During the June 11 edition of Fox News’ Fox Friends, conservative commentator and actor Ben Stein misrepresented Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plan to raise the capital gains tax rate on the wealthiest earners. Stein stated, “I’m very worried about increasing the capital gains tax, unless you want to just increase it on people that are terribly wealthy,” whom he defined as “people that have an income of $5 million a year or more.” He added, “But people that have incomes in the hundreds and the low hundreds of thousands, people that have incomes in the five digits, that’s way — that’s crazy to increase their capital gains tax.” But Stein’s suggestion that Obama plans to raise the capital gains rate on “people that have incomes in the five digits” is false. In fact, Obama has said he would not raise the capital gains tax on individuals with income of less than $250,000. In a June 9 interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Obama said, “[K]eep in mind on all of these proposals, what I have said is, let’s make sure that we define the well-off so that we’re not hitting the middle class. I generally define well-off as people who are making $250,000 a year or more, and that means, for example, if we raise the capital gains tax, I would exempt people who are essentially small investors, and really capture the — those who have done very, very well over the last two decades.”
Stein isn’t stupid in the sense that he can’t perform basic mental functions. But his ability to ignore basic factual reality is pathological.