In Brief: Biden Lies About Trump’s Tax Cuts
The wealthy didn’t get a “windfall” or stop paying their “faire share.”
Former restaurant CEO Andy Puzder knows how taxes work. And he knows when Biden’s lying. He explains:
In a speech last week introducing his proposed $6 trillion 2022 budget, President Biden claimed that the benefits of the Republican Party’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act [TCJA] “went to the wealthiest 1% of America.” It’s not the first time he’s made this claim.
In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, Biden described the TCJA as a “huge windfall” for “those at the very top.” To right that wrong, he proposes getting rid of loopholes and raising the top tax rate from its current 37% to 39.6%. Why? So that “the wealthiest 1% of Americans” will “pay their fair share,” a phrase that the president and his fellow Democrats repeat with abandon.
But there’s a big problem with Biden’s claims: They are simply untrue.
Puzder notes some of the numbers:
Let’s start with that supposedly “huge windfall” that went to the “wealthiest 1%” of America. While the TCJA reduced effective income tax rates for all income groups in 2018, the top 1% experienced no windfall. Rather, according to the most recent IRS income tax data, the top 1% of taxpayers paid $616 billion in 2018, roughly the same amount they paid in 2017. But the bottom 99% paid $65 billion less. Some “windfall.” If the TCJA was a tax cut for the rich, it was the weirdest one in the history of tax cuts for the rich.
But did those evil 1-percenters pay their fair share? Turns out they did — and certainly a larger share than when tax rates were last at Biden’s proposed 39.6%.
In 2018, while the top 1%‘s share of adjusted gross income declined slightly to 20.9% (from 21.0% in 2017), its share of the income tax burden increased to 40.1% from 38.5%. “Fair” is in the eye of the beholder, but consider: The top 1%’s share of taxes paid nearly doubles its share of income. For more “fair share” perspective, consider that in 2018, the top 1% paid more in income taxes than the bottom 90% of taxpayers — combined.
But wait, there’s more!
Biden also might be surprised to learn that the top 1% actually paid a higher percentage of income taxes in 2018 under the TCJA than in any year since at least 2001 – when it paid 33.2%. That includes each of the five years from 2013 to 2017 following the Obama tax hikes, when the top rate last stood at 39.6% – the rate Biden is currently proposing.
You read that right. The highest earners paid a greater share of income taxes after the Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts than they paid after the Democrats’ 2013 tax increase.
There are many reasons for this, which Puzder goes on to explain, but the bottom line is that Democrats are not telling the truth about who pays and how much. The Republican law “was not a windfall for the rich, and it did not result in the rich paying less than their fair share of income taxes.” Quite the contrary, he says, “It closed loopholes — the largest of which Democrat leadership would like to restore — that primarily benefit wealthy taxpayers.”
Just don’t expect Democrats to ever admit it.
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