The emerging debate over the possible expiration of President Bush's tax cuts means that the White House is trotting out its misleading arsenal of "average" tax cut statistics. The goal: To mislead the public about the benefits of the tax cuts by using unrepresentative averages that are skewed upward by the disproportionate benefits received by upper income Americans. We wrote about this tactic extensively on Spinsanity and in All the President's Spin.
President Bush pushed some of these phony statistics in his radio address today:
Let me explain what it will mean for your annual tax bill if the Democrats get their way... If you're a family of four making $60,000 a year, the Democrats would raise your taxes by more than $1,800... If you are a small business owner working to meet a payroll, the Democrats would raise your taxes by almost $4,000.
Note how Bush even drops the word "average" from the statistics, implying every small business owner (for example) will see their taxes increase by "almost $4,000."
At least John Boehner included the word "average" when he pushed these numbers in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:
Clinton's tax hike pales before this one.
While Democratic friends may view them as just lines on a page, these impending tax hikes are real dollars and cents. Their budget would raise the tax bill for every working American -- 115 million taxpayers will see their taxes go up by an average of $1,795. And if you're married, have children, or own a small business, you're in for extra punishment.
For example, 48 million married couples will face an average tax increase of $2,899. Seventeen million elderly individuals will pay an average tax increase of $2,270; 26 million small business owners will be hit by an average tax increase $3,960.
Finally, Robert Novak pushed some of the same statistics in his Washington Post column:
The bill set to reach the House floor today (resembling the Senate version) would raise taxes an average of $1,795 on 115 million taxpayers in 2011. Some 26 million small-business owners would pay an average of $3,960 more.
Will the media report that these numbers are completely unrepresentative?