual to have insurance. Our conclusion? We couldn’t really give one, of course, but we talked through some of the issues that could arise. See our post: "Health Care Overhaul: Constitutional?"
Now it looks as though we won’t have to wait very long for the wheels of litigation to start turning.