CNN Touts Tiny Obama Giveaway as 'Middle Class Benefit' Compared to 'Wealthy' Bush Tax Cuts

If you want to get tax policy made into law, you need it approved by the House, the Senate and … the media.

A July 27 CNNMoney story reported on the “tax hike nobody’s talking about,” which is the tiny Making Work Pay (MWP) tax credit included in President Obama’s stimulus package that expires at the end of the year, along with the Bush tax cuts.

The MWP reduces the amount of tax withheld at each paycheck and enables single filers to receive up to $400, and $800 for joint filers. CNN touted the MWP as “an extra $15 bump you’re used to getting each bi-weekly pay period” and perpetuated the media myth that the Bush tax cuts only benefited the wealthy:

“But unlike those cuts, which mostly benefit wealthier Americans, the Making Work Pay credit is largely hailed as a middle-class benefit, and will affect a wider base of taxpayers.”

The author referenced two liberal think tanks in his story, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Urban-BrookingsTaxPolicyCenter, and reached the startling conclusion that if the MWP extension isn’t passed, individuals will pay higher taxes:

“If the extension isn't passed, the 110 million families that received higher paychecks in 2009 and 2010 will be back to where they started and will owe more taxes than they did during those two years.”

The article failed to mention the MWP”s income tax filing confusion or the fact that the MWP didn’t take factor in higher costs of living in various cities where incomes are stretched.

The article followed standard liberal talking points, dismissing the Bush tax cuts as beneficial only to “wealthier Americans.” It never examined the tax cuts’ real effect on the middle class and lower tax brackets.

Ryan Ellis, director of tax policy at Americans for Tax Reform, told the Business and Media Institute that in terms of sheer size, the MWP “pales in comparison” to the Bush tax cuts.

“Low end" tax relief there [in Bush tax cuts] included: ending the marriage penalty for most married couples making less than $100k; doubling the child tax credit from $500 to $1000; carving a new 10 percent bracket out of the 15 percent bracket,” said Ellis. “

Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, told BMI that the MWP is more of a handout program and that the liberal media continue skewing the effects of the Bush tax cuts.

“Make Work Pay is mainly a welfare program that mails checks to people who don’t pay taxes,” Edwards said. “The left are so fascinated with see everything through the prism of redistribution that they never focus on economic growth.”

So those horrible Bush tax cuts at least cut taxes for those really pay them, rather than shovel a handout at those who don’t.