McCain has claimed yet again that Sen. Obama “voted twice for a budget resolution to increase taxes on individuals making $42,000 a year.” As we’ve reported, a single taxpayer making more than $41,500 would have seen a tax increase, but a couple filing jointly would have seen no increase unless they made at least $83,000, and for a couple with two children the cut-off would have been $90,000. Regardless, the increase that Obama once supported as part of a Democratic budget bill is not part of his current tax plan.
He certainly got plenty of airtime.
For those of you who don’t know what that exchange was all about, McCain and Obama were referring to an impromptu encounter between Obama and Toledo, Ohio, plumber Joe Wurzelbacher. Jake Tapper, at ABC News, has the full video.
The short version: Wurzelbacher is a plumber looking to buy a company. He’s concerned that Obama’s tax plan will raise his taxes. That may well be true. As we’ve written before,
McCain was a bit off the mark when he said Obama did not repudiate the remarks of Democratic Rep. John Lewis. Obama did release a statement that said he “did not believe” McCain “or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.” But he did agree with other parts of Lewis’ statement. Here’s the story:
On Oct. 11, Lewis, an activist during the Civil Rights movement, published a statement on the Politico Web site that said in part:
McCain and Obama debated for the second time, in Nashville. We noted some misleading statements and mangled facts:
McCain proposed to write down the amount owed by over-mortgaged homeowners and claimed the idea as his own: “It’s my proposal, it’s not Sen. Obama’s proposal, it’s not President Bush’s proposal.” But the idea isn’t new. Obama had endorsed something similar two weeks earlier, and authority for the treasury secretary to grant such relief was included in the recently passed $700 billion financial rescue package.
McCain once again attacked Obama for proposing new spending, putting the figure at more than $860 billion. But at the same time, McCain himself began the debate by proposing a new spending program, to buy up troubled mortgages directly from homeowners and replace them with 30-year loans guaranteed by the government. McCain’s campaign e-mailed reporters with the following cost estimate:
McCain press release: The direct cost of this plan would be roughly $300 billion because the purchase of mortgages would relieve homeowners of “negative equity”
McCain said that Obama has proposed $860 billion in new spending. That’s based on a McCain campaign estimate of how much Obama’s new proposals will cost, without figuring in any savings or reductions in spending. Any increase in funding and any created program counts as “new spending” in this estimate, whether or not it is offset by decreases in spending elsewhere. A more traditional, and arguably more useful, measure of spending is how much a given candidate’s proposals will increase the federal deficit.
McCain said that Obama’s health care plan would mandate that “small businesses” provide coverage for their employees and would fine them if they failed to do so. Actually, Obama’s health care plan, posted on his Web site, says: “Small businesses will be exempt from this requirement.” McCain previously used this charge in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
Obama was off the mark when he said that oil companies have “68 million acres that they’re not using.”
As we’ve pointed out previously, those 68 million acres of land are not producing oil, but they are not necessarily untouched. In fact, in 2006, the last year for which figures are available, there were a total of more than 15,000 holes that were being proposed, started or finished. These acres of land that these holes sit on are not counted as being “producing,”
Obama said that his health care plan would cut costs, saving $2,500 a year per family. When we asked health care experts about this claim earlier this year, they were quite skeptical. M.I.T.’s Jonathan Gruber told us, “I know zero credible evidence to support that conclusion.” Obama has also said on the campaign trail that more than half of the savings would come from the use of electronic health records, a major part of his plan to cut health costs.
McCain said that Obama had voted 94 times for higher taxes or against tax cuts. He’s getting warmer — the first time we dinged him for this one, he said Obama voted 94 times to increase taxes, which is way off. This is still misleading, though. The real breakdown includes: 23 votes against tax cuts (which would have produced no increase in taxes); seven votes that would have lowered taxes for most people, but increased taxes on a few;