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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Fostering a Fortune?

Q: Does Illinois pay a grandmother $1,500 per month per child to be the foster parent to her eight grandchildren?
A: No. State officials have no record of such a case, and state law would not allow it. This second-hand story spread by a Danville urologist isn’t true.

Tax Cuts, Social Security and Health Care

In episode 40 of our podcast, we tell you about President Obama’s false assertion about Social Security, wrong claims about the Bush tax cuts from both parties and yet another Internet rumor about the health care law.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Obama’s Social Security Stumble  Dec. 8
Sunday Replay  Dec. 6
Health Care Law Waivers  Dec. 7

Obama’s Social Security Stumble

President Barack Obama rewrote the history of the Social Security system during a Dec. 7 press conference, claiming that only widows and orphans originally benefited from the program. Obama was defending a deal the administration reached recently with congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans for another two years:

Obama, Dec. 7: And that means because it’s a big, diverse country and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done,

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6

This week, readers sent us comments about federal pay, the FairTax and our upcoming conference.
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.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Just Argue

The Dec. 5 edition of ABC’s “This Week” played host to a heated discussion about the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation. Claims pinged back and forth regarding the recent Pentagon investigation of troop attitudes toward the law. But we caught several people putting the wrong figures with the wrong questions, or otherwise misrepresenting the results.
First, Gen. Wesley Clark misrepresented how many service members thought having an openly gay colleague would not affect their combat performance:

Clark: And what the survey showed is that essentially all of the service members,

Health Care Law Waivers

Q: Has the Obama administration allowed corporations to "opt out" of the new health care law?
A: No. The government has granted more than 200 waivers, but these merely give companies a temporary delay before being required to improve the coverage of cheap, bare-bones plans they currently offer.

Sunday Replay

Almost all of the misinformation coming from politicians on the Sunday shows this week had to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts, which Congress is expected to vote on this week. Coming in second was the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy for gay servicemembers — we’ll post Tuesday on an exchange that took place on that topic on ABC’s "This Week."
Polling Problems
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona gave a misleading description of public opinion on the Bush tax cuts.

Federal Pay, Tax Cuts and Jane Fonda

In episode 39 of our podcast, we look at misleading statements about the pay of federal workers versus private sector workers. Plus, we debunk a talking point about the Bush tax cuts and tell you the story of an old (and now reincarnated) chain e-mail about Jane Fonda.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Are Federal Workers Overpaid?  Dec. 1
Tax Cuts and Americans: It’s Complicated  Nov. 20
Blame Jane Falsehoods  Nov.

Are Federal Workers Overpaid?

President Barack Obama’s recent announcement to freeze the pay of federal civilian workers did little to ice the debate over whether federal workers are overpaid or underpaid. … Both sides are armed with official government statistics, but neither side is right. …