Saturday, May 26, 2012

Night of the living dead Obamacare tax memes

A muddled scare email about a so-called federal sales tax that Snopes debunked two years ago is still making the rounds. A relative got a version of it yesterday in a round-robin email from an anxious conservative in the Midwest.

Per Snopes, the kernel of truth is a 3.8% income tax, imposed to support Medicare, that affects only investment profits over $125,000 per married person or $200,000 per single, and could possibly apply to capital gains from a profitable real estate sale. Snopes explains that, considering the available exclusions for sale of a principal residence, this tax doesn't apply to a whole lot of people. I might add, especially given the underwaterness of so very many principal residences.

The email that's now making the rounds has garbled that idea into a claim that the health care bill imposes a national "sales tax" on the sales of middle-class people's houses. Which would be a very different proposition. And about which we would have heard by now if it were true, don't you think?

The email comes in several versions. The one that my relative got is very nearly this text, which I can link to because it was collected and dissected on the "Democratic Underground" discussion site in January 2012.

Except that in the Midwestern correspondent's version the link at the end of the message doesn't work.

In the version collected on the Democratic Underground site, the link at the foot of the farrago, the one that says, "You can check this out for yourself at:..." is a functioning URL. It goes to this 2010 item on the House Republican blog. There, we find a predecessor version of the tale that stretches stuff only a little, not as far as using the words, "sales tax." Archive.org shows the original version as of April 2010 was worded a bit differently than the current one, but that version doesn't say "sales tax" either.

Wonder if this stuff has been circulating steadily for two years or if the faithful are dusting it off in time for the election?

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