07/15/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

They're Lying

The debate over the economy swung into high gear today as both presidential candidates gave speeches on the topic. That's as it should be: let this critical debate begin.

What's not okay is that one candidate -- John McCain -- and his team are making up damaging stuff that directly contradicts policies Obama has been crystal clear about.

When it comes to taxes, Obama has drawn a firm line in the sand at $250,000. He cuts taxes for the vast majority of families -- more than 95% -- and raises taxes only on those with incomes above $250,000. Whether its income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains, or stock dividends, his plan does not raise taxes on anyone below $250,000. He articulated this point today: "...if you're a family making less than $250,000, my plan will not raise your taxes -- not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."

Yet, from McCain's speech today: "If you believe you should pay more taxes, I am the wrong candidate for you. Senator Obama is your man. The choice in this election is stark and simple. Senator Obama will raise your taxes."

His top advisor, Doug Holtz-Eakin released a memo implying Obama would raise taxes on low-income families, those "making as little as $32,000 a year," a claim based on Obama's support for the Senate Democratic Budget resolution which contained no individual tax increases actually cut taxes for middle-class families.

McCain's "Jobs First" economic plan says: "If you are one of the 23 million small business owners in America who files as an individual rate payer, Senator Obama is going to raise your tax rates." But 99% of individuals with small business income make less than $250,000, so they won't see their taxes go up at all. In fact, Senator Obama has proposed a new 0% capital gains rate for small business and start ups -- it's McCain that would continue to tax small business capital gains at 15%.

McCain and Obama have very different economic plans, particularly regarding tax policy (read about them here). They have every right to go forth and build support for their plans and attack the other guy's. But this is not the way to do it. If McCain and his staff persist in twisting the truth like this, there can be no decent debate. It's a terrible disservice to the electorate and an abrogation of anything resembling straight talk.