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Arithmetic behind Obama’s “mandate” to raise taxes on the rich doesn’t add up

President Barack Obama took his so-called ‘mandate‘ to raise taxes on the rich a step further today, claiming at a press conference that not only do the majority of Americans agree with him on this issue, people who didn’t vote for him also support raising taxes on the rich.

Asked by a reporter if “closing loopholes instead of raising rates” would “satisfy” him, the President said that it wouldn’t, and mused that his stance on this issue “shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody” at this point.

“If there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more,” the President said, adding that, “I think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate, and the majority of voters agreed with me, not — by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”

This is not the first time Obama and his advisers have claimed that last week’s presidential election was proof positive that Americans support his agenda to raise taxes on America’s job creators.

In a live statement last Friday the President called the issue “a central question during the election” and claimed that on Election Day “we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach.” On Sunday Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod claimed that even though the election was close, it was not close “on this particular issue.”

“As I said, if you look at the exit polls, I think it was somewhere around 60 percent of the American people agree with the President’s position on this issue of taxes,” he said.

The only national exit poll that asked voters specifically about tax increases was one published by Fox News. Fox News reported that less than half of the respondents – 47 percent – supported an “increase only on income over $250,000,” while 13 percent wanted tax increases for everyone and 35 percent didn’t want tax increases for anyone.

While it is true that a grand total of 60 percent of respondents supported raising taxes on the rich, 13 percent of those respondents specifically said they thought taxes should be raised on all Americans, not just those Americans making more than $250,000 a year. Obama has repeatedly said both on the campaign trail and in official White House statements that he does not want to raise taxes on middle class Americans. Taken at his word, that means the 13 percent of Americans who said they want to raise taxes on all Americans do not “agree with the President’s position on this issue of taxes” and thus cannot be counted in the President’s mythical majority.

It’s also important to note that only 5,179 respondents got far enough in Fox’s exit poll to reach this question. This is far outside the statistical margin of error for purposes of polling. But for the purposes of claiming that Obama has a ‘mandate’ to raise taxes on small business owners and families making a combined total of $250,000, it’s not accurate to say that exit polls showed that the majority of voters agree with him on this issue. What is accurate is that 2,434 voters said that they agreed with him on this issue, and of those 2,434 voters, 706 were Romney supporters.

At his press conference today Obama claimed there’s “a clear majority of the American people who recognize if we’re going to be serious about deficit reduction, we’ve got to do it in a balanced way.”

Coming from the person whose campaign doggedly went after the math behind the Romney-Ryan budget and claimed that the ‘arithmetic’ just doesn’t add up,’ President Obama should know better than to use faulty arithmetic to justify his push to raise taxes on the ‘rich.’


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