McCain Attempts to Claim Obama Wants to Raise Taxes on the Working Poor by Getting Steve Forbes and Douglas Holtz-Eakin to Lie for Them

FirstRead does a nice job of first laying out what the McCain camp tried to claim and then getting to the facts. Let’s start with some bogus claim from someone who has never had an ounce of credibility on fiscal matters:

This gets to Obama’s “credibility,” Forbes said on a conference call with reporters, and cited it as an example of the Illinois senator “saying one thing and doing another.”

Next the Democratic response to this garbage:

The DNC issued this response, in part: “On a conference call with reporters today, Steve Forbes and Doug Holtz-Eakin showed how far the McCain is willing to go to deflect attention away from McCain’s promise of a third Bush term on the economy. First, Forbes falsely claimed that John McCain has never voted for a tax increase—a claim that prompted a rebuke from the Club for Growth during the primaries. In fact, McCain has support tax increases on everything from vaccines to phone cards. “Then, Doug Holtz-Eakin tried to explain how John McCain plans to make the Bush tax cuts he once opposed permanent and still balance the budget by 2013. His recipe: cutting discretionary spending and promoting growth. Not only does McCain’s math not even come close to adding up, but Holtz-Eakin himself said it would be impossible to cut enough spending to balance the budget. Plus, before he reversed himself to pander to the right wing of his party, McCain used to reject the idea that we can grow our way out of budget-busting tax cuts. The new McCain, however, is promising four more years of George Bush’s borrow and spend budgeting.”

Next – some fact checking by Ken Strickland of NBC:

There was no vote during the budget resolution process to actually raise taxes. Simply put, there was not a vote which in effect said, “let’s raise taxes by 3% on certain tax brackets.” So Obama did not vote to raise taxes per se. BUT… The overall budget resolution does assume the BUSH 2001/2003 tax cuts will expire (or have to be offset by new spending.) And if they expire, taxes in the 25, 28, and 33 percent tax brackets would increase 3% as Holtz-Eakin suggests. (Democrats are happy to remind folks that McCain was against those tax cuts, before he was for them.) – Also noteworthy: The budget resolution is NOT/NOT a law, NOT binding. (The President of the United States doesn’t even sign it.) Instead, it’s a blueprint of sorts that gives guidance to how congressional tax writers write tax laws in the Finance Committee. That panel is not bound to what the budget says, and often votes to “waive” budget rules. Bottom line: While it may be a bit of a stretch to say Obama voted to raise taxes, it is accurate to suggest that Obama’s support for the budget resolution indicates a willingness to let the tax cuts expire–thus potentially causing a tax increase.

Finally, let’s turn the microphone over to Brad DeLong:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin gained a lot of credibility working to stop the budget insanity first inside the Bush White House and then as Director of the Congressional Budget Office. He is now burning that credibility very rapidly … This is, I think, a bad mistake for Doug Holtz-Eakin. If McCain wins in November, Holtz-Eakin will need credibility with Democratic as well as Republican senators. And if McCain doesn’t win in November, Holtz-Eakin will need credibility with Democratic as well as Republican economists.