September 16th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Fact Check: Obama wants to raise taxes?

McCain says Obama wants to raise taxes.  True?
McCain says Obama wants to raise taxes. True?

The Statement:

"First of all, Sen. Obama wants to raise taxes," John McCain said in an interview on CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday, Sept. 16. "I'm not going to raise anybody's taxes ... ."

Get the facts after the jump!

The Facts
While it's impossible to know what policies any candidate would implement in the future, as described by his public statements, Obama's tax plan would increase taxes in 2009 on the wealthiest 20 percent of households, while offering tax cuts for the other 80 percent. The largest increases would be on the top one-percent of earners. That's according to analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group whose staff of experts includes former economic advisers to the White House and Congress under both Republicans and Democrats.

By comparison, the Tax Policy Center analysis says McCain would offer tax cuts across the board. Those at the top end of the scale would get the biggest percentage cuts under McCain, while households with the lowest incomes would receive the largest percentage cuts under Obama's plan. Obama's plan would offer a tax cut for people earning up to $111,645 a year, according to the analysis. McCain also would offer relief to those taxpayers, but his cuts would be smaller.

The center has different figures based on how the staff and economic advisers of both candidates have described the plans - as opposed to what candidates have said in their speeches. According to Obama's staff, even the top 20 percent of earners would, on average, get a small tax cut - with the top one-percent seeing the largest increases. McCain's staff says his cuts for people making roughly $66,000-$111,000 a year would get a slightly higher cut under his plan than Obama's and that his cuts across the board would be slightly larger than what McCain has said they would be.

Verdict: TRUE, BUT INCOMPLETE


Filed under: Fact Check
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Lanny

    Thank you CNN for finally pointing this out. So many news networks, including CNN, have been quoting John McCain's half truths and lies and never doing any investigative reporting into whether his attacks on Obama have any merit. Please continue to keep these politicians honest and on subject with the issues most important to this country..

    September 16, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. California Gold

    Just what we need: an old man with a dodgy memory who lies through his teeth and smiles at us.

    Untrustworthy and an elitist in his $500 Italian loafers.

    September 16, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Rodger

    I didn't know 20% of Americans earn more than $250,000 per year, maybe McCain is correct, saying we have a strong economy and everythig is Great.

    September 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. Sam from Philly

    Obama's plan will increase taxes on some Americans. McCain has never said that Obama's tax increases will affect all Americans. McCain, technically, is telling the truth.

    September 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Patriot

    Trckle down economics at it's best!
    Let us not forget our favorite PitBull with LipSTick, and her recent "Change" to No Cooperation on her investigation!
    It means No real vetting process for Sarah Palin!
    It means they really believe the American People are that Stupid!
    Unfortunately, there are too many that will listen and believe that it's the Media or some liberal plott to bring her down, when she herself said "I will cooperate fully in the investigation" sad day on Nov 4 when the American people truly show how ignorant we are and elect these two in office

    September 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Alan

    NICE TRY MCCAIN! Why should we believe you? By the way, that economy you were talking about, still strong? lol lol lol

    September 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Republican voting for Barack Obama

    Barack Obama – great for America – great for the American People.

    September 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Yvenst Miami

    Mccain is playing hardcore politics here.

    He is "tricking" himself to thinking he can get away with saying obama is going to raise your taxes without exactly specifying who he will raise taxes on.

    That's his justification to continue saying that obama will raise taxes.

    It's all semantics

    September 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Kel in Auburn, AL

    McCain is disingenuous. We don't need another liar in the white house.

    Obama/Biden 08!

    September 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. One more for McCain

    Ken from Dallas, it is the other way around. Obama will add
    over a trillion dollars in new SPENDING. McCain is consistent about
    Reductions in SPENDING. That is what 'Cut Spending' means. McCain can't making a sentence without promising to reduce spending. He and Palin are committed to reduced spending.

    September 16, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. j.williams, san diego

    a real fact check-40% of Americans don't pay taxes (the so called liberal poverty line), so how will 95% get tax cuts ??? SOCIALISM ???

    September 16, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. I said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    McCain lies, cause Obama wouldn't agree to town hall debates.
    lol

    September 16, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. OBAMBA/BIDEN '08

    The facts about the two candidates tax reform as outlined by TPC:

    For Americans making between 38,000 and 66,000 dollars:

    Under McCrypt you will bring home $312 more a year.

    Under Obama you will bring home $1,012 more a year.

    Senior citizens earning less than $50,000 per year will pay NO income tax under Obama.

    Voting strictly “pocketbook” issues, who do you vote for?

    September 16, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. cjk

    Math doesn't lie. Obama should publish the math that CNN provided showing how the tax breaks, tax increases work. If I made over $250,000, I would not squabble over the $4,000+ increase in my taxes. When the majority (80%) of Americans have reduced taxes, they will spend...with the result of the wealthy earning more bucks.

    September 16, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Joseph, Los Angeles

    McCain just won't give up the lie about Obama...

    September 16, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Steve - St. Louis, MO

    Maybe in between making his own commercials complaining about lipstick and other distractions, John McCain should actually watch and listen to Obama's. Especially when Obama distinctly said how he would lower taxes for most, not raise them.

    Call McCain on his lies, and make him talk about real issues, and put Miss Congeniality on the back burner. Please!!

    September 16, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Joel Miller

    McCain may have to rent one of his houses to cover the increase in taxes, Obama's plan would impose upon the wealthiest. But his maids, gardeners, pool man, chauffeur etc. will have more money in their pockets under that same plan. Hope they don't get "uppity" and ask for a raise on top of it!

    September 16, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. joey from nc

    i make 1300 dollars a month at a bank. THAT IS NET!! The government takes away 350 of my hard earned dollars a month. And for what? A war?? Are you kidding me? This is the greater cause? How about taking my money and helping the community. Making MY life easier? Maybe I could be able to afford going to school and get an actual career with Obamas plan. But with Mccains plan, I don't even know how much longer MY JOB WILL BE AROUND.

    Obama is my final HOPE for this nation to turn around and start caring about the people again

    September 16, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Underhanded!Wake Up!

    Obama will not raise taxes. McBush is a big liar. Only the well off would be taxed differently.

    September 16, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Joe in MN

    So how are you going to pay for your war, which is costing us MUCH more than bailing out the banks you messed up during the Republican tenurship.

    September 16, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Rodger

    Gramm says we are whiners...maybe he's right and the economy is in great shape...I just had Fact Check confirm this...it must be true!

    September 16, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Pitbull without lipstick

    Belle – shut up no one in their right mind thinks McCain is a good at the economy.

    September 16, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Voter

    ...........................MCCAIN....................................OBAMA
    Income ……...... Avg tax bill ……................... Avg. tax bill
    Over $2.9M …. -$269,364 (-4.4%)…...... +$701,885 (+11.5%)
    $603K and up…. -$45,361 (-3.4%)….... +$115,974 (+8.7%)
    $227K-$603K…… -$7,871 (-3.1%)…….. +$12 (+0.0%)
    $161K-$227K…… -$4,380 (-3.0%)…........ -$2,789 (-1.9%)
    $112K-$161K…… -$2,614 (-2.5%)…...... -$2,204 (-2.1%)
    $66K-$112K …… -$1,009 (-1.4%)….. ....-$1,290 (-1.8%)
    $38K-$66K …….. -$319 (-0.7%)…......... -$1,042 (-2.4%)
    $19K-$38K …….. -$113 (-0.5%)……....... -$892 (-3.6%)
    Under $19K ……… -$19 (-0.2%)……. .....-$567 (-5.5%)

    September 16, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Brian Wilson

    Obama want's to raise taxes on America's retirement and investment accounts. Also raising taxes on corporations will cause them to cut jobs and move overseas. It's not that complicated people.

    September 16, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. bob in L.A.

    McCain only cares about the wealthy- he's a republican for a reason. So in his mind, Obama IS raising taxes on Americans- his Americans.

    September 16, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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