Two days after the presidential debate, most media continue to overlook a fuzzy monetary line repeated by President Barack Obama over the past few months, points out Grumpy Editor.
In the debate with Mitt Romney, the president again mentions that he cut taxes for middle-class families by $3,600. Period.
That figure is trumpeted a lot lately on the campaign trail.
Yet, that $3,600 may be news to many taxpayers struggling to pay bills. That’s because there is an asterisk linked to that amount.
The “I’ve cut taxes” line extends to an appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes” last month as viewers heard Obama declare, “Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last 50 years. So I haven’t raised taxes. I’ve cut taxes for middle-class families by an average of $3,600 for a typical family.”
In a July 14 speech, similar to many on the campaign road, the “cut taxes” line comes out: “That’s why I’ve cut middle-class taxes every year that I’ve been president --- by $3,600 for the typical middle-class family."
Not mentioned, however, is that the $3,600 figure pertains to “a typical family making $50,000 a year” --- with special forms filed with the IRS along with tax returns.
As a White House website explains:
"A typical family making $50,000 a year has seen their taxes cut by $3,600 over the last four years, $800 in each of 2009 and 2010 due to the Making Work Pay tax credit and $1,000 in each of 2011 and 2012 due to the payroll tax cut."
The IRS describes the “Making Work Pay tax credit” on its website:
“In 2009 and 2010, the Making Work Pay provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided a refundable tax credit of up to $400 for working individuals and up to $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns. Most wage earners benefited from larger paychecks in 2009 and 2010 as a result of the changes made to the federal income tax withholding tables to implement the Making Work Pay tax credit."
But claiming the credit required workers to file Schedule M with their tax returns.