FactCheck.org says McCain and his allies are being unfair when they say Obama supports raising taxes on those who make as little as $32,000. They’re referring to Obama’s vote for a budget resolution that would have raised taxes on those in the 25 percent tax bracket. (It was part of repealing the Bush tax cuts.)
The FactCheck statement contends that the standard deduction and personal exemptions would leave an individual who made $32,000 in a year with significantly less than that in taxable income, taking them out of the the 25 percent bracket. “So to have a taxable income high enough to reach the 25 percent bracket, an individual would need to earn at least $41,500 in total income,” probably isn’t as helpful as Team Obama would like; $41,500 doesn’t really fit many people’s definitions of rich.
And Doug Holtz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to the McCain campaign, has a point when he responds:
FactCheck.org concluded, Barack Obama’s vote on the FY 2009 resolution “bears no relation to [his] proposed economic plan.” That point goes to the heart of the problem with Barack Obama. His words on the campaign trail do not match the actions he has taken. He tells the American people one thing but has a record that is quite different.
The Obama campaign has also sought to downplay the importance of the vote. His chief economic adviser said that this was just “some Senate vote.” If the vote truly had no meaning, why didn’t he vote against it? It would have been a principled vote that rejected the notion that we should tax individuals earning as little as $32,000 a year.
Really, the 25 percent tax bracket starts this year at $32,550 and goes up to $78,850 (before the standard deductions). A married couple filing jointly, it starts at $65,100 – i.e., a couple where each spouse makes $32,550. Is the problem in this country really that those at this income level are undertaxed?
Obama has never laid out what the tax rates would be for each bracket under his tax plan, instead pledging he would never raise taxes on those making less than $250,000.
Fact check offers an adamant statement from Obama from June 12: “If you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, my plan will not raise your taxes. Period. Not income tax, not payroll tax, not capital gains tax, not any of your taxes. And chances are you will get a tax cut.”
He sounds pretty certain. About as certain as his spokesman Bill Burton sounded on October 24, 2007, when he said, “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”