According to John Kerry, he will raise taxes on the highest tax bracket, those earning above $200,000 of taxable income. At the second debate, someone asked him to speak directly into the camera and say in simple and unequivocal terms that he would not raise taxes on anyone who earned less than $200,000. He did that. I discovered that his tax plan on his website says this also, but it also says something else in fine print significantly below that. It says he will raise taxes on people who earn less than 200,000, even as low as $87,000 for a member of a married couple filing separately.
What's worse is that it contradicts itself in close succession. The plan repeats his claim that the middle class tax cut will be kept: "Kerry's health and education plans would be paid for by rolling back the Bush tax cuts that only benefit families making over $200,000 (all families would still keep the middle-class tax cuts)." Then it says, "Specifically Kerry would: Restore the top two tax rates to their levels under President Clinton." Then it lists three more items. One of them directly affects people well into the middle class range: "Maintain the phase-out of personal exemptions and itemized deductions (PEP and PEASE)." Phasing out an exemption or decuction by reducing it does result in a net tax increase. The more obvious problem, though, is that he said that under no circumstances would he raise taxes on anyone earning lower than $200,000, and his plan repeats this claim a few times. Yet the plan also says that he'll return to Clinton-level taxes for the top two tax brackets, which means he'll raise taxes on the second level, which is lower than $200,000. Presumably he knows what his plan says. I'm not sure why he's so confident that he has a plan that will solve all these problems if he doesn't know what that plan is. That means he's lying. It's not too bright to run your campaign on the issue of honesty when you can lie through your teeth when someone asks you to speak simply and honestly into the camera and say you won't do something while at the same time to keep talking about your plan that will do exactly what you said you won't do. Thanks to Jason Smith for pointing this out. Jason's other claim is also highly interesting if true, but I can't substantiate it and didn't see any of the numbers backing it up.