Bush Campaign Lies
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Bush Campaign Lie #33: Kerry Voted For Higher Taxes On Social Security Benefits At Least Eight Times
From the Bush Campaign web site. This statement is factually accurate: Kerry did cast eight separate votes in support of a 4.3% increase on the taxation of Social Security benefits. However, it's a lie because it's deliberately misleading. There was only one tax increase, and Kerry cast votes supporting it on eight different occasions.
The tax increase was passed as part of the FY 1994 budget bill. During the drafting of that bill, there were three separate votes about adding the tax increase to the bill or leaving it in. Then there were two votes for the budget bill itself: first for the Senate version of the bill, and then again for the final version after reconciliation with the House. So five of the votes were cast just to get the original legislation passed.
On three occasions since then, in 1996, 2000 and 2003, there were attempts to roll back the increase, and Kerry voted against all of them.
So, contrary to what the Republican headline implies, there were eight votes, but there was only one tax increase which was even considered. In case it makes a difference, this tax applies to 85% of Social Security income received by individuals making over $34,000 a year, or married couples making over $44,000. Before this legislation passed, only the first 50% of Social Security income was taxed.
And all income from this tax increase --- the amount obtained by raising the threshold from 50% to 85% --- goes to the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund.