Republican Email on Obama Tax Plan

One of my right-wing friends sent an email to me that lies about Senator Barack Obama’s stance on taxes. This would be interesting if one piece of this email were correct. Nothing that is written about Obama in this excerpt is even close to being correct.

Here’s the email:

Another reason to keep a socialist out of the White House. In fact, below is a reason to throw the entire Congress out on the street. Very few of them can be trusted.

DATA ON FUTURE TAXES (Spread the word…)

This is something you should be aware of so you don’t get blind-sided. This is really going to catch a lot of families off guard. It should make you worry.

Proposed changes in taxes after 2008 General election:

CAPITAL GAINS TAX
MCCAIN
0% on home sales up to $500,000 per home (couples) McCain does not propose any change in existing home sales income tax.

OBAMA
28% on profit from ALL home sales

How does this affect you?
If you sell your home and make a profit, you will pay 28% of your gain on taxes.

If you are heading toward retirement and would like to down-size your home or move into a retirement community, 28% of the money you make from your home will go to taxes. This proposal will adversely affect the elderly who are counting on the income from their homes as part of their retirement income.

From FactCheck.org:

Capital Gains Rate: It’s untrue that Obama is proposing a 28 percent capital gains tax rate. He said in an interview on CNBC that he favors raising the top rate on capital gains from its present 15 percent to 20 percent or more, but no higher than 28 percent. And as for a 28 percent rate, he added, “my guess would be it would be significantly lower than that.” Furthermore, he has said only couples making $250,000 or more (or, his policy advisers tell us, singles making more than $200,000) would pay the higher capital gains rate. That means the large majority of persons who pay capital gains taxes would see no increase at all.

DIVIDEND TAX
McCAIN 15% (no change)

OBAMA 39.6%

How will this affect you?

If you have any money invested in stock market, IRA, mutual funds, college funds, life insurance, retirement accounts, or anything that pays or reinvests dividends, you will now be paying nearly 40% of the money earned on taxes if Obama becomes president.

The experts predict that higher tax rates on dividends and capital gains would crash the stock market yet do absolutely nothing to cut the deficit.

Since FactCheck.org was good enough to do all of this research, I’ll try and be smart enough to use it.

Tax on Dividends: Another false claim is that Obama proposes to raise the tax rate on dividends to 39.6 percent. Dividends currently are taxed at a top rate of 15 percent, and Obama would raise that to the same rate as he would tax capital gains, somewhere between 20 percent and 28 percent but likely “significantly” lower than 28 percent. This higher tax also would fall only on couples making $250,000 or more or singles making more than $200,000.

INCOME TAX
McCAIN (no changes)
Single making 30K – tax $4,500
Single making 50K – tax $12,500
Single making 75K – tax $18,750
Married making 60K – tax $9,000
Married making 75K – tax $18,750
Married making 125K – tax $31,250

OBAMA
(reversion to pre-Bush tax cuts)
Single making 30K – tax $8,400
Single making 50K – tax $14,000
Single making 75K – tax $23,250
Married making 60K – tax $16,800
Married making 75K – tax $21,000
Married making 125K – tax $38,750

Under Obama your taxes will more than double! How does this affect you? No explanation needed. This is pretty straight forward.

I particularly like this one. No explanation needed. That’s a joke. How about a sliver of truth?

From FactCheck:

Doubled Taxes? The claim that “Under Obama your taxes will more than double!” is also false. The comparative rate tables this e-mail provides for McCain and Obama are entirely wrong, as we explained in an earlier article March 13 about another false e-mail from which these tables are copied. It is supposedly a comparison of tax rates before and after the Bush tax cuts, but it grossly overstates the effect of the Bush cuts. Furthermore, Obama proposes to retain the Bush cuts for every single income level shown in this bogus table.

INHERITANCE TAX
McCAIN 0% (No change, Bush repealed this tax)

OBAMA Restore the inheritance tax

How does this affect you? Many families have lost businesses, farms and ranches, and homes that have been in their families for generations because they could not afford the inheritance tax. Those willing their assets to loved ones will not only lose them to these taxes.

Estate Tax. The claim that Obama proposes to “restore the inheritance tax” is also false, as are the claims that McCain would impose zero tax and that Bush “repealed” it. McCain and Obama both would retain a reduced version of the estate tax, as it is correctly called, though McCain would reduce it by more.

The tax now falls only on estates valued at more than $2 million (effectively $4 million for couples able to set up the required legal and financial arrangements). It reaches a maximum rate of 45 percent on amounts more than that. It was not repealed, but it is set to expire temporarily in 2010, then return in 2011, when it would apply to estates valued at more than $1 million ($2 million for couples), with the maximum rate rising to 55 percent.

Obama has proposed to apply the tax only to estates valued at more than $3.5 million ($7 million for couples), holding the maximum rate at 45 percent. McCain would apply it to estates worth more than $5 million ($10 million for couples), with a maximum rate of 15 percent.

NEW TAXES BEING PROPOSED BY OBAMA

* New government taxes proposed on homes that are more than 2400 square feet

* New gasoline taxes (as if gas weren’t high enough already)

* New taxes on natural resources consumption (heating gas, water, electricity)

* New taxes on retirement accounts and last but not least….

* New taxes to pay for socialized medicine so we can receive the same level of medical care as other third-world countries!!!

I would like to Thank FactCheck.org for doing this research and helping to set the record straight on the“New Tax” Falsehoods:

The e-mail that I received continues with a string of made-up taxes that it falsely claims Obama has proposed. He has not proposed a tax on new homes with more than 2,400 square feet, or a new gasoline tax, or a tax on retirement accounts. The most laughably false claim is that Obama would tax “water.”

Two claims in this message, while not completely false, are still grossly misleading.

The claim that Obama would impose “new taxes on natural resources” may refer to his support for a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions, which indeed would impose large costs on industries burning coal, gas, or oil, and, indirectly, on their consumers. But McCain also supports cap-and-trade legislation, and even coauthored an early version of a bill that reached the Senate floor this year. Obama’s plan would give the federal government more of the revenue from auctioning pollution permits than McCain’s plan. Whether cap-and-trade amounts to a “tax” is a matter of interpretation. The fact is neither McCain nor Obama call it that.

There is also some truth to the claim that Obama would impose “new taxes” to finance his health care plan, depending on your interpretation of “new.” He has said he would pay for much of his plan “by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for people making more than $250,000 per year, as they are scheduled to do.” That would certainly be a tax increase for those high-income persons, compared with what they are paying now. But whether that’s imposing a new tax, or just letting an old one come back, depends on your point of view. It may well be that Obama will eventually propose tax increases to finance some of his plan. We’ve noted before that the “cost savings” that he says will finance much of his plan are inflated and probably won’t materialize, according to independent experts we consulted. But it’s wrong to say that he’s proposing such taxes now.

The short answer to our reader’s question is, no, this message isn’t real. It’s a pack of lies.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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