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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 09/17/2008

Taxing Promises

By Washington Post editors
Campaign rally, Tampa, FL, Sept.16, 2008.
Senator Obama "has voted in the Senate raising taxes on people that make as low as $42,000 a year." --John McCain, Interview with CNN, Sept. 16, 2008.

The McCain campaign has accused Obama of planning to raise taxes on middle-income families, despite a campaign pledge to reduce taxes for most Americans. The McCainites point to a non-binding Senate budget resolution supported by Obama that assumes that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 will expire as scheduled by the beginning of 2011. Is it fair to cite this vote as evidence of Obama's "history" as a tax-hiker?

The Facts

The Republican candidate has been taken to task by independent fact checkers for misleading claims about Obama's tax proposals. More recently, McCain has focused on Obama's past Senate votes on a draft budget plan for fiscal year 2009, and sidestepped the question of what he wants to do as president.

According to Eric Toder of the Tax Policy Center, an independent think tank that has examined the budget plans of both candidates, "it is a bit of a stretch" to claim that Obama's vote on the budget resolution represents a vote for higher taxes. The FY 2009 budget resolution did not increase taxes. Instead it provided target guidelines for the budget committees based on the assumption that the Bush tax cuts will expire on schedule.

Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire would result in increased taxes for individual taxpayers making more than $42,000 a year, but not for families or married couples. Obama, however, has repeatedly promised to extend the Bush tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year. McCain has promised to extend all the Bush tax cuts, and add a few more of his own.

The much more important question, which neither candidate has answered satisfactorily, is how they will extend the Bush tax cuts and balance the budget at the same time. A Tax Policy Center analysis of the tax plans of both McCain and Obama shows deficits stretching into the future as far as the eye can see. In other words, both candidates have made promises on taxes that will be impossible for them to keep without exacerbating the already huge imbalances in the U.S. economy.

The Pinocchio Test

John McCain can point to non-binding Senate votes by his rival that include the assumption that the Bush tax cuts will expire as scheduled. But it is misleading for him to claim that Obama has voted to raise taxes on people making as low as $42,000 a year.

(About our rating scale).

By Washington Post editors  | September 17, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  1 Pinocchio, Barack Obama, Candidate Watch  
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It doesn't take any fact check to do the math. Evey where Obama goes he promises 10 billion for this 50 billion for that. When asked how he is going to get the money he usually states that he will get from the oil companies. There is no way he can pay for all he has promised...even if he allows the Bush tax cuts to expire, robs the oil companies of their profits and hits the wealthy with the highest tax increase in history. He will still have to raise taxes on the middle class to provide all that he has promised.

Posted by: dan | September 17, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

That's been my concern all along. How do you cut taxes, balance the budget, create jobs and increase Federal spending for new programs all at the same time?
Obama claims he would cut taxes for 95% of Americans and increase taxes for business.
Increasing business taxes drive away jobs, so who is left the pay the nations bills?

I want to hear reality, not fluffy grandiose speeches designed to attract voters at election time.

Posted by: Cheryl | September 17, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

These two comments ask how Obama will pay for his tax cut but nothing is asked of McCain the other thing is companies are getting tax breaks and good jobs are still leaving the USA for cheaper foreing labor

Posted by: Don | September 17, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

One P is generous for this one, it probably deserves two, especially since it's be repeated ad-nauseum despite being challenged and debunked.

Whether or not the budget is balanced is irrelevant to this discussion. Most recent presidents haven't been concerned with balancing the budget, and it doesn't look like either of the current candidates would be either.

Posted by: Dave | September 17, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

So what's McCain's plan? He has sidestepped all of the major issues, talking about them in grand, sweeping populist language. But he offers nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

This column was fair enough, I guess. Although I really think we should give pols some latitude to call supporting a tax cut extension a "cut" or opposing an extension a "hike" since either can be considered true.

McCain DOES promise something in the way of balanced budgets, though. He has been railing against earmarks ("pork") for a long time, although he couldn't really cut federal spending overall by more than 2% with earmark reform. He also fought against an expensive military development (in-flight tankers, I think) which was popular but at least arguably wasteful. I think he got it killed in the end.

I'm still fuming about the general anti-McCain trend and yesterday's piece where Palin got 4 pinocchios for claiming her state has "nearly 20%" of the nation's supply of oil and gas, when it has 18.5% of the nation's proved reserves, and well over 30% if you count the mean estimate for ANWR, where she wants to drill. That's a contender for a checkmark, one pinocchio at most.

Posted by: The Angry One | September 17, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Head of State

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
And, So, My Friends, I Have Decided Not To Run For President in 2008...

Washington Post:

McCain, September 19:

"'This is not a time for political opportunism,' McCain said. 'This is a time for leadership.'"

What else can one say but--I'm speechless.

Head of State

Posted by: Robert Hewson | September 17, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Let's remember who got us into the budget deficit in the first place? Bush had a surplus when he took office, and he squandered it by spending billions in Iraq. He's also almost doubled the national debt.It didn't seem to bother many Republicans when Bush was doing exactly what a President during wartime shouldn't do...cut taxes. Now all of a sudden they're worried about the deficit?

Posted by: jeffery58 | September 17, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

McCain is still saying, daily, on the stump, "Barack Obama wants to raise your taxes." Obama's tax plan calls for tax cuts to anyone with an income under $250,000, and McCain knows this perfectly well. There should be 10 Pinocchios on this one, not one.

Posted by: herzlliebster | September 17, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

My test for these sort of claims:
Does the campaign's explanation of the basis for their claim resemble what I inferred upon hearing it? If not, I consider the claim misleading.

I expect 99% of voters would be surprised by the thin reed of evidence offered. Suffice to say, this charge is misleading, at best.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I find Obama's tax argument interesting. He's keeps saying he'll cut taxes for 95% of Americans, but at the same time he's going to need money for all the programs he's proposing. It sounds a lot like the Bush tax-cut/spending-increase philosphy which is interesting since he's trying to paint McCain as the next Bush.

Posted by: jfg | September 17, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The explosion of deficits and debt occurred during the Bush years, and was in part a result of the unforgetable rallying cry after 9/11 that Americans should SHOP for their country, despite the overwhelming need for Americans to begin to save, to get out of debt. We need a re-think about how to keep the real economy going and competitive, not the financial sector only. It used to be that there was a connection between these, and now the connection is broken and we are in this incredible hole. I believe Obama is able to see this more clearly and with fewer strings attached than McCain, and that we need that broad view. That's why I am supporting Obama/Biden.

Posted by: finsbury | September 17, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

It sounds a lot like the Bush tax-cut/spending-increase philosphy which is interesting since he's trying to paint McCain as the next Bush.
Posted by: jfg

I expect the reason you find that interesting is you either have no idea what you are talking about, or you are pretending.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"Obama's tax plan calls for tax cuts to anyone with an income under $250,000, and McCain knows this perfectly well."

Obama also promised to reduce the deficit, but even non-partisans have concluded his plan won't do that, either. In fact, after railing against Bush's war-driven deficits, Obama's plan as it stands would drive deficits even higher than Bush.

As I pointed out to 'zukermand' yesterday, the math doesn't add up. Put together something that proves Obama can cut taxes for 95% of individuals, add all his big-spending programs, and reduce the deficit. He's promised all three. But he can't do all three. So to which Obama promise will you choose to 'cling'?

I suppose a Fact-Check would be in order for Obama's promises, but I'm sure Michael Dobbs is too busy today looking for another hair-splitting use of a noun by Sarah Palin to write about.

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

For your information
Tax Policy Center:
Although both candidates have at times stressed fiscal responsibility, their specific non-health tax proposals would reduce tax revenues by $3.6 trillion (McCain) and $2.7 trillion (Obama) over the next 10 years, or approximately 10 and 7 percent of the revenues scheduled for collection under current law, respectively. Furthermore, as in the case of President Bush’s tax cuts, the true cost of McCain’s policies may be masked by phase-ins and sunsets (scheduled expiration dates) that reduce the estimated revenue costs. If his policies were fully phased in and permanent, the ten-year cost would rise to $4.0 trillion, or about 11 percent of total revenues.
Both candidates argue that their proposals should be scored against a “current policy” baseline instead of current law. Such a baseline assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT patch made permanent. Against current policy, Senator Obama’s proposals would raise $300 billion, an increase of 1 percent, and Senator McCain’s proposals lose $1.0 trillion (if fully phased-in and permanent), a decrease of roughly 3 percent. Senator McCain has stressed that deficits should be closed by spending cuts, but policies he identifies, such as limiting earmarks, would offset only part of the revenue losses attributable to his tax plan. As noted, both candidates may be overoptimistic in their revenue targets for closing tax loopholes—Obama probably more than McCain.
The two candidates’ plans would have sharply different distributional effects. Senator McCain’s tax cuts would primarily benefit those with very high incomes, almost all of whom would receive large tax cuts that would, on average, raise their after-tax incomes by more than twice the average for all households. Many fewer households at the bottom of the income distribution would get tax cuts and those whose taxes fall would, on average, see their after-tax income rise much less. In marked contrast, Senator Obama offers much larger tax breaks to low- and middle-income taxpayers and would increase taxes on high-income taxpayers. The largest tax cuts, as a share of income, would go to those at the bottom of the income distribution, while taxpayers with the highest income would see their taxes rise.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I expect the reason you find that interesting is you either have no idea what you are talking about, or you are pretending.
Posted by: zukermand


Well Bush tried to have both ways too with tax cuts and presciption drug plans. The math just doesnt work. All Obama is changing is where the money is spent.

Either there's something missing from Obama's economic plan (tax increases somewhere) or we're headed for higher deficits.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Well Bush tried to have both ways too with tax cuts and presciption drug plans. The math just doesnt work. All Obama is changing is where the money is spent.

Either there's something missing from Obama's economic plan (tax increases somewhere) or we're headed for higher deficits.

Posted by: Anonymous


Look, I understand. We all can't be experts on tax policy and talking point sources you've traditionally relied upon told you to think and repeat these things. You seem a nice enough person, perhaps even interested in actual information and not pretending ignorance just to support one candidate. If so, go here

and read for yourself. If not, good luck with that.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Actually only McCain has promised to reduce the deficit. Obama has been clear that inititally he would NOT reduce the deficit. He would move the spending from War to infrastructure. Also, 5% of the taxpayers bring in over 50% of the revenue, because they own 98% of the assets. That is why you can offer a modest tax cut to the 95% and still have more money. AND those that believe tax cuts increase revenue, well I have a bridge to nowhere in Alaska to sell you. As a percent of GDP, revenue has declined 2.2% since 2001. So while the economy has been growing (even ever so slightly), the revenue related to that growth has been declining. Combined with spending increases of 1.9% of GDP, we have seen year upon year of deficits. The GOP likes to say that tax cuts increase revenue. They do not increase revenue enough to cover the decrease. And yes, in dollars the amount has increased. If I get a pay raise that is less than the cost of inflation, I may have more dollars coming in, but I have less to spend. I have to either reduce spending or borrow to cover the difference. We have been increasing spending and borrowing to cover the increase, as well as borrwoing to cover the reduction in funds.

As to the Fact Checker's arguments, what a stretch. Voting on a budget resolution is not the same as voting for a tax. This deserves at least 2 or 3 P's.

Posted by: vmi98mom | September 17, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

This should have received 5 plus pinochio's. Now, to balance the budget.

End War in Iraq: Savings 120 billion dollars a year.

End Bush Tax cuts for individuals making more than $250,000 a year: Savings 100 billion a year or more (Heck, I would end the Bush tax cuts for individuals making $125,000 or more and for families making $200,000 or more)

That equals over $220 billion in savings.
Increase in jobs with new green technologies: 5 to 10 million jobs over 5 years . More people paying taxes add another 20 billion to reduce the deficit.

Bill Clinton left Bush a 300 billion dollar surplus. So these items will lower the deficit and with the new greener technologies coming online will increase employment.

He could have reduced the deficit to about $75 billion a year by 2012. That's a lot better than $500 billion a year.

Mike W Plan
The only thing that I would do different is to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon on gasoline (5 cents to pay for the war effort over 10 years, 3 cents for green technologies subsidies to move to energy sources and reduce our reliance on crude oil) no additional taxes on diesel (force Americans to look more at diesel vehicle (get 24 to 40 percent better fuel efficiency than gasoline vehicles) and use as another bridge to newer, greener fuels. This would be working with T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore to accomplish the move to greener technologies and clean energy.

Posted by: Mike W | September 17, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

What Obama forgets is that those of us who are middle class now must become upperclass to retire. Our lives are a progression from poverty to prosperity, or at least we try to make it such. That is the American dream. What I see Obama as doing is putting a cieling on our famous ability to traverse the classes. That is why I believe him to be unAmerican. He believes in entitlement for those who do not earn it. The oil companies we hate so much go deep into hostile parts of the world and invest billions to produce the life blood of our economy. I think that taking away the only incentive to make those kinds of risks is a bad idea. I am not a big fat rich white guy. I am just a regular working man, and I do not support the promises of entitlement Obama offers. The truth is the more you make the higher a percentage you have to pay. That is not fair. Companies simply pass on taxes in higher prices. Tax hikes on oil companies will result in higher gas prices to all of us. How does that help the economy? People who are losing their houses made those deals full and well knowing they were taking a risk with the ARMS. It is unfair to blame that on Bush.

Posted by: Kemp | September 17, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

but...but...but...Rush said Obama's plan doesn't add up and The One really just wants to raise our taxes because he gets off on that. That and being the messiah.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Kemp, I don't mean this as an insult, I'm sure there are subjects you are quite expert in, but am I wrong guessing this isn't one of them?

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Kemp, I think you may have set a new "Right Wing Radio Talking Points per word" record. Have you considered the possibility your sources of information are tainted by an agenda that is not entirely in your best interest?

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, "sources of information" should have read "sources of opinion".

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Kemp, you're right! The average American plans not to retire until one year after he or she starts making $250,000. That's why Obama's plan is un-American.

Posted by: homunq | September 17, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

As a CPA who lives in the world of Taxes I can tell you missed it. McCain deserves a minimum of three Pinocchios maybe four.

Posted by: bradcpa | September 17, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

One Pinocchio?! Give me a break! That's at least two or three Pinocchios.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | September 17, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

vmi98mom said:
"As to the Fact Checker's arguments, what a stretch. Voting on a budget resolution is not the same as voting for a tax. This deserves at least 2 or 3 P's."

So it's a lie to call a vote to let tax cuts expire a "tax increase"?

Then you must agree Democrats were lying when they ran around the country accusing Bush and Republicans of wanting to "slash spending" and warning of "draconian cuts" to favorite programs, when all Bush and the Republicans proposed was scaling back Democrat plans for 10% increases to more reasonable 3%-4% increases.

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"So it's a lie to call a vote to let tax cuts expire a "tax increase"? "

Yes, it is. The "tax increase" was instituted by the original legislation.

"Then you must agree Democrats were lying when they ran around the country accusing Bush and Republicans of wanting to "slash spending" and warning of "draconian cuts" to favorite programs, when all Bush and the Republicans proposed was scaling back Democrat plans for 10% increases to more reasonable 3%-4% increases."

No, I don't. If "reasonable 3%-4% increases" only provide for 93% of the program's current product due to inflation or other cost factors, they do constitute a "cut" to the program. Degree, of course, is a matter of opinion.
But you knew that, didn't you? You don't read like a stupid person.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Mike W:

Although your line of reasoning indicates you've never sat in an Economics class, let's go with it for a minute. You claim to come up with $220 billion in savings by ending the Iraq War and sticking a higher tax bill on those greedy rich people who make more than $125k per year.

All right. Now, where does Obama's promises of $400 billion in new spending fit in? How does $220 billion of savings offset $400 billion of new spending, and reduce the deficit?

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I actually think Dobbs got the rating on this one correct. McCain's statement is basically true.

Posted by: jfg | September 17, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse


So, are you going to scrap your plans to buy a $75k BMW this year, and "slash you spending" by only spending $50k on a Cadillac?

Only a liberal could see a 4% increase as a "spending cut".

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: Helen | September 17, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Mike W & zukermand:

Throw out a number for consideration. How much annual income do you think is too much? In other words, at what annual income level should someone be considered 'greedy' and be forced to give even more of whatever they make back to the government?

I think that would give some insight into what you define as "fair" in terms of tax policy. And I ask this as someone from a household which is well below any threshold on which Obama has proposed to raise taxes.

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The 11:10 Anonymous was me.

JFG, "basically" true? Is that the new GOP standard for honesty? Look, if you're going to cchime in here to hack for McCain, at least be honest about it.


Go, read...and, please, quit pretending you know what you're talking about. You're embarrassing yourself.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone in America actually stupid enough after seeing the money that the U.S. Govt has just spent bailing out Fannie, Freddie, AIG, to think that taxes not only will but should be raised?

Sen. Obama should just be the honest guy he is supposed to be and say the dirty words: 'I will raise taxes on Everybody', people are ready, they know you can't get something for nothing in this world.

Posted by: DCDave | September 17, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

dbw, you're not nearly as slick as you think you are. Your hypotheticals and analogies are uniformly non sequiturs. I see you believe the basis for a progressive system of taxation is a value judgment as to an individual's income being "too much", making them "greedy". While you are entitled to your opinion, I'll strongly disagree.

"And I ask this as someone from a household which is well below any threshold on which Obama has proposed to raise taxes"
Whenever I read something like this, I can't help but imagine Rush, Sean and The Waltons sitting around laughing at you and thanking God for the selfishness of a large swath of the American people.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

DCDave, I'm curious, why do you not mention the necessity of Sen McCain's need to "say the dirty words"?

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

JFG, "basically" true? Is that the new GOP standard for honesty? Look, if you're going to cchime in here to hack for McCain, at least be honest about it.

Posted by: zukermand

I used the term "basically true" as a way of paraphrasing Dobbs rating. I don't think its deserves the "check mark," but one pinocchio is about as high as he could give on this one. According to the rating system one pinocchio is:

"Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods."

I'm focusing on "no outright faslehoods" which I interpet to mean "basically true." Nothing in the statement is factually incorrect but there's definitely a slant to it. Just my opinion.

Posted by: jfg | September 17, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I disagree. I think if you've got to insert multiple assumptions of presumed future actions get from the claim to its basis in fact, you've got a false claim.

The claim was "has voted in the Senate raising taxes on people that make as low as $42,000 a year."

The cited vote did not raise taxes. It had no effect on taxes. The claim is completely false. Why would you or Mr Dobbs work so hard to furnish the linkage between the charge and its foundation? That is the responsibility of the campaign making the charge and it should be part of it, not a background conversation here where relatively few see it.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

By the way, it was the Republicans who "voted to raise taxes" in 2011. The Dems voted against it.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting view of Palin that I haven't seen:
"Don't tell me about earmarks," snorts a borough official. "Because of Palin's ego, she couldn't stand the idea of sharing an emergency dispatch operation with Palmer, which has been Wasilla's town rival ever since her high school basketball days. So she ran to [Senator] Ted Stevens to get an earmark for her own system. Now we have two expensive emergency systems and both are losing money. She's no budget cutter -- give me a break. She's just the opposite."

Is this the kind of "leadership" we need?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

It is clear from reading the comments that most people read or hear what they want to believe. It is so clear to me that McCain and Palin are playing lose with the facts and that they don't have a good plan for the future. McCain plans to continue the huge drain on our economy that is the war in Iraq in addition to increasing tax cuts for the rich. Obama has consistently said he will cut taxes for the middle class, end the war as soon as possible, increase taxes on those that earn over $250,000, create jobs though new production of green energy, decrease our dependence on foreign oil and create a healthcare system that covers 95% of Americans. Now, I agree that this may not create a budget surplus in the short term but America and the world will be better off than they would be under McCain's plans which have been poorly articulated but seem to be about what W Bush has done for this country. Do you guys truly want another 4 or 8 years of Republican administration? What is wrong with you people? Can't you see the handwriting on the wall? McCain and Palin are going to finish the job Bush started of turning our wonderful country into a third world country (or a Chinese colony) before it is all over. Wake up America!! If you can't vote your heart, at least vote your pocket book.

Posted by: Sandra Haire | September 17, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse


My, my. You sure are breaking out the big vocabulary words today!

But, of course, you still haven't answered anything. You haven't shown how Obama-nomics will work where he can deliver on all his promises. You haven't disproved my undressing of Obama's plan. Frankly, you haven't done much other than hit the thesaurus pretty hard this morning :o).

Oh, and the one source you have used, the "taxpolicycenter"? Read their reports, and you'll find that they too deal with "hypotheticals and analogies". Does your dismissive comment toward my analysis then also apply to the very source you are using?

Whenever you are ready to talk numbers and not just spin yourself dizzy in big-word rhetoric, let us know.

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

dbw, you can't bait me.

Your "analysis"? Please. You're a joke.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Claiming that a vote on a non-binding resolution that in its assumptions includes the expiration of Bush's tax cut is one Pinocchio? The question at hand in the vote wasn't whether or not to extend the tax cuts, it was what to do in the event they are not extended. This is a complete distortion and deserves many more Pinocchio. The impartiality of your rating system, sir, is suspect once again; even if your research is good as usual.

Posted by: 1.5 Feet in the tank for McCain? | September 17, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"robs the oil companies of their profits?"

Check out Comrade Palin.

Her popularity in the People's Republic of Alaska rests on confiscatory taxes on the oil companies, the proceeds of which are distributed directly to Alaskan voters.

That is literally communism.

Why isn't she promising to do for America what she did for Alaska?

What a joke the Republicans are.

Posted by: mnjam | September 17, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse


I'm a joke? You have yet to add one substantive item to any argument or debate. I gave you the analysis yesterday, and you failed in disproving even one conclusion or assumption.

Once you find some intelligence to mix in with your posts, feel free to re-join the debate.

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse


You believe +4% spending increases are 'cuts'
You believe a tax rate going up from 15% to 20% is not an increase.

Can you offer any more credibility than what you've supplied above? Or just more insults when you know you are wrong and can no longer engage in intelligent discussion?

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Dan wrote: "He will still have to raise taxes on the middle class to provide all that he has promised."

Get real!! You're talking about actually balancing the budget? Reagan and Bush never came close to balancing the budget. They increased the debt by trillions. Bush started a trillion dollar war and CUT taxes. I bet you voted for him twice.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Here is part of it:
1. Obama will extend the tax cuts of Bush for 95% of Americans and let the cuts expire for those making above $250k a year.
2. He will continue to withdraw troops from Iraq, current levels require $10Bil a month committment. SOme will be redeployed to Afghanistan but the bill will signicantly be reduced.
3. Delay a couple of NASA missions just til we can afford it. The newest mission will cost us $100billion over next 12 years for a total of $8billion a year.
4. Taxing oil company windfall profits is included in the plan. Palin did this in Alaska already and raked in over $1k for each and every resident (children included) in one year. I say its profitable.
5. Review federal government departments and streamline (long term and will produce perhaps marginal results but will satisfy both auditing of government programs which is needed, and cutting government costs which is also needed).

I know I am missing some things but he did write a book about it, check it out or check out some of his speeches.

Posted by: ... | September 17, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

dbw, come on, admit it, you don't know what you're talking about, do you? Obviously, you're very opinionated and willfully misinformed, but you're not insane, are you? You must have a sense for just how little you understand this topic, why do you continue to embarrass yourself?

By the way, I am curious about something. You seem to have a particular fixation on tax policy. As far as I know, of the two candidates, only one has promised to balance the budget by the end of his first term, that's McCain. McCain is also the candidate whose tax plan is universally scored as increasing the deficit most, a trillion dollars over 10 years.
Why are you not obsessing over how McCain will keep his promises?

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"You believe +4% spending increases are 'cuts'"

You're trying to be cute. It doesn't work.

"You believe a tax rate going up from 15% to 20% is not an increase."

I do?

"Can you offer any more credibility than what you've supplied above? Or just more insults when you know you are wrong and can no longer engage in intelligent discussion?"

I will correct your misstatements whenever I see them. Defending Sen McCain's campaign is a daunting task. It's not my fault you choose to do it.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the US debt, I personally think the right thing to do at this point would be to raise taxes and cut spending. Neither candidate is pledging to that.

Posted by: jfg | September 17, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

As much as I appreciate Mr Dobbs intent, I must say this column is weak. Too unfocused, too much of his "voice". Please, pick a specific false claim, disprove it and shut up. What's with all the chit-chat and divination of intent and strategy? Is it supposed to provide context? It doesn't, it just muddies the water.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Dobbs "mission statement":
"Our goal is to shed as much light as possible on controversial claims and counter-claims involving important national issues, such as the war in Iraq, immigration, health care, social issues, the economy, and the records of the various presidential candidates"

Perhaps, one day, Mr Dobbs will explain the significance of Sen Clinton's Tuzla/sniper threat story that it merited a week long series of "Fact Checker" columns. Perhaps he feared she was misleading us on her policy plans for increased use of jetway ramps at our airports? Maybe he was concerned we would overestimate her evasive running ability?

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I think someone needs to take notice--the Obama campaign especially--that Phil Gramm was the architect of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 and how that directly relates to the financial problems of AIG. Lehman Bros. etc.
Phil Gramm is McCain's economic advisor.
Obama--take this ball and run with it for God sakes!

Posted by: PBB | September 17, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

CNN did a 5-minute clip that highlighted the lies of McCain/Palin. Check it out, along with a proposed new line of attack for the Obama campaign to take, at:

Posted by: scootmandubious | September 17, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

If Obama succeeds at getting our troops out of Iraq, he frees up about $120 billion a year.

If he succeeds in creating 5 million jobs, the tax base grows by 25 to 50 billion a year, depending on how well paid the new jobs prove to be.

If Obama can make the changes he wants to reduce the outsourcing of American jobs, as many as a million jobs will come back to the US, yielding another $5-10 billion a year in tax revenue.

That's as much as $200 billion a year that can be used to reduce deficits or make new programs happen.

Obama can do arithmetic. He can handle a budget.

Posted by: Ken in Dallas | September 17, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse


Bill Clinton supported and signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999. You sure that's a ball you want Obama to run with?

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Well folks, it really doesnt matter now; our economy is in the tank, propped up by a system that allows us to print money out of the air and push it out our shoots (butts). Lets all dig deep and stop pretending that we are not on the hook for the bailouts, Iraq, Haliburton, and who knows what else. If the folks that made all that money dung this administration, the top 5%, have to pay more taxes, big deal. Nothing has trickled down to Michigan and Ohio anyway. Jobs, homes, and families are gone and stressed. If you Nuts vote them in for another 4 years then you deserve to be totally screwed, especially my fellow Christian (hypocritical)Right Brethren. Politics is something you need to leave to the politicians; just vote and go on. Ceasar (the world) does not give a flying fart about you, only your vote. Bunch of suckers...

Posted by: walterrock | September 17, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ken in Dallas:
"IF Obama succeeds at getting our troops out of Iraq..."

"IF he succeeds in creating 5 million jobs..."

"IF Obama can make the changes he wants to reduce the outsourcing of American jobs, as many as a million jobs will come back to the US."

What do you think, 'zukermand'? Sounds to me like Obama has Ken in Dallas using a lot of "hypotheticals", don't you think?

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

No, dbw, zuckermand does not "think".

Posted by: JakeD | September 17, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse


Why are you still here? It's clear you've been exposed, you don't understand nearly as much as you portray, and you can't even grasp the most basic of economic principles. You haven't been able to provide even one successful argument against any point I've made.

If you think my analysis and rationale is so weak, then why is it so difficult for you to come up with any answers? You've had no answer to my disputes with Obama's economic policies, and you have been left with no response to the points I've made based on facts and reality.

If you want to contribute a semi-intelligent thought somewhere along the way, by all means do so.

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

dbw, perhaps I can help with your confusion, Bill Clinton is not Sen Obama's economic advisor, or even a member of his campaign, and I am not "Ken in Dallas".

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

dbw, as for "answering" your "disputes with Obama's economic policies", you have none. You fantasize. I can't be bothered with "disputing" your fantasies. Cite something authoritative, I'll respond.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a tax and spend and then spend some more liberal.

HE WANTS HIGH TAXES to pay for HAND OUTS of those that DO NOT want to work and expect the ones that do to give them their money.

NO! 100 times NO!

Posted by: NO! | September 17, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama does say he is going to get it from the oil companies.

He is talking about taking away their big tax breaks, the ones HE VOTED FOR and McCain voted against!
What a fraud!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, let's do that.

Let's turn over the most influential and strongest country in the world to a man we know nothing about, has accomplished nothing, has a shady background at best and stands on platforms citing stolen words from Kodak Cameras.

Yes, that is Change we can believe in.

Posted by: BELIEVE WHAT? | September 17, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Every day I tell myself the Post will be fairer in reporting the Campaign. Everyday the Post fails me again. Just to open the front section gives me a feeling of sadness that the Post has sunk to such depths. No wonder most people don't read the paper--I'm canceling my 25 year subscription. I don't need to be given a downer at the breakfast table.

Posted by: direse | September 17, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Another confused, meandering 'truthiness squadding' by the inimitable Mr. Dobbs.

It never ceases to amaze me how you can put some obvious effort into your research, only to undermine it as you approach the finish line, usually by way of an irrational burst of "a pox on both their houses! they are both wrong about... something... therefore they are both EQUALLY WRONG!!1!! Pinocchios for everyone... or, er, no one... or -- I know! -- RANDOM PINOCCHIOS!"

In this post, it's leaping from the question of whether McCaint is misleading about Obama's intentions re taxes on the middle class, to a rant about how neither candidate can say how he'll accomplish his goals whilst simultaneously balancing the budget. Huh?! What has that got to do with the price of tea in China?

It often seems that you let your general annoyance with every politician's BS derail you from your original stated goal. Ultimately, the reader is left scratching his head, puzzling at another Pinocchio score reminiscent of the points scoring on the old, "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" show, and feeling the ratchet click another nauseating notch closer to a dyspeptic hatred of our entire political process, generically.

If you're not going to add any clarity, then why bother?

Posted by: psyberian | September 17, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse


Is there a 'fact', or something worth reading you would like to toss in at some point?

I merely asked you (or anyone) earlier today to defend why you think Obama's economic plan will work, and cited specific reasons why I think it won't. Yet that proved to be too much to wrap your mind around, and you had to resort to insults....the preferred arena of the intellectually challenged.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting for your first post that will add something positive to the discussion. Should we hold our breath?

Posted by: dbw | September 17, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

BELIEVE WHAT?, you are a person "we know nothing about". Sen Obama is not.

Posted by: zukermand | September 17, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama’s plan is going to work due to the fact that Obama graduated at the top of his class while MaCain graduated at the bottom. Obama has bright advisors while MaCain is surrounded by rich republicans who care less for the rest of us. A MaCain win will create an economical catastrophe for our nation. God help us if that happens.

Posted by: BAROLLI | September 17, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a Socialist!! Beyond the smoke, he
wants to upper midder class ($250K, including small business owners) and give
to the have-nots. 95 percent(??) of which
40 percent don't pay any taxes; therefore,
it is a gift!! He is very similar to Jimmy
(Peanut) Carter--remember the long gas lines and 14 percent mortgage interest rates. Wake up American and look beyond
the smoke!!

Posted by: Mel | September 17, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama says he is going to push for tax cuts for 95% of the tax payers. Only 40% of income earners pay income tax, therefore what he is really saying is that welfare checks will going out to many who are not paying any income tax. Why doesn't he tell the truth and why is the news media carrying water for him?

Posted by: Ya_But | September 17, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

both candidates lie, why? because the average American voter doesn't want to hear the truth. sooner or later we're going to have to pay the bill. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing that China has bought up some more of the United States. Its time we started spending American money on Americans and America. I have not figured out why you're a conservative if you want to spend hundreds of billions of American dollars on forigners and your a liberal if you want to spend hundreds of billions of American dollars on Americans. Neither candidate is going to balance the budget. It will be up to the American people to grow up and demand it be balanced, which won't happen. We'll leave the debt for our kids or grandkids. So have fun thinking of the nursing home they're going to put you in when they realize the mess you've made. Another thing to ponder: why do people who believe that "freedom isn't free" always b*tch about taxes?

Posted by: oldguy1 | September 17, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

McCain is grasping at straws. If you think the Nightmare on Wall Street is bad, just wait until McCain/Palin get elected. It will be four more years of the same old, same old. This countries only hope is Obama. Period.

Posted by: | September 17, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Essentially Obama's plan is just another redistribution of wealth scheme, which is what all "liberals" have to offer. The FactChecker states that taxes would go up on single people who make more than $42,000, if Obama allows the Bush tax cuts to expire. Many single people work two jobs and go over that $42,000 figure, because they want to work, save, and make the right decisions about their future. It is the same "liberal" tax plan of the last 40 years....taking money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don't. Don't believe me???? A poll today shows 49% of the American people believe that Obama will raise their taxes. The Obama supporters have no knowledge of basic economics or how the free enterprise system works. Instead they come up with new government programs or ideas that are nothing more than "rehashed" ideas from the Great Society. Redistribution of wealth is the same as it has always been...."Socialism".

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Vote for Obama and you will have DESTROYED Hilary's chance at becoming President!!

Consider this:
If you elect Obama for 2008 , Hillary CAN'T RUN IN 2012!! The incumbent always runs for their party in reelection.

Hillary will then be 69 when she gets a chance to run as democrat. Then people will call her old(like they do McCain who is 72) and she will NEVER become President.

Reagan was 69 when he got elected but he wasn't trying to break the glass ceiling at the same time.

So if you care at all about Hillary, you will VOTE AGAINST Obama this time around. Plus, you will break the glass ceiling and Hillary WILL BE THERE in 2012!!

Think about it!! It makes sense!!

If you support Hillary, YOU MUST VOTE AGAINST OBAMA!!!

Posted by: Eric | September 17, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Top Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008


1. Dodd, Christopher J

2. Kerry, John

3. Obama, Barack

Posted by: JS | September 18, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

How can Obama cut taxes for 95% of Americans when 40% of Americans already don't pay taxes? He's not talking about tax cuts. He's talking about direct payments to his supporters--the poor, illiterate and uneducated Americans who can't add.

Besides, if he increases taxes on oil companies and other evil corporations, that's an effective tax increase on anyone who buys gas, heats a home, etc. So your fact checker is just a political statement, not a true "fact" checker.

Posted by: Nobama | September 18, 2008 1:34 AM | Report abuse

why would anyone bother with a fact checker when 90% of the comments at the bottom are lies?

and yes, i did just make up that figure

but you can take my word for it

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

what nonsense. A complete lie and only one pinnochio, should be 10 given that they are repeating the lie so often.

Posted by: Wolf | September 18, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

This is a joke. The lie that Obama will raise taxes on working and middle class Americans forms the basis of the repugnicon campaign. It deserves 5 pinocchios.

Posted by: KRXAhal | September 18, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Where are the articles stating that Donald Trump endorsed John McCain?
If it had been Obama, it would be front page news everywhere. Trump also talks about the blunder that Obama made by not selecting Hillary Clinton.

And some think inexperienced Obama, with even less judgement,can lead the strongest nation in the world? GET REAL! The DNC was on another planet during the Primary.

Posted by: NO to Obama | September 18, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Economic Policy...

Tax them! They have a job!

Posted by: NO! | September 18, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

The United States federal income tax scale has always been graduated or progressive. The higher your income, the higher the percent of your income you pay. This is based upon the "ability-to-pay" principle. [This is explained in any Economics textbook]. The Bush tax cuts have increased income inequality in this country. This is from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (check out their website) "The President’s tax policies, however, have widened the differences in take-home pay between high- and low- and middle-income households, according to Tax Policy Center estimates. When the tax cuts are fully in effect, households with incomes above $1 million will receive tax cuts equivalent to an increase of 7.5 percent in their after-tax income. Households in the middle of the income spectrum will receive tax cuts equal to only 2.3 percent of their income. And households in the bottom quintile will gain by less than one percent.

Put another way, households with incomes over $1 million will hold a larger fraction of total U.S. after-tax income than they would have received without the tax cuts, while households in the middle and bottom quintiles will hold a smaller share. The tax cuts thus have widened, rather than narrowed, income gaps, making them regressive." ( The Bush tax cuts has, in effect, made the rich richer and middle incomes poorer.

Posted by: Economics Teacher | September 19, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The Bush tax cuts to "big business" gave an increase to taxes collected because the companies put more people to work. Thus reducing unemployment. Mr Oboma's financial advisers worked for and run into the groud the large finacial institutions that just filed for bankruptcy. If he is getting his advice from these people, he will most likely even further bankrupt the country while filling their pockets with more money from lobbyist.

Posted by: leh | September 20, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree heartily with Joe Biden that paying taxes is patriotic - as long as we trust the administration that spends those dollars! Apparently McCain thinks the wealthy are exempt from such patriotic duties, since he would uphold the Bush tax cuts - and yet he'd let middle class Americans foot the bill for Iraq, while cutting domestic programs here. Then he picks a running mate from the state that receives among the most per capita dollars in earmarks! Guess he'd like to suck the dollars out of the American middle class to send to Iraq and Alaska. No thanks.

Posted by: EricaJC | September 21, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

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