Monday, September 26, 2011

Handy Thing This Internet

The internet is great isn't it? I thoroughly enjoy all the fact-checking that's going on these days. One makes a claim and here come all the evidence that proves the assertion wrong. This is the case with a recent Charles Krauthammer column -- he uses several of the tired Repub talking points that have been refuted -- even by Republicans!

Here's the Krauthammer column:

He claims that Obama will raise taxes on 50% of small businesses -- well not exactly! Media Matters references a WaPo column from 2010 wherein Bush economist Alan Vaird refutes the claim as follows:

Alan Viard, an economist in the Bush White House who is now at the American Enterprise Institute, agreed that many firms represented in the top tax brackets are hardly small. Economically, that doesn't matter, he said: Obama would still be raising taxes on a significant source of jobs and economic activity.

Politically, however, it's a very different matter to raise taxes on a Wall Street hedge fund than it is to tax your neighborhood dry cleaner. Which is why Republicans continually define pass-through entities of all sizes as small businesses, a position Viard called a "fallacy."

"How can it be that 3 percent of owners are accounting for 50 percent of small business income? Those firms they're owning can't be all that small," Viard said. "And that's true. They're very large." [The Washington Post, 9/17/10]

Then the false claim -- again an old chestnut -- that cutting taxes increases revenue. Again, it's refuted by Greg Mankiw, former member of Bush Council of Economic Advisers:

I used the phrase "charlatans and cranks" in the first edition of my principles textbook to describe some of the economic advisers to Ronald Reagan, who told him that broad-based income tax cuts would have such large supply-side effects that the tax cuts would raise tax revenue. I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don't.

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