Politics & Policy

Liar, Liar: Fact Check for Latest Bennet Ads on Buck’s Tax Stance

Sen. Michael Bennet has released a pair of new attack ads that focus on statements made by Ken Buck concerning a national sales tax, corporate taxation, and taxes on individuals:

Now for a Battle ‘10 “Fact Check.”

The first ad focuses on an interview with Buck in December 2009, where Buck is asked about taxes and finds the current system “a disaster,” arguing that a national sales tax, fair tax, or a flat tax “is a better idea”:

“Simplify the tax code that we have now, or drastically change it,” says Buck. But the Republican does not claim to have all the answers, or consider the idea of a national sales tax as the final word. Buck compares a comment like “I’ve got the only right answer to this” to having his “feet stuck in concrete.”

“I am flexible on this question,” concludes Buck.

In the second ad, Bennet also uses footage taken out of context in an interview of Buck on “Your Show” on 9NEWS in May 2009 (skip to 2:00), when he is asked by a viewer, “Could you share your insights as to how we are going to repay this debt and will it affect the future of these United States?”

“I think it will affect the future of the United States. I think that’s what the 2010 election is going to be, it’s going to be a referendum on big government–can we sustain the kind of debt that we are placing on our children and grandchildren? And I think we’re going to have to do that through some very unpalatable means. We’re going to have to perhaps raise taxes. We’re going to have to look at inflation eating away at the value of our assets. We’re going to have to look at our place in the world order in a different way. All things that are not good things and things we can’t allow to continue. So I think we have to reduce that debt. I think we have to reduce government spending.” [emphasis added]

Buck is not discussing ways to offset a corporate tax reduction by raising taxes on individuals as the ad attempts to argue. The “unpalatable means” of raising taxes to pay off the debt is what Buck is directly addressing.

As for that reduction in taxes on corporations, Bennet also uses Buck’s statements out of context. At the South Denver Candidate Search on March 6 of this year, Buck was asked about voting for various tax cuts–income taxes, capital gains, estate, business, and alternative minimum (AMT) (33:00):

“The estate tax would be gone […] I think we have to reduce personal taxes and get our economy back on track. People have more money in their pockets, they’re gonna spend more money, spend more money on goods, stimulate the economy. I think we need to reduce corporate taxes and, as I said, along with reducing corporate regulations, bring manufacturing jobs back to this country. I think we have to reduce capital gains taxes […]” [emphasis added]

The point here, again, is that Buck is arguing for a reduction in both corporate and personal income taxes as a way to stimulate the economy. Buck rejected the notion of more government stimulus earlier in the video clip.

Buck’s campaign spokesman, Owen Loftus, told Battle ‘10, “This is another desperate smear by Michael Bennet and his desperate campaign. Polls show Bennet falling behind, so he has resorted to lying to the people of Colorado. Bennet isn’t running ads about his record on taxes, because he voted in favor of higher taxes 24 times.”

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