Fox Debunks McCain’s Lies on Obama’s Tax Plans Once Again

It seemed like a miracle when it happened a few weeks ago. Fox News revealed that the McCain campaign was stating false information about Obama’s tax proposals in their attacks. Believe it or not, they have done this again in a recent article I missed while on vacation. Major Garrett believes that John McCain has a problem on taxes–especially as he has been repeatedly exposed for lying about Obama’s policies:

Add to this the mounting evidence that McCain’s TV commercials assailing Obama’s tax policy contain serious distortions, if not out-right lies.

On Aug. 8, FactCheck.org, published this report on a spate of new McCain TV spots on Obama and taxes.

Read it here: www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/more_tax_deceptions.html

That report followed one in July that raised similar concerns about the truthfulness of the McCain attacks on Obama. Read it here: www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/the_32000_question.html

And today The Washington Post published this blistering editorial that comes as close as any Beltway publication can to using the word “lie” to describe McCain’s criticism of Obama’s tax policies. Read it here:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/30/AR2008083001681.html

The Post editorial specifically mentions a side-by-side analysis of McCain and Obama tax policies by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Here is the link to the center’s updated comparison posted on Aug. 28: www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=411750

Both McCain and Obama would cuts taxes, but Obama’s tax cuts would be targeted to the middle class and partially offset by higher taxes on the wealthy (those earning more than $250,000).

But on the stump this weekend, when either Obama or Biden (they both hit the issue) said they would cut taxes for “95 percent of those who earn a pay check,” the crowds in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan shouted their approval.

The tax debate has just begun and McCain is losing credibility among the non-partisan bean counters and the larger media organizations that have done their own compare and contrast exercises.

With more than two months to go, the Obama camp will have plenty of time to script TV ads accusing McCain of distortions. For all these reasons, McCain may have more to worry about on the tax front than any Republican presidential candidate in a generation.

When even Fox News is calling the Republican candidate a liar the party really has a problem.

Troopergate Report To Be Moved Up as Palin Stonewalls Investigation

ABC News reports that the report on the Troopergate scandal is being moved up:

ABC News has exclusively learned that Alaska Senator Hollis French will announce today that he is moving up the release date of his investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her office to get the Alaska public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, fired. The results of the investigation were originally scheduled for release Oct. 31 but will now come almost three weeks earlier, according to sources.

The Anchorage Daily News complains that Palin is stonewalling the investigation.

Gov. Sarah Palin is taking the wrong approach to Troopergate. She should be practicing the open and transparent, ethical and accountable government she promised when running for governor and boasts about now that she’s on the national stage.

Instead, Gov. Palin has begun stonewalling the Legislature’s attempt to get the bottom of allegations that she, her family or staff violated ethical or state personnel rules.

As a result, the Troopergate allegations hang over Palin’s future and cloud her candidacy for vice president.

Palin is increasingly looking like little more than Spiro T. Agnew without the alliteration–a corrupt governor placed on a ticket to be the attack dog and please the far right who is unfit to be vice president.

McCain’s Reasons For Enjoying Palin Don’t Hold Up

I did the fact checking of substance on a recent ad and McCain’s acceptance speech here and here. There is also an additional error which is receiving coverage today. While trivial it does add one more example of how there is little connection between anything John McCain says these days and the truth.

During her acceptance speech Palin said, “While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.” Palin was careful in her wording making this statement technically true. She did put the jet up for sale on eBay, but did not succeed in selling it. Instead she sold it thorugh an aircraft broker, at a $600,000 loss.

While Palin’s statement was technically true, those who listened might get the false impression that she actually sold the jet on eBay. One of those who apparently came to this conclusion was John McCain. Ben Smith reports that John McCain got the facts wrong when he introduced Palin saying, “You know what i enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay — made a profit.”

Considering how little rational reason there is for choosing Palin (beyond shoring up his support among Republicans on the far right), it is sad that what he “enjoyed the most” is based upon two incorrect facts as she neither sold it on eBay or made a profit.

Fact Checking John McCain’s Acceptance Speech

John McCain sounded more moderate in his acceptance speech than many of the speakers before him, but he was just as dishonest. Factcheck summarized some of his untrue statements:

  • McCain claimed that Obama’s health care plan would “force small businesses to cut jobs” and would put “a bureaucrat … between you and your doctor.” In fact, the plan exempts small businesses, and those who have insurance now could keep the coverage they have.
  • McCain attacked Obama for voting for “corporate welfare” for oil companies. In fact, the bill Obama voted for raised taxes on oil companies by $300 million over 11 years while providing $5.8 billion in subsidies for renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels.
  • McCain said oil imports send “$700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much.” But the U.S. is on track to import a total of only $536 billion worth of oil at current prices, and close to a third of that comes from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
  • He promised to increase use of “wind, tide [and] solar” energy, though his actual energy plan contains no new money for renewable energy. He has said elsewhere that renewable sources won’t produce as much as people think.
  • He called for “reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs,” but as in the past failed to cite a single program that he would eliminate or reduce.
  • He said Obama would “close” markets to trade. In fact, Obama, though he once said he wanted to “renegotiate” the North American Free Trade Agreement, now says he simply wants to try to strengthen environmental and labor provisions in it.

Further details are in the body of their post. Among the more dishonest portions of McCain’s speech was the mischaracterization of Obama’s health care plan. In their analysis, Factcheck writes:

McCain mischaracterized Obama’s health care plan:

McCain: His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.
mccain at conventionThe claim that “small businesses” would have to “cut jobs, reduce wages,” runs counter to Obama’s actual proposal. Obama’s plan would require businesses to contribute to the cost of insurance for employees or pay some unspecified amount into a new public plan. But his proposal specifically says, “Small businesses will be exempt from this requirement.” And it offers additional help to small businesses that want to provide health care in the form of a refundable tax credit of up to half the cost of premiums. We’ll note that neither man has defined what exactly a “small business” is.

Furthermore, Obama’s plan wouldn’t “force” families into a “government-run health care system.” His plan mandates that children have coverage; there’s no mandate for adults. People can keep the health insurance they have now or chose from private plans, or opt for a new public plan that will offer coverage similar to what members of Congress have. Obama would also expand Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. His plan certainly expands government-offered insurance – and McCain’s doesn’t – but it’s not a solely government-run plan, as McCain implied. And if Obama’s public plan turns out to be similar to what federal employees have, as he says it would be, we’re not sure how “a bureaucrat” would stand “between you and your doctor.” The possible exception would be persons covered by Medicaid or SCHIP.

McCain also made this boast:

McCain: My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance.
Fair enough. But McCain’s plan wouldn’t do nearly as well as Obama’s. One comparison, by the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, finds Obama’s would reduce the uninsured by 18 million people in its first year, compared with a 1 million reduction under McCain’s plan. TPC made various assumptions about the plans to fill in details each proposal lacks, so those numbers aren’t definitive. We await more comparisons from other experts.

There has also been fact checking of McCain around the blogosophere. Jonahtan Cohn found several errors including on health care:

McCain did talk about his health care plan–something, as best as I can recall, no other prime time speaker did. But his suggestion that it would “make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance” is just plain wrong. As numerous experts have noted, its primary effect will be to move people out of employer-sponsored insurance and into the individual market, where the benefits are less comprehensive and insurers refuse coverage to anybody with pre-exsiting medical conditions.

Ezra Klein shows more errors in McCain’s statement on health care and makes an interesting challenge for McCain:

Last night, in his speech, John McCain said, “My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.”

I should say, of course, that not only isn’t this true, but it’s nonsensical. Where exactly is the bureaucrat supposed to stand? In the waiting room? Outside your car? Obama’s health care plan is basically a way to subsidize private insurance. There’s a regulator involved, but he has nothing to do with you or your doctor. Instead, he stands behind your insurer, tapping his foot, and warning against denying you coverage on grounds of ill health or bad luck.

That said, here’s the question I’d love to see John McCain asked: “Senator McCain, can you describe how Senator Obama’s health care plan works?” And if he gets it wrong, I’d like to see the moderator correct him and ask what he thinks of the actual plan.

McCain certainly talks Obama’s plan down plenty, and fair enough. But I’d bet good money, and a fair amount of it, that there’s no way he could describe it. And I wouldn’t mind seeing the same question put to Obama. The two of them should be forced to display some rudimentary understanding of what this debate is actually about, and if either can’t, that should say a lot about the salvos that have been unleashed thus far.

The same challenge could be made regarding all of Obama’s programs which McCain has repeatedly lied about during this campaign.

ABC News Video on Palin’s Troopergate Scandal

In addition to the two controversies mentioned in the previous post, there is also more talk about the troopergate scandal, with many blogs linking to the ABC News report in the video above. The problem of abuse of powers is discussed in the report.

Palin Controversies Remain In The News

I suspect that we will be hearing a lot less about Sarah Palin now that the conventions are over, but the controversies surrounding her are continuing to receive attention due to both a news story and a blog post.

The more substantial of the two is a story in The Anchorage Daily News verifying that Palin did pressure the Wasilla librarian in an attempt to censor books (as previously noted here).

Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so.

According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go.

As this happened twelve years ago, details of what happened are unclear and it is not certain if Palin did actually wind up censoring any books after the librarian resisted attempts at such censorship. Palin’s desire to do so, and threats to fire the librarian for refusing to go along, does appear to be well established. Palin’s extremist views potentially make her more dangerous than Dick Cheney, but at least she is not likely to have much power should she become vice president (assuming McCain remains healthy).

The less consequential story being discussed in the blogosphere is in follow up of a claim by The National Enquirer that Palin had an affair with her husband’s business associate. Today Andrew Sullivan posted a blog entry stating “Todd Palin’s former business partner files an emergency motion to have his divorce papers sealed.”

There are many reasons why this might have been requested and, while the timing might be suspicious, this could be coincidence. If there is any truth to this claim of an affair we might find out more as Discourse.net did find that the motion has been denied. There are far more serious questions about Palin than this, but there is no doubt that this will become the top media story on her should any evidence be found that The Enquirer is right on this one.