High Five: Our most-clicked items from December

Statements from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, shown here in 2014, topped our December High Five. (AP Photo)
Statements from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, shown here in 2014, topped our December High Five. (AP Photo)

The fact checks that got the most page views in December 2015 cover a wide swath of topics, ranging from taxes and Obamacare to the relationship between the NRA and the KKK.

Here's a look.

1. Paul Ryan: The U.S. "tax rate on successful small businesses is 44.6 percent," while the business tax rate in Canada is 15 percent.

Our rating: True.

While arguing for tax reform, the House speaker compared the difference in tax rates for small businesses in the United States with the general business tax rate in Canada.

The Janesville Republican was right on both numbers. Indeed, if he used the small business rate in Canada, the gap would be even larger. Of course, he was talking about the rate. What individual businesses may pay in taxes varies.


2. Scott Walker: "From 2010-2014, median household income" in Wisconsin "has actually gone up 7.4 percent."

Our rating: Mostly False.

In the best light, median household income in Wisconsin rose by 7.4 percent from 2010 to 2014.

But the better figures account for inflation, something the Republican governor didn't do. And by that measure, income dropped by 1.1 percent during that period.

3. Ron Johnson: "Probably less than 4 percent" of Wisconsin residents "are enjoying the subsidies" from Obamacare.

Our rating: True.

The Republican U.S. senator, who is being challenged by Democrat Russ Feingold in the 2016 election, calculated this figure based on enrollment data and Census Bureau population statistics. Those numbers put the figure at 2.9 percent.

4. American Action Network: Under conservative leadership, Congress has reduced the federal deficit by 60 percent – nearly $800 billion."  


Our rating: Mostly False.

The claim was made by the Washington, D.C.-based center-right group in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ad praising Ryan.

The deficit reduction is actually somewhat larger for the period cited by the group, 2010 to 2015.

But for most of that period, Republicans controlled only the House. Meanwhile, Democrats controlled the Senate for nearly the entire period, with fellow Democrat Barack Obama in the White House. And experts said the recovering economy, boosting tax revenues, has played a greater role as politicians in bringing deficits down.

5. Harry Alford: The National Rifle Association was "founded by religious leaders who wanted to protect freed slaves from the Ku Klux Klan."

Our rating: Pants on Fire.

Sometimes a news event or a cite on social media will produce clicks on an old fact check, like this one from 2013.

the original statement was made by the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Video of his remarks was posted by the Milwaukee County Republican Party.

The NRA itself says the group was formed by Union Civil War veterans to improve soldiers’ marksmanship. And we found no evidence that religious leaders founded the NRA to protect freed slaves from the KKK.