Biggest tax increase or biggest tax cut?

Sen. Dick Durbin talks taxes on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

It's not often that we get to fact-check a claim that a legislator finds so outrageous it nearly sends him hurling off the back of treadmill during a workout.

And so we felt compelled to dive into a spirited exchange on the Morning Joe program on MSNBC on March 24, 2010, between host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., over the tax effects of the health care reform bill.

Scarborough began by calling the health care reform bill "the largest tax increase in U.S. history."

Durbin responded that "it's also the biggest tax cut in history."

Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, later told Scarborough he was watching the exchange live while working out on a treadmill and when Durbin said the health care bill is also the biggest tax cut in history, "I almost tripped and flew off the back of the thing."

So, biggest tax increase in history or biggest tax cut? Doesn't seem to be much room for both being right.

We took a look at these as separate items, one analyzing Scarborough's claim, and one checking Durbin's. And lo and behold, we concluded they were both wrong. But just to be safe, maybe you'd better stay off any exercise equipment before reading any further.



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