Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday morning quick hits - on McCain

McCain fantasy number one
First he said he would eliminate a hundred billion in earmarks. When it was pointed out that earmarks only total a fraction of that amount of money (less than $17 billion in 2008) he said he would eliminate it from the overall budget. He says he will balance the budget by the end of his first term, while simultaneously extending aWol's tax cuts, implementing billions of dollars of new tax cuts, and occupying Iraq for a hundred years. We are not the only ones calling bullshit. The link goes to the WaPo factchecker, a professional bullshit debunker. Give it a read. Even the pros get snarky sometimes, and this is one of 'em. By the way - there is one way, and one way only, to eliminate a hundred billion in spending: Stop occupying Iraq. That would achieve his desired end, but that is the only way I see to do it, and he isn't about to consider that.

Why can't Johnny count?
Is he just mathematically illiterate? His inability to grasp numbers isn't limited to the budget - and it spreads to the rnc in general. Both McCain's Rovian minions and the national organization are claiming that Obama has voted to increase taxes 94 times. This time when we call bullshit, we use as our source

After looking at every one of the 94 votes that the RNC includes in its tally, we find:
  • Twenty-three were for measures that would have produced no tax increase at all; they were against proposed tax cuts.
  • Seven of the votes were in favor of measures that would have lowered taxes for many, while raising them on a relative few, either corporations or affluent individuals.
  • Eleven votes the GOP is counting would have increased taxes on those making more than $1 million a year – in order to fund programs such as Head Start and school nutrition programs, or veterans’ health care.
  • The GOP sometimes counted two, three and even four votes on the same measure. We found their tally included a total of 17 votes on seven measures, effectively padding their total by 10.

The majority of the 94 votes – 53 of them, including some mentioned above – were on budget measures, not tax bills, and would not have resulted in any tax change. Four other votes were non-binding motions related to conference report negotiations.
It's true that most of the votes the GOP counts would either have increased taxes for some, or set budget targets calling for such increases. But by repeating their inflated 94-vote figure, the McCain campaign and the GOP falsely imply that Obama has pushed indiscriminately to raise taxes for nearly everybody. A closer look reveals that he's voted consistently to restore higher tax rates on upper-income taxpayers but not on middle- or low-income workers. That's consistent with what he's said he'd do as president, which is to raise taxes only on those making more than $250,000 a year.
Can you believe that the rnc has the audacity to accuse Obama of "flip flopping"??? Oh, the irony...the essential Steve Benen has emerged as the official chronicler of McCain's flip flops.

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