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Nate Jackson / Sep. 30, 2020

We Have an Income Tax, Not a Wealth Tax

But you wouldn't know if from coverage of Trump and Biden's returns.

We wondered Monday if Joe Biden’s campaign hadn’t colluded with The New York Times in the latter’s reporting on information ostensibly pertaining to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Biden’s campaign released an ad about the story mere hours after it came out … on a Sunday. Then came Biden’s pre-debate release of his own tax returns. We can’t prove it, of course, but Biden and the Times sure seem to be working together.

And as night follows day, the subject came up in the debate.

“Mr. President, as you well know, there’s a new report that in 2016, the year you were elected president, and 2017, your first year as president, that you paid $750 a year in federal income tax each of those years,” said moderator/Biden spokesperson Chris Wallace. “I know that you pay a lot of other taxes, but I’m asking you this specific question: Is it true that you paid $750 in federal income taxes each of those two years?”

“I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax,” Trump responded.

After a lot of crosstalk (yeah, there was some of that last night), Biden finally made his point: “The tax code that put him in a position that he pays less tax than on the money a school teacher makes is because of him. He says he’s smart because he can take advantage of the tax code. And he does take advantage of the tax code. That’s why I’m going to eliminate the Trump tax cuts.”

Where to begin? How about with the 16th Amendment, which established that “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes.” Incomes, not wealth. If Trump — or anyone else in this country — has no taxable income in any particular year, he won’t pay an income tax. The Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 didn’t change that, and neither did any legislation governing the income tax since the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913.

But the Left’s narrative is that Trump is wealthy and therefore should be paying his “fair share.” Not only is he not doing that, leftists allege, he’s rigging the game for the wealthy and then cheating, though apparently by using legal deductions.

Biden hoped to drive this point home by releasing his own 2019 returns, which show that he paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes on a little less than $1 million in adjusted gross income. That 29.5% tax rate, by the way, is far below what Democrats insist it should be for millionaires. Why didn’t Biden voluntarily pay more? He never says, though his returns show that he too “took advantage of the tax code” in claiming deductions to reduce his bill.

Indeed, since leaving the White House in 2017, the Bidens have earned more than $16 million from speeches and book sales, most of which they funneled through two S corporations. That helped them save $500,000 in taxes by avoiding the Obama-Biden 3.8% ObamaCare tax on the “rich.” It’s perfectly legal, but it sure smacks of hypocrisy from a man whose campaign insisted the released returns prove Biden “will look out for [the American people] and not [his] own bottom line.”

But never mind all that. The real story here is that Democrats are once again busy weaving a narrative that deliberately conflates income with wealth because their entire tax policy is built on fomenting and exploiting envy.

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