Palin Doubles Down On "Pants On Fire" Tax Lie

August 05, 2010 1:08 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Sarah Palin

This past weekend on Fox News Sunday, Sarah Palin attacked President Obama's plan to allow some of the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2011.  Reading from prepared notes, Palin alleged that Democrats are plotting a $3.8 trillion tax hike, dubbing it "the largest tax increase in U.S. history."

Palin's claim, of course, was grossly inaccurate.  While eliminating all of the Bush tax cuts would raise more than $3 trillion in revenue, Democrats plan to extend the cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans.  PolitiFact.com called out Palin's fabrication yesterday, awarding her its infamous "Pants on Fire" rating.    

Today, the former governor responded with an indignant Facebook post, sticking to her original claim: 

Plan? What plan? There is no plan. All we have is smoke and mirrors based on an old Obama campaign pledge that if elected, he would exempt families making less than $250,000 a year from "any form of tax increases." [...]

The truth is that as of today, Democrats haven't taken any action to extend any part of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for any income group - and in this case doing nothing equals hitting American taxpayers with a massive $3.8 trillion tax increase. [...]

To prevent PolitiFact from making similar mistakes in future, it would be helpful if the White House and the Democratic Congressional leadership finally mustered the courage to table their plans to let the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire. Mr. President, publish your proposals, and we'll duke it out. You can argue in favor of a multi-trillion dollar tax hike in an age of economic uncertainty and mass unemployment, and we'll argue for fiscal sanity combined with serious spending cuts. I for one look forward to such a debate.

In other words, Palin's defense is that Democrats haven't formally introduced legislation, so it's not actually a "plan." (Interestingly, the same logic doesn't seem to apply for phantom schemes like the value-added tax.)  Nonetheless, the plan does exist in writing, in the FY 2011 budget submitted by the White House earlier this year:

Allow the Bush Tax Cuts for Households Earning More Than $250,000 to Expire. In the last Administration, those at the very top enjoyed large tax breaks and income gains while almost everyone else struggled and real income for the middle class declined. Our Nation cannot afford to continue these tax cuts, which is why the President supports allowing those tax cuts that affect families earning more than $250,000 a year to expire and committing these resources to reducing the deficit instead. This step will have no effect on the 98 percent of all households who make less than $250,000.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also pledged to renew the tax cuts for the middle class and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) intends to bring the issue to the floor in September. 

The fact is that there's only one way Palin's scenario will become a reality: if conservatives in the Senate put politics ahead of working Americans and block any congressional action that doesn't also include an expensive gift for their rich friends.  Palin can only hope.   

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