Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is There A Fact Checker In The House?

Fischer, yet another self-proclaimed journalist (when will they ever stop with this silly line?), has put up a post with a whole bunch of numbers that he believes proves that Bush's economic policies are more friendly to the taxpayer than those of President Bill Clinton. He then warns us that those nasty old Democratic presidential candidates, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, want to repeal all of Bush's tax policies.

However, being the great king that I am, I have fact checkers that eagerly wait for such easy mistakes that these self-proclaimed award-winning journalists try to foist upon us.

Like any good blogger would do, Fischer is kind enough to provide us with a link to his source for these numbers. However, what he fails to do is look beyond the first click. On the site he links to is yet another link, which leads the good reader to this site, which has a certain disclaimer written on it (emphasis mine):
While the basic message of the comparison is correct (federal income taxes have indeed fallen under George Bush for groups at all points on the income spectrum), the chart created by the author of this comparison contains some mathematical errors. Furthermore, the comparisons are exaggerated by the fact that annual inflation adjustments in the tax code would have lowered tax bills in 2008 relative to 1999 under a constant nominal income amount.

However, my diligent fact checker was still not satisfied. This clever scribe also provides us with further information, showing that the correction was still incorrect:
The Tax Foundation's claim of ever-increasing tax burdens is in direct contradiction to evidence from the two leading sources of tax information for Congress — the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. These authoritative sources find that taxes on typical middle-income families are substantially lower than the taxes the Tax Foundation claims Americans pay on average. Moreover, CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation find that taxes on middle-income families have been declining in recent years, not rising as the Tax Foundation reports would lead the public to believe.

Would someone please be kind enough to inform that "journalist" Fischer that he shouldn't always go with the first click he finds. If he keeps that sort of behavior up, the next thing you know, he'll be posting about how he will be receiving millions of dollars from a prince/businessman/widow from Nigeria/Ethiopia/Bangladesh. Also, someone could provide him with another link he might find useful: http://snopes.com/


  1. Eh, Kevin Fischer can't be bothered with posting the whole truth. He only cites what suits him best.

  2. The CBPP report you reference has absolutely nothing to do with this issue of the Bush-Clinton rates quoted on the Tax Foundation website that you are talking about.

    That CBPP report was written in 1999!!!!!!!!

    Somebody needs to factcheck you so that you get the story straight and not confuse totally different issues. You're just as bad as Fischer.

  3. Anony,

    Did you ever think that this was called "showing a pattern"? It shows that the Tax Foundation has a long history of fudging the numbers. Of course, the truth might actually scare someone that doesn't want to face it.

  4. Sounds like "Anonymous" attended the same nuance-free school of thought as Fischer did.

    Tax Foundation: Wrong in 1999, wrong again in 2008. As Capper says: "showing a pattern."

    Further, the 1999 dissection of the Tax Foundation's faulty methodology seems appropriate when examining the Foundation's faulty numbers for - - - WHALLAH! - - - Clinton's 1999 tax program.

    So, we'll wait for Kevin Fischer to take responsibility for his cut-and-paste swipe and his shoddy fact-checking. Because, as he's written (pasted?): "Conservatives take responsibility for their actions."

  5. No capper, you are wrong.

    He explicitly says that the CBPP numbers show "the correction was still inaccurate."

    That statement is inaccurate!!! The CBPP report was written in 1999!!!

    He doesn't say what you say, which is that tne Tax Foundation's past may indicate that these numbers aren't valid. He explicitly says that the CBPP report debunks these numbers!!

    And once again, he is just as bad Fischer. The factchecker needs a factchecker.

  6. Furthermore, if you guys knew anything about tax policy, you'd see that the Tax Foundation estimates that you link to are 100 percent correct. They are merely examples of hypothetical tax returns, which you can validate yourself if you guys got out a 1040 and quickly did it yourself.

    And if you'd actually read the CBPP report, which takes issue not with hypothetical scenarios which these are, but with addressing the question of median versus mean.

    The fact is that none of you know what are you talking about on this issue, as well as Fischer.

    I'll say it again -- the factchecker needs a factchecker. If you contacted the CBPP right now, they'd tell you are incorrect in disputing these numbers that the Tax Foundation has calculated. I guarantee it.

  7. "Anonymous," I think what you meant to say was: the Tax Foundation estimates that you link to are 100 percent "correct."

    Those quotation marks indicate irony.

    The FACT is, no "estimate" can ever be "100 percent correct," unless you are gullible or WANT to believe he gummed-up numbers dished up for you because they support your dogma.

    But we're talking about the tax code. The IRS itself can't even untangle the tax code. Anyone with patience and a calculator can make the numbers do their bidding, and you can choose to accept the Bush-skewed math (which ignores a great deal) if that floats your boat.

    You have utterly ignored the issue I find MOST offensive: That a "journalist" can and will cut-and-paste bogus info without attributing his true source or checking the primary source that he claims as "my source."

    Plus, as sources go, do you want to believe the ALREADY-DEBUNKED math magic of an organization funded by THE FOUNDATIONS OF EXTREMELY WEALTHY PEOPLE?


    These people are PAID to massage the numbers in favor of their benefactors. To be kind, their approach is FLAWED to say the least.

    Did that approach change significantly since the CBPP report was released? Which of the six points made on the 1999 CBPP link have been addressed and/or changed by the Tax Foundation in their current propaganda?

    But that's not even the issue here. The issue is cut-and-paste ideology and shoddy fact-checking. Everything you see on Kevin Fischer's blog should be taken with the same grain of salt.

  8. John. You are unbelievable.

    Once again, the CBPP report you cite has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with these numbers. The Tax Foundation has merely calculated a very simple hypothetical tax return under Bush-Clinton to disprove the numbers floating around on the website that claim the gap between Bush/Clinton is much greater. If this organization was so right-wing, why would they seek to disprove numbers that would favor their side in the first place?

    Anyway, here's for example how they calculated the 2008 number under Bush law for 30,000 single with no kids.

    AGI = 30,000
    Standard deduction = 5,450
    personal exemption = 3,400
    taxable income = 30,000 - 5450 - 3400 = 21050
    income tax before credits equals (21050 - 8025)*.15 + (8025*.10) = $2,756.25

    Under Clinton law:

    AGI = 30,000
    Standard deduction = 5,450
    person exemption = 3,500
    taxable income = 30,000 - 5450 - 3500 = 21050
    income tax before credits equals 21050 * .15 = $3,157.50

    Whallah!!!!!!!!! There's your numbers. I'm an accountant. That's what they did. Believe me. This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CBPP REPORT!!





    AT ALL.

    The only reason the Tax Foundation is even involved here is because the original author of this post took from its website the official marginal taxable income tax rates, which the Tax Foundation takes directly from the IRS.

  9. You are right, "Anonymous": My past disgust with the Tax Foundation is somewhat misplaced here as my main point revolves around the cut-and-paste ideology of Fischer.

    At risk of again going off my main point and into tax-table territory (with an accountant!), I have a problem with the Tax Foundation's constant misrepresentation of how much the folks in the upper tiers of income pay (i.e. the folks who PAY FOR THE TAX FOUNDATION'S WORK) and the extent that their wealth grows under Bush tax policies that are baldly slanted toward the people who contribute the most money to the Republican Party.

    I'm on board with, for instance, a report recently issued by the CBPP entitled "HAVE THE 2001 AND 2003 TAX CUTS MADE

    Answer: NO.

    But, as much as I disagree with the veracity of The Tax Foundation and the current administration's fiscal policies, my beef in this case is with a guy cutting and pasting near-arbitrary numbers, fibbing about his "source," and fooling his readers who don't bother checking where he got his bad material.