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Fact Check Friday: Dueling Fiscal Cliff Deceptions

House Speaker John Boehner outside is office at the U.S. Capitol - Dec. 7, 2012 (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker John Boehner outside is office at the U.S. Capitol – Dec. 7, 2012 (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - It’s Fact Check Friday again on WCBS 880, where, with the help of factcheck.org, a nonpartisan non-profit part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, we get to the truth.

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Wayne Cabot Checks The Facts

The headline today is “Dueling Fiscal Cliff Deceptions” and Rob Farley checked in from factcheck.org to tell us who is doing the deceiving.

“Fair to say both sides, of course. A lot of numbers being thrown around here,” he told WCBS 880′s Wayne Cabot.

“We’re strengthening Medicare, not shifting costs to seniors,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said on “Fox News Sunday.”

True or false?

“That’s not quite accurate,” Farley said. “There’s actually several proposals that would increase costs to seniors almost to the tune of about $33 billion over ten years. There’s some higher premiums for upper income folks and also some new fees and surcharges for new enrollees. There are some seniors that would get hit,”

Then there’s House Speaker John Boehner, also on Fox News.

“Look at the fact that they’ve put $400 billion worth of unspecified cuts up that they’d be willing to talk about it,” Boehner said.

True or false?

“Well, the administration has laid out about $600 billion worth of what it calls ‘cuts and reforms’ to manditory programs. About half of it’s for Medicare. What we have is sort of a differnce in language here. What one side is calling ‘cuts’ the other side is calling ‘cuts and reforms.’ So, you’ve got some of that,” Farley said. “But it certainly includes some fees and things like that that most people wouldn’t consider cuts.”

“How did you wade through all this? I man, the language is so murky. How did you lift the fog on all of these slogans and half truths?” asked Cabot.

“You know, we rely on the Congressional Budget Office and folks like the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and try and go through the reports and things like that. But it’s a lot and certainly a lot for voters to sort through. That’s for sure,” Farley said.

On Friday, Boehner was still insisting that raising tax rates will hurt small businesses, and won’t help the economy.

But when he was asked by reporters today whether he might be willing to accept some increase in the top tax rate, which is currently 35 percent, Boehner said only that “there are a lot of things that are possible” to get the revenue that President Barack Obama is looking for.

Boehner says, though, that nothing will happen if Obama takes a “my way or the highway” approach to avoiding the fiscal cliff.

The House speaker says there’s been no progress in negotiations on how to avoid the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts. He’s calling on Obama to come up with a new offer.

Obama and Boehner spoke privately on Wednesday. The speaker called the phone call pleasant but unproductive

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)