No, no and 286,000 times no! The tax system brackets give marginal rates. This means that if the raise bumps you into a higher bracket then you pay more taxes only on the income in the higher bracket. Suppose that the tax bracket for income under $200k is 25 percent, and for income over $200k is 33 percent. If you get a raise that pushes your income from $195,000 to $205,000 then you only pay the higher 33 percent tax rate on the $5,000 that is above the $200k threshold not your whole income. Therefore, there is no (as in none, nada, not any) way that getting more money, and being pushed into a higher tax bracket will leave you with less money after taxes.Great catch! (Via Nyhan).
The really depressing thing about this isn't just that they're peddling misinformation. It's reporters and editors who don't know basic stuff about how, say, US income taxes work could not possibly be in a position to evaluate policy proposals from politicians. Or just campaign rhetoric, for that matter. I've talked about some instances where I believe most Americans have no idea what they're talking about -- what a federal budget deficit is, or whether or not they actually pay income taxes. But this is a good reminder that many of the reporters and editors (and TV producers) who cover this stuff may also have no idea what they're talking about.
Yes, there are quite a few excellent, well-informed reporters out there. But this kind of stuff is all-too-common, and, yeah, extremely depressing.
UPDATE (and correction): Greg Marx has plenty more, including a guest role for one of the commenters below. He also points out that it was USA Weekend, not USA Today, as I first had it. Corrected above.