Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Pants on Fire!
Chain email
"Pres. Obama's finance team is recommending a . . . 1% tax on all transactions at any financial institution."

Chain email on Sunday, October 31st, 2010 in a message via the Internet

E-mail claims Obama's finance team wants a 1-percent tax on every banking transaction

Is President Obama's finance team scheming with Congress to place a 1-percent tax on every banking transaction you make?

That's the assertion of an e-mail that's been showing up in local inboxes.

It says: "President Obama's finance team is recommending a transaction tax. His plan is to sneak it in after the November election to keep it under the radar. This is a 1% tax on all transactions at any financial institution."

The e-mail is anonymous -- isn't it always? -- but it says, in effect, that if you deposit $1,000, $10 will go to the government. If you withdraw $1,000, $10 from the balance remaining in your account will be sent to Washington. The e-mail claims that the bill, HR-4646, was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Because DeFazio is from Oregon, Oregon PolitiFact checked into the claim and reported its findings last month. Here's what they said, reprinted with a few editing changes:

The bill, HR-4646, is indeed actual legislation whose subject has something to do with taxation. But that's where the similarities end.

The "Debt Free America Act" was introduced by Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., in February 2010. He proposed a 1-percent tax on all money transactions, "including cash transactions, checks, credit cards, those processed through the Federal Reserve Bank, and those collected at the point of sale." Fattah's idea was to use the money to pay down the national debt and eventually replace the income tax. He has proposed similar legislation since 2004.

HR-4646 had no support -- and certainly not from Obama's "finance team" -- and is now dying a quiet death in committee. Yet the resolution continues to live online, where the DeFazio connection has been repeated by a former Hernando County (Fla.) commissioner.

Penny Dodge, DeFazio's chief of staff, told PolitiFact Oregon that the congressman opposes HR-4646. An unamused DeFazio doesn't know who is behind the e-mail attack.

"It's slanderous," DeFazio said of the electronic claim. "I have nothing to do with the bill, no one pays any attention to the bill. It's chronically introduced, and never received any attention before this."

One final point about the e-mail that's been circulating in Rhode Island. It says at the beginning, "You can confirm with Snopes as it is no exageration (sic)," a reference to our good friends at Snopes.com, which examines the truthfulness of urban legends.

Yet if you actually search Snopes.com, you'll discover that the website concluded that it IS an exaggeration. That's a trend we've been seeing a lot lately -- e-mails with bogus information that try to sound authentic by falsely claiming that Snopes has found it to be true.

For all those reasons, we rate this ridiculous e-mail Pants on Fire.