Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Fact-checking Austan Goolsbee

Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee discusses the economy on "This Week with Christiane Amanpour."
Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee discusses the economy on "This Week with Christiane Amanpour."

President Barack Obama last week named Austan Goolsbee as the new chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. That earned the economist an appearance on This Week with Christiane Amanpour -- along with a debut appearance on the Truth-O-Meter.

Goolsbee has a Ph.D. in economics and is a professor at the University of Chicago; he also advised Obama during the 2008 campaign. We fact-checked two of his statements.

A battle brewing in Congress right now is whether to renew expiring tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush. Goolsbee reiterated the administration's position that the only tax cuts that should be renewed are those for individuals who earn less than $200,000 and couples who make less than $250,000. Extending current tax rates would "average more than $100,000 a year to millionaires and even billionaires," Goolsbee said. We looked into that statement and rated Goolsbee's statement Mostly True. The numbers show that millionaires and up would see increased taxes of more than $100,000 a year if the tax cuts expire. Goolsbee left out the fact that taxes also would go up for some non-millionaires.

We also checked Goolsbee's statement that House Republican leader John Boehner has called for "repealing the rest of the stimulus, which would raise taxes on 110 million middle class people." We found that Boehner and other Republicans have talked about putting a halt to all unspent stimulus. But when you dig into the nitty-gritty of the Republicans' plan, it specifically notes that it does not include repeal of tax cuts. We rated his statement False.