McMahon Campaign Economist Responds to Claim Check Analysis of Tax Cut Ad

McMahon Campaign Economist Responds to Claim Check Analysis of Tax Cut Ad


John Dunham, an economist working for Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign, says the Courant’s Claim Check feature  made “fatal flaws” in its analysis of a McMahon ad in which the candidate claims her tax plan would cut the average Connecticut family’s federal income taxes by $500 a month.The $500 figure was calculated by the campaign using a family income of $125,000 and comparing taxes under McMahon’s plan to what a family would pay in 2013 if the current Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire. The Claim Check column rated the ad “significantly misleading,” noting that $125,000 is not the average family income in Connecticut and that the ads left the impression that taxpayers would see a $500 tax cut from what they are currently paying. Compared to what an average Connecticut family currently pays in taxes, McMahon’s proposal would actually yield a savings of $82 a month.

In a written statement, Dunham did not directly address either point, but noted, as the campaign had previously, that given the campaign’s decision to compare McMahon’s plan to a family’s tax liability in 2013 rather than the present,  the campaign was obligated to use the tax rates that would be in effect next year if there is no Congressional action to extend the Bush tax cuts.

Dunham did not dispute that $125,000 is an incorrect figure for what the McMahon ad described as the income of “the average Connecticut family,” but said the income amount was a “reasonable starting point,” because it is half the $250,000  figure that President Obama has identified as the upper limit of the middle class.

In a reference to the rating categories used by Claim Check, Dunham rated the Claim Check on McMahon’s ad as “Mostly Inaccurate.”

Read or download Dunham’s full statement below.

Download (DOC, 16KB)

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2 thoughts on “McMahon Campaign Economist Responds to Claim Check Analysis of Tax Cut Ad

  1. Russ

    President Obama was talking about gross income, not taxable income. Therefore, $125,000 is not a reasonable input to McMahon’s calculation, which requires one to provide their taxable income, not their gross income. For married couples filing jointly, the gross annual income that currently corresponds to a taxable income of $125,000 is $136,600 with the standard deduction and considerably higher with itemized deductions (most likely over $150,000). It is families with this gross annual income that would supposedly receive McMahon’s benefit in 2013. How many people think this example is representative of average middle class families? It would be much more accurate to say that McMahon’s example applies to the upper middle class and that most of the middle class would receive much less of a benefit in 2013, assuming that the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, and would have received practically no benefit in 2012, had her plan been in place this year.

    1. Ant

      Any way you pick apart her plan it’s still
      Much better than what Malloy did to us this year. He raised taxes on everyone than cut funding to
      Cities and towns which in turn caused my city to raise the mill rate to make up the difference. If her plan says my taxes at the federal level will b lower instead of higher . She’s got
      My vote . Thes tax raising mf ers need the boot and I’ll start with Linda and Obama can b next


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