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

Fact Check: Obama wants to raise taxes?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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.


Filed under: Fact Check
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Anita from Arizona

    Ask yourself, can you afford four more years of this?? I know I can't.

    September 16, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Ron , West Coast

    Everybody should stop beating around the bush, ( no pun intended )
    everyone who`s honest can read between the lines and discern the Code Words......
    Taxes, Smaxxes ,.... two words , " OBAMA`S BLACK ".......

    September 16, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. angela

    If the Bush system of cutting tax for the rich was working well and the economy was going great , I would definatly have voted for McCain but seeing as alot of people are loosing their jos,homes and most companies are moving to other countries i think it is pathetic that McCain is still thinking about using those SAME OLD FAILED politics. There is no way in hell i will vote for him. Fool me once same on you, fool me twice.......

    September 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |




    September 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. John G

    Can someone please explain to me in no uncertain terms why the wealthiest 20% of tax payers should be held responsible for the laziness, ineptitude, shortcomings etc of the lower 80%?

    I agree that sometimes conditions beyond anyone's control are responsible for peoples hardships (layoffs, companies filing bankruptcy, disease etc) but for the most part I have observed people in bad financial situations doing absolutely nothing to get into better situations or worse actively pursuing behavior to keep themselves down so as to keep collecting a check from the local government office.

    So if I make more than $250,000 per year, why should I pay higher taxes to help cover a mortgage payment for someone who makes $28,000 per year and could never have afforded the house to begin with but got it through a bad loan program he/she didn't really understand at the time? Why should I foot the bill for someone who doesn't have a job because he/she is on long term disability when the only disability they have is an inability to put down the twinkies and therefore they weigh 350lbs and can't get out of the house to work? Why should I have to work my tail end off to send my kids (or myself) to college while my taxes are being raised to make college more accessible to people who have very little interest in college and will not do well if they go? Why should I be forced to work hard for every penny that is deposited into my bank account while I watch people line up month after month to collect a check from the government for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?!?!?!

    If someone can answer that question without saying anything as ridiculous as "because it's the right thing to do" then I will happily cast my vote for Barack Obama-until then McCain/Palin 08,12 and Palin/Whomever 16,20

    CNN for the love of God for once please remove yourself from Obama's backside and post this.

    September 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    Hey Mel,

    I would love to go to school to make more money. But, I can't join the Army to go to school. The money's not there or it might be 6 years beore I get back.

    I would love to go to school if I could get the money to go. But, my parents and myself are to busy trying to afford groceries, gas and basic life necessaties.

    So, the next time I come to your rich neighborhood to fix your plumbing, lights or fancy porch, don't be alarmed when I say "you need to fix it yourself! You choose to live this way!".

    September 16, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Dee from NC


    Actually, Obama is offering tax breaks for companies that invest creating new jobs in the US and taking them away from companies that outsource. so A. is wrong.

    Also, because of the increase of income from the bottom, it will increase the consumer incoming thereby creating a trickle up effect. In economy, the best way to stimulate it is give the majority if people more income. This will also create new jobs, improve moral, and strengthen the economy.

    This will in effect create a new market were businesses have to be more competitive to sell and produce their products. It worked well for the Clinton Era, and will once again during the Obama era.

    Which means, more money to the poor means more money for everyone.

    More money to the rich, means no one wins.

    September 16, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Dee Okla.

    This is a black man trying to help America, he could be giving every tax payer a million dollars and paying America’s debt off with his own money and still would not be elected president. Racism is still here just as strong as ever, it's only difference now is, how well it's hidden.

    September 16, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. ibjg

    Dave –
    my incapacitated grandmother, who raised me, recieved "handouts" of approximately $350/mo. which allowed her to keep a roof over my head and allow me to go to school. I currently pay approximately 50k per year in income/sales/property taxes, will probably pay ~2million+ in taxes over my lifetime. Not a bad payback for those meager "handouts", eh?
    I guess she could have been denied those handouts, and I would have been forced to steal and wound up in jail, then you could pay thousands every year to keep me there.

    September 16, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Terry

    Obama is going to raise taxes big time on everyone.

    September 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Anita from Arizona

    Hey Dave???

    Don't we need jobs to WORK FOR IT??? This myth that Dems don't work for what they get is ridiculous and totally a lie, which fits right in with Republicans thinking. DRILL BABY DRILL = LIE BABY LIE.

    September 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. College Student in VA

    Thank you Dave.

    I also agree with Teri. We may be promised the moon and the stars by both candidates, but we will see what actually happens once one of them gets into office.

    *McCain/Palin 2008*

    September 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Jennifer

    Thank you CNN! Finally a major news outlet is calling McCain out on this BLATANT LIE. Thank you for doing your job CNN! The American people should never have to wonder what is the truth and what is not.

    September 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Linda

    20 percent of the population is 17,500,000 families. That is alot of people Senator Obama. They worked hard for what they have and why should they bear the brunt of paying for health care, education, etc. for millions of illegals.

    Ask Obama does he plan to send those home? No, he plans on giving them free health care etc. even though they don't pay one dime in taxes payroll or otherwise.

    Linda, Salem, Ma

    September 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. RealityKing

    Of course 50% of Americans don't pay any taxes at all. So why does Obama continue to call his tax handout to those 50% of Americans a tax cut!?

    September 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Kristen

    McCain has been called out on so many lies but nonetheless perpetuates them. I have never seen this kind of brazen risregard of the truth, and the media needs to start making this a headlining issue rather than a sidenote. Many people still think Palin nixed the bridge, Obama will raise their taxes, and Obama is a radical Muslim. Media–do your job and set the record straight so we don't end up with another 4 years of sleazy GOP politics. Obama/Biden 08

    September 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Al

    Bravo! Another "issue oriented" story! Keep 'em coming. THIS is what the election is all about. The more legitimate news and issues we can get out there to the undecideds, the sooner we can put McCain to bed for his nap.

    September 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. Bill Charlotte,NC

    "Obama will raise taxes."

    Just more of McDoesn't-understand-it lies and he knows it.
    They have been putting out this crap since the beginning of the campaign. They have no thoughts of their own.... just lies.
    They even co-opted Obama's campaign slogan of change.

    September 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Yaya

    McCain and Palin are playing the politics of fear and ignorance, same as Bush did. 8 years of Bush and people have still not learned. Well if the GOP wins again, the "majority" who elect them should not complain when they are jobless and homeless. Oh by the way, they can still keep their guns, continue to execute whoever they want while preaching a culture of life.

    September 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. Capablanca

    The wealthiest 20% of the country are business owners and corporations. They will either go out of business in this type of economy or go else where. The lower 80% can get all the tax cut they want, but there are going to be fewer jobs for them. That's something FactCheck does not verify because they set to verify words and claims but not what could happen.

    September 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Shaking My Head

    Hey Dave, how's that free market working for your 401K and your house value lately? Moron!!!

    September 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. NoMccain

    Since Mccain thinks that 5 million dollars is the barrier of a wealthy family, there's no wonder why his twisted logic slides into the thinking that taxing the wealthiest 20 percent of households is considered to be "raising ALL of our taxes." Mccain is dillusional, and his senility is showing. He is out of touch with American families, and will not be a good President, at all.

    September 16, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Becky

    McCain is a jerk. Trying to jerk us Americans around as if we're fools.

    September 16, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. a real person

    A NATION divided against itself CANNOT STAND ...
    A HOUSE divided against itself CANNOT STAND ...
    A PARTY divided against itself CANNOT STAND ...
    A MIND divided against itself CANNOT STAND ...

    What's with the INDEPENDENTS and OTHERS who can't seem to make up thier own minds? Unfortunately it is they who will make the final decision as to who the next leader of the free world will be, and that is scary because they can't even make up their own minds ... They should just have the election this weekend, and all those who cannot make up their minds will be left out. Come on people it really isn't that hard to choose one or the other ... remember ... A DOUBLE MINDED MAN IS UNSTABLE IN ALL HIS WAYS!!!!

    September 16, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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