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Update, Sept. 6, 2012, 10:43 a.m.: When we first posted this item, we did not address the distinction between all Americans and all American workers. Our report now addresses that difference, and we have changed the rating from True to Half True.
In making the case for President Barack Obama’s re-election, former President Bill Clinton vouched for job creation under Obama’s reign despite the "deeply damaged economy" he inherited.
Clinton singled out Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus program, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as a positive step for the economy.
"In 2010, as the president's recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around," Clinton said in his keynote Democratic National Convention speech. "The Recovery Act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes -- let me say this again -- cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people."
Clinton borrowed this factoid from the man of the week, who made it part of his 2008 campaign and bragged about it in his 2010 State of the Union speech. That night, Obama said, "We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families." PolitiFact rated that claim True.
Here’s why: The stimulus included tax cuts for many Americans, including a broad cut known as "Making Work Pay" intended to offset payroll taxes, which are automatically taken out of most workers’ paychecks and are not refundable.
Because of the stimulus, single workers collected a $400 tax credit, and working couples got $800. The credit didn’t come in the form of a check; it worked out so that most workers had about $400 less in federal income taxes withheld from their paychecks.
The result mostly mirrored what Obama promised he would do on the campaign. Obama pledged tax cuts of $500 for each worker and $1,000 for working couples. We rated the promise a Compromise on our Obameter because the resulting tax cut was a little lower than what Obama wanted.
Ahead of the 2008 election, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed the effects of Obama’s tax proposals for workers. The center determined about 95 percent -- more precisely, 94.3 percent -- of tax filers would receive a tax cut under Obama's plan based on the tax credit to offset payroll taxes.
The 5-percent sliver of workers who wouldn’t qualify included couples who make more than $250,000 or a single person making over $200,000
The tax cut expired at the end of 2011. Obama won another round of tax cuts for most workers in a December 2010 tax deal with Republicans in Congress. Those tax cuts -- worth about 2 percent a week -- expire in 2013.
However, Clinton left out an important qualifier: It’s a tax cut for 95 percent of working families.
Not everyone works -- think seniors or the unemployed, for example -- and when you account for those people, the percentage of people who get a tax cut drops to approximately 75 percent.
That’s still tax cuts for many Americans, but not close to the 95-percent range. We rate Clinton’s statement Half True.
Recording of remarks from Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, Sept. 5, 2012
PolitiFact, "Tax cut for 95 percent? Stimulus made it so," Jan. 28, 2010
PolitiFact, "Tax cuts for 95 percent? A closer look," Oct. 20, 2008
PolitiFact, "Create a tax credit of $500 for workers," last updated Jan. 4, 2011
The Tax Policy Center, Impact of Sen. Obama's tax proposals, Oct. 14, 2008
Thomas, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 , accessed Feb. 17, 2009
IRS.gov, "Making Work Pay Questions and Answers," accessed Sept. 5, 2012
Tax Policy Center, analysis of eliminating the Making Work Pay tax credit, June 14, 2012
Factcheck.org, Our Clinton nightmare, Sept. 6, 2012
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