To find "experts" on a particular issue, ABC’s Chris Cuomo, first profiled a left leaning organization, but only cited them as "non-partisan." Beginning a series of in depth segments examining Obama’s stance on the issues, Cuomo offered what appeared to be a fair assessment of Barack Obama’s plan.
Although, the "Good Morning America" host featured some criticism of Obama’s plan and offered challenging questions to Obama’s economic adviser, Cuomo identified the Tax Policy Center (a division of the liberal Brookings Institution) as "non-partisan"only featuring them for expertise.
Cuomo featured a family earning $70,000 a year and cited the Tax Policy Center to claim they will receive an almost 50 percent reduction in taxes. That runs counter to the more conservative American Enterprise Institute which found Obama "would raise marginal tax rates for many middle-income tax payers."
Although Cuomo pressed Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee on denying a tax increase actually is a tax increase, Cuomo simply said "the McCain campaign" labels it a tax increase.
The entire transcript is below.
DIANE SAWYER: And I'm Diane Sawyer, back at the Democratic Convention in Denver. We have been asking what do the speeches, what does the pageantry have to do with each of us in daily life and our families. And Chris Cuomo has gone out to explore just that. He's down at the convention floor at the foot of the podium, Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO: You know, Diane, here I am down here, some 4,440 delegates are going come here from all the states and territories and they're going to bring their ideas. We've heard so much about what McCain and Obama say about each other, but not so much what their plans are for you. So we literally went out around the country, found average American families literally named the Joneses. And we found out what their issues were and then we put the campaigns to the test, starting with the Obama campaign. Meet Evan and Amanda Jones of Iowa.
EVAN JONES: We have two children, just purchased a home not too recently.
AMANDA JONES: I do think that we represent the average American family.
CUOMO: Average in the time they spent cooking each day, how long they spend surfing the internet, even in the type of milk in their fridge. The average family drinks whole milk, by the way. And when you ask what's the big issue for them this year --
AMANDA JONES: Taxes are through the roof.
EVAN JONES: We don't eat out as much. We don't have the extra money to maybe go out to the movies. The dollar's just not going as far as it used to.
CUOMO: Senator Obama's campaign tells us he'll lower the family's taxes using a series of targeted credits on things like retirement savings and payroll saxes. Austan Goolsbee is Obama's senior economic adviser. Does Senator Obama believe that a family like the Joneses making $70,000 a year with their two kids, are they paying too much in taxes?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISER: Yes, he thinks they should get tax relief, absolutely. They're right in the center of the range of the 90 to 95 percent of workers who are going to get a tax cut under the Obama plan.
CUOMO: That's true. We checked with the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Here's how it says the Jones family would fare under an Obama administration. The Joneses make $70,000 a year. They pay $2700 in taxes. Under Obama's plan, they could save about $1300, that's half their tax bill. What's not clear, critics say, is how Obama pays for those cuts. Let's deal with the "sounds too good to be true" issue here that you're going to give all this tax relief, help the Jones family. But the senator is proposing a lot of spending as well, how does he spend and pay for it if he's giving all this tax relief?
GOOLSBEE: You can go look, for example, at the tax policy center or objective people who have looked at these. And they show that he's paid for each of this programs and he would reduce the deficit.
CUOMO: But that's not what the experts at the Tax Policy Center told us.
ROBERTSON WILLIAMS, TAX POLICY CENTER: His proposed cuts in spending would not be enough to off set the reduction in revenue. He will likely make the federal deficit worse than it currently is.
CUOMO: And for all of Obama's talk about tax cuts, some families across the country who make more could actually pay more under Obama. That's because his plan would partially pay for cuts for the Joneses by repealing tax cuts on others making over $200,000 a year.
VOICE OVER: The press warns the tax man cometh.
CUOMO: Something the McCain campaign calls a tax increase. Why isn't that called raising taxes? If you let them expire and go back to where they were, which was higher, isn't that raising taxes?
GOOLSBEE: The high-income people's taxes would go back to what they were in the '90s. That would be higher than what they are today.
CUOMO: You don't want to say raising taxes because it's politically charged?
GOOLSBEE: The reason that I don't say raising taxes is these were the rates at a time when the economy was doing very well. So it's not going out and finding people and raising their taxes to rates that are completely unheard of.
CUOMO: For Evan and Amanda Jones, ultimately, this election isn't so much of what the candidates say about raising or lowering taxes. It's about what they will do.
EVAN JONES: I think everybody's looking for something new, something different