The Truth-O-Meter Says:

Says that under his tax plan, seniors making less than $50,000 per year won't pay any income taxes.

Barack Obama on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 in a TV ad.

Seniors get a special break

In a new 2-minute TV ad, Barack Obama explains his economic plans and contrasts them with John McCain's. In two other Truth-O-Meter rulings, we examined Obama's claims about his plans for small businesses and the middle class. Here, we'll address his plan for senior citizens.

He says in the ad that "seniors making less than $50,000, who are struggling with the rising costs of food and drugs on fixed incomes, won’t pay income taxes at all."

That is correct. Obama's tax plan specifies that he would "eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year." The campaign estimates it will cut taxes an average of $1,400 for 7-million seniors.

It's worth noting that Obama's proposal has been criticized on several fronts.

Some economists have questioned whether it's a wise policy because seniors already receive favorable tax treatment. The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan tax research group, said Obama's plan would create inequity by eliminating taxes for senior citizens who earn a modest income but continuing to tax younger workers earning the same amount. Also, it would help seniors who are currently paying income taxes but provide no benefit for those too poor to owe any tax.

Still, Obama accurately describes his plan in the ad. We rate his statement True.

About this statement:

Published: Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Subjects: Taxes


Tax Policy Center, Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Tax Plans, Updated Aug. 15, 2008

Obama campaign, BARACK OBAMA: HELPING AMERICA’S SENIORS , accessed Sept. 30, 2008

Associated Press, Obama's Plan To Un-Tax Seniors Draws Fire , Aug. 12, 2008

Tax Foundation, Obama’s Income Tax Cliff for Senior Citizens , Aug. 22, 2008

Written by: Bill Adair
Researched by: Bill Adair
Edited by: Amy Hollyfield

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