Reported by Ellen - October 26, 2008 - 695 comments
Never mind that both Politifact.com and Factcheck.org have both debunked the McCain campaign's "welfare" accusations against Barack Obama's tax cut plan. Dick Morris, himself a major tax delinquent, went on Hannity & Colmes Friday night (10/24/08) and not only reiterated the "welfare" smear, Morris went on to baselessly suggest that tax cut recipients would spend their money on liquor and/or drugs. With video.
During his time with Sean Hannity, Morris said, “Now I can finally say it. You are not cutting taxes for a hundred million people. You are giving welfare checks to the 55 million people of those hundred that don't pay taxes at all.”
Morris' use of the term, “welfare” echoes the John McCain campaign. As Politifact noted in its article called It's Not Welfare, it's not only hypocritical of the McCain campaign to make this charge, given that they are offering a similar type of tax cut,
“We also think it's misleading to call Obama’s plan 'welfare.' Welfare is a loaded word that connotes government aid to those who aren’t working. Obama’s tax credit for wage earners is just that, for wage earners.”
Uncharacteristically, Hannity did not join in the racially charged attacks and stuck to the “socialism” smear. Hannity said, “(Obama's) now doubled down on socialism for America. He's now doubled down on redistributing wealth in America.”
Kirsten Powers was substituting for Alan Colmes that night. Powers has always been a fickle Democratic advocate (though steadfast in cozying up to conservatives). In this instance, she was thoroughly pro-Democrat. Previously, a meek, lackluster host, in this segment, she was a picture of pert perkiness and never stopped mugging for the camera. Either she's had a drastic change of personality or she's gunning for something at FOX News. If I were Colmes, I'd watch my back.
Morris, who has had a long-standing antagonism with Colmes, said to her, “Have I told you what a welcome replacement you are?”
Powers pointed out that McCain has a similar tax credit as Obama's but for health care. “Why is that not welfare?” she asked.
Morris replied, “Well, I think there's some difference between an expenditure that where, if you spend money on health care, we will not tax that money.”
Reality check: McCain's plan is not an instance of money not being taxed but a “direct refundable tax credit” just like Obama's. The McCain campaign website states:
By making the tax code more equitable and transparent, John McCain will give every family a refundable tax credit - cash towards insurance - of $5,000 (Individuals receive $2,500). Every family in America, regardless of the source of their insurance or how much they make will get the same help.
Unfortunately, Powers let that one slide by her.
Morris continued, “And if you don't make enough, not to make the taxes, we'll help you pay for it. That's just like Medicare, just like Medicaid... A negative tax increase, or a tax cut, is just a check. Spend it on liquor, spend it on drugs, do whatever you want with it.”
That one did not get past her. She said, “There's no reason to believe they're spending it on liquor and drugs.”
Morris didn't argue that point. But he did insist that “it's absolute garbage” that Obama will lower taxes for those earning less than $250,000 a year. “When he's president of the United States, he's going to raise taxes on everybody,” Morris said.
“Are you psychic?” Powers asked, crinkling her nose flirtatiously. I'm not a big Powers fan but I have to admit she was effective.