Gibson Advanced to Palin What Hume Calls an Obama 'Dishonesty'

Speaking of “dishonesty” in McCain's TV ads, on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume pointed out Barack “Obama goes around claiming he's going to cut the taxes of 95 percent of the public, which is literally impossible” since “40 percent of American taxpayers don't pay any income tax,” but that hasn't stopped ABC (directly) and CBS (implicitly) in recent days from advancing that Obama claim as fact. Charles Gibson, in his third interview session with Sarah Palin excerpted on Friday's 20/20 and Nightline (see earlier NB item), stated that Obama will extend the “Bush tax cuts on everything but people who own or earn more than $250,000 a year -- cuts taxes on over 91 percent of the country.”

On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason looked at how the Obama and McCain tax plans would impact three Ohio families, including Charles and Joi Beacham who earn $32,000. Mason asked them: “In terms of taxes, what do you want from the next President?” Joi, a school teacher with an astounding level of chutzpah, replied: “Relief.” Chutzpah because, as Mason only noted later (and deserves credit for doing so unlike many of his colleagues over the years), the Beachams “paid no taxes in 2007.” Nonetheless, Mason proceeded to report how the Beachams would benefit more from Obama than McCain since they “would see no change in their taxes under McCain, but the Obama plan would help them” because they would get refundable credits and thus “receive a check from the government for more than $2,200.”

As Hume explained, those who don't pay any income tax will get from Obama's plan “a subsidy. It's hardly a tax cut, it's in fact spending.”  

Hume was a little off in his 40 percent ratio for “taxpayers” who escape having to pay any income tax, though if you add in those who don't file and/or don't earn enough to require filing with the IRS, you probably get to 40 percent or beyond. A June report from the Tax Foundation listed 32.58 percent of IRS income tax returns for 2005 as “non-paying.”

Hume during the roundtable segment of the September 14 Fox News Sunday:
If we're going to get into this question of dishonesty, I mean, Obama goes around claiming he's going to cut the taxes of 95 percent of the public, which is literally impossible. The reason it's impossible is that 40 percent of American taxpayers don't pay any income tax and therefore can't get a tax cut. What they're going to get is a subsidy. It's hardly a tax cut, it's in fact spending.
Hume added, however, “that in the realm of normal exaggeration and hyperbole” of campaigns, “I don't think any of this stuff” -- from McCain and Obama -- “has been too far out of bounds so far.”

In the September 9 “Where They Stand” report, Anthony Mason highlighted three Ohio families earning $32,000, $64,000 and $213,000.

Charles and Joi Beacham from Pataskala, Ohio with three kids, was the $32,000 family. He runs office supply business, she's a teacher. From the story as it aired (online version):
MASON: In terms of taxes, what do you want from the next President?

JOI BEACHAM: Relief.

...

MASON: The Beachams, who remember made $32,000 last year, would see no change in their taxes under McCain, but the Obama plan would help them...The Beachams, who paid no taxes in 2007, would now receive a check from the government for more than $2,200.

JOI: That would be really nice.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center