The Associated Press posted a “fact check” of Tim Pawlenty’s May 23rd Iowa campaign speech yesterday and it is not up to their usual high standards. Below are segments of the AP report, followed by the truth:
PAWLENTY: “The truth is, people getting paid by the taxpayers shouldn’t get a better deal than the taxpayers themselves. That means freezing federal salaries, transitioning federal employee benefits, and downsizing the federal work force as it retires.” — Campaign announcement.
THE AP’s FACTS: A federal pay freeze is already in effect. Obama proposed and Congress approved a two-year freeze on the pay of federal employees, exempting the armed forces, Congress and federal courts.
THE REAL FACTS: Obama only partially froze federal pay. Under the President’s plan, federal employees will not receive cost-of-living increases in their pay in 2011 and 2012. However, most federal employees will still receive seniority-based pay increases over the next two years. Furthermore the AP completely ignores Pawlenty call for benefit reform. Obama has done nothing on that front.
PAWLENTY: “Barack Obama has consistently stood for higher taxes.” — Campaign announcement.
THE FACTS: Obama’s record shows more tax cutting than tax raising. The stimulus plan early in his presidency cut taxes broadly for the middle class and business, and more recently he won a substantial cut in Social Security taxes for a year. He also campaigned in support of extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all except the wealthy, whose taxes he wanted to raise. In office, he accepted a deal from Republicans extending the tax cuts for all. As for tax increases, Obama won congressional approval to raise them on tobacco and tanning salons. The penalty for those who don’t buy health insurance, once coverage is mandatory, is a form of taxation.
THE REAL FACTS: Obamacare was partially paid for by a $500 billion tax increase. The AP does not mention this number. More importantly, Pawlenty said Obama “has stood for higher taxes.” And he has. The AP only looks at what Obama has signed into law. They completely ignore all the taxes Obama “has stood” for raising. President Obama’s 2012 budget proposes 43 tax hikes that would raise taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.