Today's case in point is PolitiFact, which, generally, appears to be fair in its analyses, at least as far as I have seen in the past. What they were thinking when they classified a recent statement by Governor Palin as "pants on fire" (that means they're calling it a lie, for those of you who never had a childhood), I don't know. That statement appears during her appearance on Fox News Sunday four days ago:
To those wondering: yes, this is the "cojones" interview. It is also the interview in which Governor Palin addressed the image presented of her by a lot of media outlets, and the unfavorability that she has among many:
As for the unfavorable, you know, I don't blame people for not really knowing what it is, in some instances -- what I stand for or what my record is because if I believed everything that I read or heard in the media, I wouldn't like me either.
But let's get back to the statement that she made while discussing the impending expiration of the 2001/2003 Bush tax cuts on January 1, 2011. The statement that raised PolitiFact's dander was the following:
But Democrats are poised now to cause this largest tax increase in U.S. history. It's a tax increase of $3.8 trillion over the next 10 years, and it will have an effect on every single American who pays an income tax.
I won't devote a lot of space to PolitiFact's argument; you can see it for yourself here and make the call. But I will call attention to the following statement:
So Palin is confusing the issue here by using numbers that assume all the tax cuts are going away. That is not the Democratic plan nor is it President Obama's plan.
Well, that sounds better, doesn't it? So what's the problem? Sarah Palin explains exactly what the problem is in her response to the PolitiFact post:
Plan? What plan? There is no plan. All we have is smoke and mirrors based on an old Obama campaign pledge that if elected, he would exempt families making less than $250,000 a year from “any form of tax increases.” But this pledge was already watered before he was even elected. First vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden lowered it to $150,000. Then campaign surrogate Gov. Bill Richardson lowered it even further to $120,000.
A few months after the inauguration, even that last promise disappeared in a puff of smoke. When asked to reaffirm the White House’s commitment to the campaign promise of no tax increases for families earning less than $250,000, Obama’s spin doctor David Axelrod declared the President had “no interest in drawing lines in the sand.”
The truth is that as of today, Democrats haven’t taken any action to extend any part of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for any income group – and in this case doing nothing equals hitting American taxpayers with a massive $3.8 trillion tax increase.
What we do know for certain is that the White House is more than willing to raise taxes on families with incomes of less than $250,000. Democrat Senator Max Baucus admitted as much during the debate about Obamacare when he stated that “One other point that I think it’s very important to make is that it is true that in certain cases, the taxes will go up for some Americans who might be making less than $200,000.”
Who's right? At this point, until something hits the House floor addressing the tax cuts, Governor Palin is. But she leaves the door open for further discussion:
[...] it would be helpful if the White House and the Democratic Congressional leadership finally mustered the courage to table their plans to let the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire. Mr. President, publish your proposals, and we’ll duke it out. You can argue in favor of a multi-trillion dollar tax hike in an age of economic uncertainty and mass unemployment, and we’ll argue for fiscal sanity combined with serious spending cuts. I for one look forward to such a debate.
Somehow I doubt such a debate will take place, given the seeming inclination of so many, including people at PolitiFact, to try to spread misinformation. In the meantime, however, you could see all of Sarah Palin's response to PolitiFact here.