WashPost: Ryan's Right That Obama's Tax Rate Higher

Monday, 23 May 2011 11:52 AM

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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s claim that President Barack Obama wants to raise the top tax rate to 44.8 percent earned a rare stamp of approval from The Washington Post’s fact check column. The column noted that most coverage of the issue had characterized the issue as returning the top tax rate to 39.6 percent, as it was before the Bush tax cuts.

Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin, Obama, Republican
Rep. Paul Ryan's calculations showing higher rate tabbed as "reasonable." (Getty Images Photo)
The top tax rate now is 35 percent, and Obama has suggested that it would climb about 4.6 percent under his proposal. But the Wisconsin Republican’s speech to the Economic Club of Chicago “caught our attention with its figure of a top marginal tax rate of almost 45 percent.”

Upon a request from the Post, Ryan’s staff provided the numbers that start with the 39.6 percent and then add in other incremental taxes that would go up such as Medicare and a tax from Obamacare.

“Adding up all of these figures, you get to an effective marginal rate of nearly 45 percent,” the Post reported. “One can quibble with some of the assumptions, but tax experts we checked with found Ryan’s calculations to be reasonable.”

“Paul Ryan’s attention-getting figure adds up and appears credible, so Ryan earns the rare Geppetto Checkmark,” the Post concluded. Most claims the Post checks for facts end up earning one to four Pinocchios for their level of half-truths, fabrications or falsehoods.


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