The Pants of Truth


A lie can run around the world
six times while the truth is still trying to put on its pants. Mark Twain

It’s Halloween and there’s nothing more frightening than the damage caused by lies masquerading as truth. The lies spawned during election season are especially dangerous because they feed on ignorance and incite fear. And the most effective political lies contain a drop of truth in the vat of swill.

One such currently-circulating lie concerns a new tax on home sales. The claim is that all home sales are now subject to a 3.8% tax due to the new Health Care Bill. And the Democratic party is presented as the Freddie Krueger responsible for this nightmare.

Here’s the real story. The Health Care Bill does implement this tax for 2013 but it will affect only the top-earning 2% of families, according to the Tax Foundation. You can review an accurate portrayal of the new tax via the nonpartisan Fact Check organization: http://www.factcheck.org/2010/04/a-38-percent-sales-tax-on-your-home. And be sure to note that just having a high income is not enough to invoke this tax. That high-income person must have also sold real estate at a profit greater than the allowable capital gains exclusion of $250,000 singles/$500,000 married before the 3.8% tax kicks in. In this harsh market where most sellers make no profit, I wish all of my clients had this 3.8% burden in exchange for pocketing a $500,000+ selling profit.

Fact Check’s website is a great resource for separating fiction from fact, regardless of your political leanings. Similarly, snopes.com should be the first place you go whenever someone e-mails you a “horrifying-but-I-swear-this-one-is-true” story. Before you forward the tale to everyone you know, check its truthiness at an unbiased site like www.snopes.com.

And please give poor Truth a chance to put on his pants. It’s cold out there…

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