There’s a reader – let’s call him “Wiley” – who keeps spamming me and other local journalists with political chain-letter screeds that more often then not are false, easily disproved with only the briefest research. Wiley’s latest came today.
“WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NO RAISING OF TAXES FOR PEOPLE MAKING LESS THAN 250,000.00 DOLLARS? THANKS ALOT YOU IDIOT DEMOCRATS, HIS LIES JUST KEEP MOUNTING!!” the e-mail said. (I’ve preserved the all-caps format so you can see it just as I did.) “YOU WANTED CHANGE……………….YOU GOT IT…….THE FIRST MARXIST PRES. OF THE US! AND THE BIGGEST LIAR OF ALL!!!!”
Well, maybe not the biggest, Wiley.
I opened the attachment, and this was the forwarded message:
Starting in 2011 (next year folks) your W-2 tax form sent by your employer will be increased to show the value of whatever health insurance you are given by the company. It does not matter if that’s a private concern or Governmental body of some sort.
If you’re retired? So what; your gross WILL go up by the amount of insurance you get.
You will be required to pay taxes on a large sum of money that you have never seen.
Take your tax form you just finished and see what $15,000 or $20,000 additional gross does to your tax debt. That’s what you’ll pay next year. For many it also puts you into a new higher bracket so it’s even worse.
This is how the government is going to buy insurance for 15 % that don’t have insurance and it’s only part of the tax increases.
Not believing this I researched the summaries and here’s what I’m reading:
On page 25 of 29: TITLE IX REVENUE PROVISIONS- SUBTITLE A: REVENUE OFFSET PROVISIONS – (sec. 9001, as modified by sec. 10901) Sec.9002. “requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employee’s gross income.”
Joan Pryde is the senior tax editor for the Kiplinger letters. Go to Kiplinger’s and read about 13 tax changes that could affect you. Number 3 is what I just told you about.
Why am I sending you this? The same reason I hope you forward this to every single person in your address book. People have the right to know the truth because an election is coming in November and we need to vote wisely, voting is not a popularity contest. If we like how our city, state and federal government employees are working, vote the same. If not, GET THEM OUT!
So I Googled the message’s first sentence and immediately found three reputable websites debunking this garbage. The St. Petersburg Times’s Pulitzer-winning PolitiFact.com might’ve put it best, giving this chain letter its “pants on fire” rating.
Employers will have to start listing the cost of insurance in tax year 2011 (appearing on the W-2s that workers get in 2012, but “that amount will not be taxed,” PolitiFact reports. “Current law excludes health insurance from taxable income, and there’s nothing in the health care law that changes that.”
The new health insurance law eventually will penalize those without any insurance at all; the W-2 reporting requirement is to help the IRS verify coverage, it noted. It also checked the Kiplinger article that the e-mail referenced, finding it says the value of the health care insurance reported on the W-2 “is not considered taxable income.”
“So the e-mail’s own evidence refutes its premise,” PolitiFact concludes. “Assuming the e-mail’s author read that Kiplinger entry, we can only conclude that this is a deliberate attempt to upset and mislead voters. This sort of fear mongering rates a Pants on Fire.”
Dear readers, the Internet is a many-splendored thing – an endless font of information, entertainment and opinion at your fingertips and in your inbox. But lots of the information it provides – particularly on political matters – is false, written maliciously by people with axes to grind but too lazy or craven to find facts to support their stances. Don’t be taken in by it; always check the facts for yourself (especially before you forward it to me, for crying out loud).
More of Wiley’s greatest hits, after the jump…
Back on June 17, Wiley sent out an email under the subject line “VERY IMPORTANT!! HB 1388 Passed.”
“This just proves the news media cover up of serious news and bills that they don’t want the public to know about. Along with our gutless politicians that allow America to be taken over by our ENEMIES!” he wrote in the body of the e-mail. “HIEL (sic) OBAMA welcome to AMERIKA!”
The attached chain e-mail says:
My Fellow Americans,
You just spent $20,000,000 to move members and supporters of Hamas, a terrorist organization, to the United States ; housing, food, the whole enchilada.
HB 1388 PASSED
Whether you are an Obama fan, or not, EVERYONE IN THE U.S. needs to know….
Something happened…HB 1388 was passed, behind our backs. You may want to read about it… It wasn’t mentioned on the news… just went by on the ticker tape at the bottom of the CNN screen.
Obama funds $20M in tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA . This is the news that didn’t make the headlines.
By executive order, President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in “migration assistance” to the Palestinian refugees and “conflict victims” in Gaza .
The “presidential determination”, which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States , was signed and appears in the Federal Register.
Few on Capitol Hill, or in the media, took note that the order provides a free ticket replete with housing and food allowances to individuals who have displayed their overwhelming support to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the parliamentary election of January 2006.
Now we learn that he is allowing thousands of Palestinian refuges to move to, and live in, the US at American taxpayer expense.
These important, and insightful, issues are being “lost” in the blinding bail-outs and “stimulation” packages.
Doubtful? To verify this for yourself: www.thefederalregister.com/d.p/2009-02-04-E9-2488
PLEASE PASS THIS ON… AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW
WE are losing this country at a rapid pace.
Wrong again. In fact, it’s another “pants on fire!” (Wiley, you must be running out of pants pretty quickly… I think Kohl’s is having a sale…)
As PolitiFact.com, FactCheck.org and snopes.com note, HR 1388 (not “HB” 1388, as there’s no such designation) is the Serve America Act, which reauthorizes and expands the AmeriCorps program first established in 1993 and doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with Palestinians. In fact, there has been no act of Congress doing anything like what the e-mail describes.
As the liar’s email invites you to “verify,” President Obama did issue a presidential memorandum on Jan. 27, 2009 – a week after he was sworn into office – answering the United Nation’s plea for help in aiding Gaza Strip residents displaced by fighting between Hamas and Israel by authorizing the Secretary of State to spend up to $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund. Here’s his memo, and here it is in the Federal Register. As the State Department explained a week later:
Of the $20.3 million in new ERMA funds, $13.5 million will go to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), $6 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and $800,000 to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These organizations are distributing emergency food assistance, providing medical assistance and temporary shelter, creating temporary employment, and restoring access to electricity and potable water to the people of Gaza.
It didn’t, however, authorize any Palestinian immigration to the United States. And it’s little different from President George W. Bush’s May 2007 determination authorizing $29.5 million for “humanitarian needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia, Sudan, and Chad” plus “breaks in the food pipeline for refugees in Africa, and in the West Bank and Gaza.”
But wait, there’s more!
On June 23, Wiley forwarded me a chain e-mail about comments supposedly made “a few weeks back” by Andy Rooney on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” A brief excerpt:
I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.
I have the right ‘NOT’ to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.
When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling; it is the Law of Probability.
In fact, Rooney himself debunked this on national TV – five years ago. “There’s a collection of racist and sexist remarks on the Internet under a picture of me with the caption ‘ANDY ROONEY SAID ON 60 MINUTES,’” he said. “If I could find the person who did write it using my name I would sue him.”
Any info on that, Wiley?