Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fact checking the "fact-checkers"

Decided I'd have some fun with the most recent version of Glenn Kessler's fiction-checking.

He starts by claiming that since only 5500 estates paid estate tax in a recent year, it's not a big issue.  This comes as something of a surprise to two friends of mine who both practice estate law for a living, to put it mildly.  Plus, the $19.3 billion collected in 2014 could have been put to actual good use instead of subsidizing clowns like Elon Musk.  So not only does Kessler miss the fact that a lot of work goes into A-B trusts and other ways of avoiding the tax, but also misses completely that it is pretty big.  Three Pinocchios for Kessler.

Next, he claims that Trump's claim that our corporate tax rate is 60% higher than the OECD average.  Well, 39.1%/25.5% is, indeed, 53.33% higher than the average.  Kessler tries to redefine the question away from what Trump said, but that's an inherently dishonest ploy that Kessler uses often.  Another five Pinocchios for Kessler.

Next, Kessler tries to get around the obvious fact that over 90% of taxpayers use some form of help with their taxes.  He remains true to form by admitting it's true, then trying to redefine the question.  Um, Glenn, just because help is readily available, often for a price, doesn't mean that help isn't needed.  Another three Pinocchios for Kessler.

Next, Kessler tries to use 2016 estimates to determine the impact of a tax plan released in 2017.  Five Pinocchios plus a "zerbert" for violation of causality.  In the next bit, Kessler seizes on Trump's prior  rejection of the Reagan tax cuts to try to say something, exactly what I'm not sure.  No Pinocchios, but a body slam for a tu quoque fallacy. 

Next, Kessler attacks the tax cuts in Indiana as small--OK, 0.2% of 3.4% doesn't seem huge, but it's nearly a 6% cut in the tax rate.  Four Pinocchios and an F in math for Kessler.

Finally, Kessler winds up with a whopper; he claims, without ever having seen a recent Trump tax form, that Trump would not benefit from repealing the AMT.  He does encourage felonious leaks, however, by noting the case in 2005.  Let's give that one another three Pinocchios. 

Overall, I grant Kessler 23 Pinocchios plus a body slam, a zerbert, aiding and abetting a felony, and an F in math.

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