Monday, March 12, 2012

Piquing PolitiFact: Ranting at PolitiFact New Jersey

Ever notice that PolitiFact finds it impossible to detect and expose various iterations of the Buffett Fallacy?

PolitiFact New Jersey stuck with the pattern while checking a claim by Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) that people making over $1 million/"these richest people in America" pay their taxes at the lowest rate in 80 years.

Take it away, me:
This fact check perpetuates PolitiFact's failure to fully report the story on income taxes.

Marginal tax rates certainly don't tell the whole story, as they kick in and apply only to income exceeding that taxed at the next lowest rate. Yet the story focuses primarily on the top marginal rate.

Then the story achieves a cockeyed sort of balance by talking about the effective tax rate--but only the effective tax rate for personal income taxes. The CBO estimated effective income tax rates a few years ago. For some reason PolitiFact is allergic to accurately reporting the results of that study.

Admittedly, it's very hard to find. One has to know how to use Google and how to type in "CBO" and "effective tax rates." Don't bother trying it unless your I.Q. is at least 160. You're bound to fail.

As anyone who can read a table can see, the CBO numbers for effective federal tax rates (which includes estimates for corporate taxation) do not support Rothman's claim. He's cherry-picking his data, in effect.

Explain to me why no PolitiFact franchise appears to have the ability to share this information with readers? PolitiFact is a disgrace.

It's truly mind-boggling that not one (so far as I can tell) of PolitiFact's franchises from National to Rhode Island has reported on the CBO's study of effective tax rates to put the progressive nature of the tax system in context.

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