This OOTD comes to us from Jeryl Bier, and it’s a bit complicated — but only because President Obama and his campaign made it so. Obama has been claiming that he has cut taxes for the middle class “every year that I’ve been President.” But by how much? That’s where someone has some math problems. Here’s the original July 9th speech:

That’s why I’ve cut middle-class taxes every year that I’ve been President — by $3,600 for the typical middle-class family. Let me repeat: Since I’ve been in office, we’ve cut taxes for the typical middle-class family by $3,600.

The problem starts with Obama mixing an aggregate number with an emphasis on “every year.” As Jeryl discovers from the White House site, the claim of $3600 in savings is an aggregate of four years’ worth of two different tax credits — only one of which was his alone, the Making Work Pay credit that was part of the stimulus package.  A typical family of four at average earning saved $800 a year in 2009 and 2010 with that tax credit, which expired after the 2010 tax year.  The additional $2000 comes from the payroll-tax holiday in 2011 and 2012 that saves about $20 a week — even though that proposal came from both Republicans and Democrats.  However, the payroll tax holiday isn’t truly a tax cut; it reduces the contribution of each worker into their supposed Social Security retirement fund, which will either cause a shortfall later that will have to be covered by tax increases or result in lower benefits being paid out.  Those credits do add up to $3600 over four years, and have resulted in no discernable economic stimulus.

Apparently, Obama was so confusing that even his own campaign couldn’t figure out what he was trying to say.  They bowdlerized Obama’s quote — and made it sound as though Obama was claiming to have saved middle-class families $3600 each year:

Maybe Obama needs to repeat it one more time … and this time, get the math right.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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