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Taxes

Anti-Trump Press Spins Bigger Paychecks as a Bad Thing

Tax refunds may be smaller, but that's because we paid less in taxes all year.

Louis DeBroux · Feb. 13, 2019

A recent Washington Post headline perfectly captures the length the media and Democrats (but we repeat ourselves) will go to spin, distort, and lie in order to deny any positive coverage to President Donald Trump and Republicans.

The headline reads “Millions of Americans could be stunned as their tax refunds shrink,” which on its face seems a pretty damning indictment of President Trump’s signature legislative achievement of his first two years. After all, Trump and congressional Republicans touted tax reform as a huge victory for the American people, yet now we are learn millions of Americans are receiving lower tax refunds than expected? Have Republicans pulled a fast one on the American people and lied about the benefits of the tax cuts?

Hardly.

The Post, having done a masterful job of burying the lede, eventually gets to the truth … in paragraph 13. After noting the average tax refund is down 8% from last year (about $170) and quoting American workers angry and frustrated at smaller tax refunds (for which they blame Republicans), the Post finally drops this little nugget of truth:

Many Americans may confuse their meager refunds as a sign that they paid more in taxes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Generally, that is not true.

According to the Tax Policy Center, 80 percent of filers received a tax cut, and about 5 percent wound up paying more in federal income taxes. The tax cuts showed up in fatter weekly or biweekly paychecks for most Americans, but few people noticed, according to polling.

“There’s a difference between taxes and your refund,” said Joseph Rosenberg, a senior research associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “People generally got a piece of their tax cut last year gradually in the form of lower withholding on their paychecks.”

In other words, 80% of Americans are receiving smaller refunds because fewer tax dollars were taken from their weekly paychecks!

And that is a very good thing. Aside from the simple fact of having more money on a regular basis, Nicole Kaeding, director of federal projects at the Tax Foundation, points out, “Getting a tax refund means that you gave the government an interest-free loan because you overpaid your taxes.”

A small percentage of Americans are feeling a pinch from the new tax law; primarily the more affluent taxpayers in high-tax, Democrat-run states. Under the new tax law, the SALT (state and local income taxes, and property taxes) deduction was capped at $10,000. In past years, these Democrat states have gotten away with forcing the rest of America to subsidize their lavish welfare programs and government-employee benefits. Voters in these states were apparently perfectly happy to keep electing leftist politicians who enact these high tax rates, knowing they could deduct those taxes on their federal returns and make the rest of us cover the difference. With the SALT deduction cap, they are finally feeling the sting.

To be sure, many Americans are excited to receive a large tax-refund check, despite personal-finance experts telling us that is simply not a good idea. As Rosenberg notes, “It’s a mystery why taxpayers seem to be comfortable — and even happy — with getting refund checks.” Our banks certainly would never give us interest-free loans, so why should we give the government one, rather than using that extra money to pay down debt or increase savings?

Despite the intentional misrepresentation and criticism by the press, the tax cuts have been an enormous success.

After the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the positive benefits kick in almost immediately. Hundreds of American corporations announced wage increases and bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 for rank-and-file workers. Even Walmart, the corporation leftists most love to hate because they claim it forces workers to labor for slave wages, responded to the tax cut by raising its minimum wage to $11/hour, a full 52% higher than the federal minimum wage demands.

Not surprisingly, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi referred to these worker windfalls as “pathetic,” “insignificant,” and “crumbs.” Other Democrats claimed the corporations had planned on these wage increases and bonuses anyway, and it was entirely coincidental that they occurred right after the Republican tax cuts.

Yet none other than Apple, the proudly “liberal,” Trump-hating corporation adored for its “wokeness” by idealistic “progressives,” admitted the GOP tax cuts were the catalyst. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that, due to the lower corporate tax rate, Apple would repatriate $250 billion dollars into the U.S. economy, in the process paying a $38 billion tax bill. Additionally, Apple handed out $2,500 in stock grants to employees, and announced an additional $350 billion investment in the U.S., creating 20,000 new jobs.

Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris, working hard to win the hearts of the party’s far-left wing and thus the Democrat 2020 presidential nomination, tweeted, “The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.”

Her spin is so demonstrably false that even The Washington Post’s “fact-checker” was obliged to award her Four Pinocchios for lying.

Even so, while the GOP/Trump tax cuts (which not a single Democrat voted for) have been a massive jumpstart to the economy, neither Trump nor Republicans can depend on a hostile press to really admit the truth. They’ll have to take this good news directly to the American people.

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