· In perhaps the most flagrant lie of the night, Kerry charged, ?Under President Bush, the middle class has seen their tax burden go up and the wealthiest?s tax burden has gone down. Now that?s wrong.? No, Kerry?s wrong. The average family of four earning $40,000 has seen an average tax reduction of $1,900. (Bush said $1,700 in the debate.) Either way, that constitutes a staggering 90% reduction from their previous income tax burden. And with the creation of the new 10% bracket, every person paying income taxes has received a tax cut. With respect to the other side of the class warfare argument, the top 1% now pays a slightly greater share of the overall tax burden than before.
· Kerry stated flatly, ?I have a plan to cover all Americans.? The nonpartisan Lewin Group (which was cited by Bush) calculated that Kerry?s plan would cover only 25.2 million out of 45 million uninsured Americans. As President Bush noted during the debate, the Lewin Group also found that the 10-year price tag would be $1.2 trillion, roughly double the cost estimated by the Kerry camp?which would cover barely half the number of people Kerry claims it would.
· Without batting an eyelash, a dour Kerry pronounced, ?Health-care costs for the average American have gone up 64 percent.? Except, they haven?t. It?s not entirely clear what constitutes ?health care costs,? but it is clear that health insurance premiums have not risen anywhere near that amount. The worst-case statistic, as calculated by the ultra-liberal Families USA (an organ of Big Labor), health insurance premiums have risen by 36 percent since 2000.
· Pulling a page from the Clinton handbook, Kerry said, ?Five million Americans have lost their health insurance in this country.? In fairness to Kerry, this is an accurate statistic?but also incredibly misleading. Because of population growth, the percentage of the population that is uninsured is the same as it was in 1996 (15.6%), and below the level it was in 1998 (16.3%).
· Although not challenged by Bush afterward, Kerry threw out an eye-popping?and entirely fictional?figure. The Massachusetts liberal, when discussing the provision in the Medicare prescription drug bill that prohibits the federal government from negotiating with the drug companies, charged that this would cause a ?$139 billion windfall profit to the drug companies coming out of your pockets.? The accountants behind the Academy Awards, Price Waterhouse Coopers, found that the impact on drug companies? profits would be negligible or even negative.
· In rattling off a litany of problems allegedly caused by Bush, Kerry claimed, ?tuitions have gone up 35 percent.? Actually, what students pay has gone down. From a June 28 cover story in the right-wing rag USA Today: ?What students pay on average for tuition at public universities has fallen by nearly one-third since 1998.?
· In one of the unintentionally funniest moments of the debate, Kerry countered what he himself had said earlier about Pell Grants. First, he said, ?They?ve cut the Pell Grants and the Perkins loans to help kids be able to go to college.? After Bush called him on the fib by pointing out that the number of kids getting Pell Grants has gone up, Kerry admitted, ?[T]he Pell Grants have gone up in their numbers.? He quickly added that this was ?because more people qualify for them because they don?t have money.? Actually, the real reason is that eligibility rules have been loosened in order to allow more kids to qualify.
Whether or not most voters will see the real America or John Kerry?s come Election Day remains to be seen. The answer could go a long way in determining the occupant of the White House for the next four years.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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