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Page Not Found: Was Reuters Right or Wrong?

If you click this link you’ll arrive at a page that, for now, reads, “Our apologies, the requested page was not found. Please double-check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization.”

Earlier today that link contained a story that drew heavy fire from the White House and Media Matters. Reuters produced an analysis of Obama’s budget that contained the following:

The Obama administration’s plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families. . . .

The targeted tax provisions were enacted under the Bush administration’s Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Among other things, the law lowered individual tax rates, slashed taxes on capital gains and dividends, and steadily scaled back the estate tax to zero in 2010.

If the provisions are allowed to expire on December 31, the top-tier personal income tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. But lower-income families will pay more as well: the 25 percent tax bracket will revert back to 28 percent; the 28 percent bracket will increase to 31 percent; and the 33 percent bracket will increase to 36 percent. The special 10 percent bracket is eliminated.

Investors will pay more on their earnings next year as well, with the tax on dividends jumping to 39.6 percent from 15 percent and the capital-gains tax increasing to 20 percent from 15 percent. The estate tax is eliminated this year, but it will return in 2011 — though there has been talk about reinstating the death tax sooner.

The article then dissected the impact of the alternative minimum tax under Obama’s budget (it’d be painful) then provided a number of key bullet points about the budget:

Middle-class families also will find fewer tax breaks available to them in 2010 if other popular tax provisions are allowed to expire. Among them:

  • Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;
  • The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies;
  • The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;
  • Individuals who don’t itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;
  • The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.

Robert Gibbs, Obama’s Press Secretary, called Reuters and angrily denounced the article as a lie. Media Matters attacked Reuters, purported providing a breakdown on everything Reuters got wrong.

And Reuters may have gotten it wrong. But what is interesting is that Reuters pulled the entire article instead of fixing it. What exactly did Reuters get wrong? The White House says the Bush tax cuts are not going away, except for people who make over $250,000.00. But is it true? The Democrats have wanted to scrap the whole package of tax cuts.

When RedState or most other sites, on the left and right, get something wrong, we strike through it, note the error, and proceed with corrections. Reuters did not do that. Why? And what about the bullet list at the bottom? Does the White House dispute that it has proposed that those go away? Thumbing through the proposal, it looks like Reuters got that all right.

So what did Reuters get wrong?

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