Bush Campaign Lies

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #24: Kerry Flip-Flopped On Raising Taxes During Economic Downturn 

This is the 14th item which Republicans claim is a 'Kerry Flip-Flop'. It's also somewhat amusing, because they give a quote from December 2002 as proof that Kerry had switched position and now favors raising taxes 'During Economic Downturn'.

What economic downturn? It's true that the country is still suffering from a net loss of 2 million plus jobs since Bush took office, and the recovery is sluggish, but the recession ended in November 2001. And I seriously doubt there was a Republican in the White House who would have publicly expressed doubt in the economy's strength in December 2002. So even if Kerry really did change his mind at that point or later, this doesn't amount to a flip-flop.

Of course it doesn't matter anyway, because none of the 'evidence' the Republicans provide indicate that Kerry wanted to raise taxes. Here are the quotes:

  1. NBC’s TIM RUSSERT: 'Senator . . . should we freeze or roll back the Bush tax cut?'
    KERRY: 'Well, I wouldn’t take away from people who’ve already been given their tax cut … What I would not do is give any new Bush tax cuts.'
    RUSSERT: 'So the tax cut that’s scheduled to be implemented in the coming years …'
    KERRY: 'No new tax cut under the Bush plan. . . . It doesn’t make economic sense.'
    RUSSERT: 'Now, this is a change …'
  2. "Kerry said Bush’s tax cuts have mainly benefited the rich while doing little for the economy. Kerry is proposing to halt Bush’s additional tax cuts and instead impose a yearlong suspension of payroll taxes on the first $10,000 of income to help the poor and middle class".
While the Republicans are constantly trying to sell the Orwellian logic that keeping tax rates constant is actually a tax increase, normal people understand that a tax increase is when taxes, well, increase. Nowhere in the massively elided exchange with Russert do you see any evidence of Kerry planning to raise taxes. Anyone who's still having difficulty understanding this concept should refer to Bob Somerby's incomparable dissection of this interview.

And of course, anyone who actually read the full text of the interview would discover Kerry's plan to provide a refundable credit for payroll taxes, presumably the same plan referenced in item (2).

So, to review. The Republicans give two Kerry statements from December 2002 --- when the economy was no longer in recession --- which prove irrefutably that Kerry wanted to maintain existing income tax provisions while providing payroll tax relief. What do you call people who give these statements as proof that Kerry wanted to 'raise taxes during an economic downturn'? Republicans!LIARS!

10:27 PM