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Economics Election 2008 McCain Obama Politics The Opinionsphere

Fuming Over Their Own Confusions

It’s become a minor meme on the right that Obama keeps changing his tax plan – which is their way of suggesting that YOU(!!) could be the next person he taxes.

McCain said on Sunday on Meet the Press that under Obama’s plan those who are exempt keeps changing:

…now it’s $200,000.  I guess last week it was $250,000. It changes with ever – whatever the polling data tells him and his advisers.

And now, over at The Corner, Mark Hemingway steams:

Wait, we’ve been hearing endlessly that Obama will never raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000!

But that Krugman is saying it is for those heads of household with:

an income, after deductions, of $182,400 a year.

Of course, Hemingway’s source on this change in the Obama plan is Paul Krugman – who doesn’t describe it as a change, and who certainly isn’t someone who speaks for Obama’s campaign.

But the easier explanation is that either Hemingway and McCain are confused or they are being deliberately misleading. Obama’s tax plan calls for those individuals making under $200,000 to be exempt, and those married couples making under $250,000 to be exempt. Hence what McCain claims is inconsistency is in fact a consistent plan. As for Hemingway, he’s just a dumbass who read what he wanted into Krugman’s description.

I’m guessing that $182,400 after deductions is about $250,000 or more before deductions – as the difference is about 26% – lower than the average tax rate.

The question becomes – are these people deliberately trying to confuse others – or have they confused themselves by attempting to look for changes without understanding the underlying plan?

Update: Missed Byron York chiming in. He has the same issue – in an ad, Obama claims that he will cut taxes for any family making less than $200,000. York cries foul – he said $250,000 before. But again – the problem is he never looked at the plan which calls for a tax cut for those making below $200,000 with no additional taxes for those making between $200,000 and $250,000. Again – the plan is consistent. The descriptions of different parts of it vary – depending on whether you are saying whose taxes will be raised versus whose taxes will be cut, and other distinctions.

Updated again: Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic points out the same things I have.

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