PolitiFact calls Tim Pawlenty's "undertaxed" talk false

Yesterday we drew attention to a column by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post, quoting Tim Pawlenty at a meeting with Beltway journalists: "I don't think the argument can be credibly made that the United States of America is undertaxed compared to our competitors." Oh? PolitiFact took Pawlenty up on that challenge, and insisted that his pants were on fire.

Marcus had pointed out that, "The United States is on the low end in terms of the overall tax burden -- 28 percent of gross domestic product in 2007, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, compared with an average of 36 percent in the 30 OECD countries. Only South Korea, Mexico and Turkey were lower."

She was right, PolitiFact said.

Pawlenty's explanation, via a spokesman: The governor was figuring corporate tax rates into the equation:

"This unacceptably high corporate tax rate makes the U.S. less competitive by encouraging companies to shift investment to nations with lower corporate tax rates," said spokesman Alex Conant.

PolitiFact wasn't buying it. The Pulitzer-prize winning website said it wasn't going to wade into the question of whether Americans are overtaxed in a general sense, but concluded:

"There is a credible argument to be made that the U.S. is undertaxed compared to its competitors. So we rate his statement False.

Read the full analysis here.

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