Lies, Damn Lies, and Taxes

LIES, DAMN LIES, AND TAXES….I confess that I’m not quite as bent out of shape as some people about Michael Scherer’s article in Time this week that describes Obama’s and McCain’s tax plans. Yes, Scherer is more nebulous than he needs to be, but at the same time, it really is true that the plans are complicated and hard to nail down, and Scherer writes plainly about their main features: namely that McCain’s plan benefits the rich while Obama’s benefits the middle class, and that McCain’s plan is a bigger deficit buster than Obama’s.

That said, did everyone catch Scherer’s lede?

“The choice in this election is stark and simple,” John McCain said at recent Denver event, repeating a phrase that is a staple of his stump speech. “Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won’t.”

Seems clear enough, right? It’s an old argument you already know — Republicans cut taxes, Democrats raise them. Except it’s not true, at least not in the way that it seems. But don’t take my word for it. Here is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic policy adviser. “I used to say that Barack Obama raises taxes and John McCain cuts them, and I was convinced,” he told me in a phone interview this week. “I stand corrected.”

Italics mine. So Holtz-Eakin, who is still trying to keep his reputation from being completely shredded by the campaign, now admits that Obama isn’t going to raise taxes. But his boss is still saying the opposite. Anyone want to take bets on whether McCain stops lying about this?

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