By Bob Cesca: Okay, so this won't be a column about the biggest lie in the history of the universe. I have no idea what that might be. But I can safely say that today's column is about the biggest lie in the history of the last several days.
Before I dive into the specific lie, it's important to underscore the Mitt Romney Is A Lying Liar tote board, maintained by the intrepid Steve Benen. Last week alone, Benen noted 21 different Mitt Romney lies. That's three lies per day (that Benen is aware of), and they all line up with Romney's prevailing campaign strategy of "a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth gets its shoes on." In other words, these lies will resonate with voters, and when the lie is finally debunked it's already too late. And anyone who notices will probably chalk it up to "politics as usual."
Nevertheless, the big lie of the week is that the Affordable Care Act is the biggest tax increase in the history of forever times a thousand.
Here's Republican spokesmodel Rush Limbaugh:
“So ObamaCare is nothing more than the largest tax increase in the history of the world,” Limbaugh said. “And the people who were characterizing it as such were right and were telling the truth. We have the biggest tax increase in the history of the world right in the middle of one of this country’s worst recessions.”
The largest tax increase in the history of the world. This ostensibly includes the ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Greeks, Romans and whichever space alien culture built Stonehenge.
Fox News commentator James Pinkerton described the ACA as the "biggest tax hike in the universe," which is simply an insane notion especially given Emperor Palpatine's outrageous Death Star Tax Hike of 1958, passed just before he was assassinated by Darth Vader, Lando Calrissian and a ragtag group of rebels on the nearby forest moon of Endor.
The Examiner's Christopher Collins called it "the largest tax increase in American history," while citing the Heritage Foundation and Star Trek Romulan Charles Krauthammer as sources for this claim.
Is this true? Of course not.
Of the last handful of presidents, guess who's responsible for the largest tax hike.
According to the CBO, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 was the biggest tax hike in the last 30 years.
The mandate under the ACA is a distant fourth behind tax increases from Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. If we rewind further, back to 1950, the ACA is the 10th largest tax increase in recent American history. By the way, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th are all Bush 41, Reagan and Nixon tax increases. Clearly, those three Republican saints would never pass through the Norquist gauntlet.
Regardless of the facts, Limbaugh, Fox News and the others have a wickedly massive audience and the "biggest tax cut in the history of whatever" lie is already out there, while our documentation of the truth is just now lacing up its shoes.