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Fact Check: Joe Biden Is Lying About Taxes

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Flailing and unpopular on nearly every front, President Biden has decided that one way to stem the political tide is to accuse the party known for opposing and cutting taxes of plotting to raise taxes if swept back into power by voters.  Bold strategy -- but I guess you take what you can get in desperate times.  Let's review Biden's claim, review the actual evidence, then you can decide exactly how seriously it should be taken:


(1) The "massive tax giveaway to the super-wealthy and giant corporations in 2017" was, in fact, an across-the-board tax cut and reform package that achieved a number of major positive outcomes.  First, it cut taxes across every income group on average, especially targeting the middle class.  Despite a blizzard of hysterical propaganda, nearly all Americans saw their tax burden fall, though this was not the case for some millionaires.  For the first time in years, wages increased substantially, particularly among working class Americans.  The economy took off.  Far from starving the federal government of revenue by allowing people to keep more of the money they earn, federal revenues have hit record levels, thanks to the strong economy (and the higher levels even survived the pandemic).  Nancy Pelosi's 'armageddon' arrived in the form of successful policy:

(2) Joe Biden campaigned on a pledge that nobody earning less than $400,000 per year would see a tax hike under his tax hike plan.  This was demonstrably false at the time.  It has gotten even more demonstrably false since he was elected.  Setting aside his "billionaire tax" gimmickry that has failed miserably in Europe, Biden's 'Build Back Better' agenda included tax increases for millions of middle class families, according to nonpartisan experts.  It also featured a huge tax break for blue state millionaires.  Those are facts.  Every single House Democrat, except for one, voted to pass this package into law, and Biden was eager to sign it.  The blame shift won't work:  


Remember, 'Build Back Better' represented a $5 trillion explosion of new, wasteful spending, in the teeth of intractable inflation.  Even some Democratic economists say their party's $2 trillion binge at the start of the Biden administration was an historic mistake.  BBB was an insane, drunken triple down, effectively stopped by one Senator, who's been abused by his own party's base for saving them from themselves.  Biden wants voters to believe Republicans harbor a secret desire to raise taxes on working people if they win power in November.  Biden does not want those voters to know that Democrats in Washington voted overwhelmingly to raise taxes on millions of middle class earners while carving out sweetheart tax giveaways for wealthy people living in high-tax, Democrat-run states.  Unlike Biden's ridiculous, fear-mongering hypothetical scenario, this actually happened.  While he was president.  At his behest.  Facts.

(3) The basis for Biden's claim is Sen. Rick Scott's flawed proposal to require every American to have some 'skin in the game' by contributing something in taxes.  While this may appeal to some people's innate sense of fairness, or play to frustrations over a 'makers vs. takers' dynamic, it amounts to a would-be tax increase.  Because Scott chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee this cycle, Democrats are hoping to staple his document to the foreheads of all Republicans running across the country.  While I appreciate Scott's attempt to offer the public a list of policies to vote for, and not just pull the GOP lever as a protest against the ruling Democrats (which likely would be sufficient to produce red majorities unto itself in this environment), he should have stuck to broadly popular 70/30 issues that would unite nearly every Republican candidate in the country.  Some of his plans are popular.  There was therefore no need to hand Democrats ammo that would drive a wedge between Republicans.  Scott's half-baked idea was a tactical blunder that has been pointedly rejected by many candidates within his party, including the man who would control the Senate agenda if the GOP regains the upper chamber: 


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked a policy agenda crafted by fellow Republican Sen. Rick Scott, saying it would raise taxes on lower-income Americans, as Democrats seized on the proposal for their midterm elections message against the GOP. Mr. Scott’s 11-point “Rescue America” plan was released last week...a line about taxes gained the most attention. “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax,” it reads. “We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years,” Mr. McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda.”

That was March 1.  It's dead on arrival.  A nullity.  It has no chance of happening.  Scott should cut it loose and perhaps reconsider the way he's going about his job as NRSC Chair, which is alienating the very people he's supposed to be helping.  I can understand why Democrats would try to blow it up into a big attack line, and the media is excited about helping them, naturally.  They've got almost nothing else going for them, so they're hoping this sticks.  It won't, because any Republican asked about a document produced by one Senator can simply say, "I don't support that plan, or any plan to raise taxes."  And that response will have credibility because it aligns with the party brand, cultivated over decades of hostility to tax hikes.  Meanwhile, as mentioned above, virtually every House Democrat just voted for a reckless $5 trillion inflation bomb that would be partially paid for by middle class tax increases.  That's an on-the-record vote.  Let's have this debate, by all means.  It will likely go about as well for Democrats as the recent CNN analysis arguing that Biden's problems are beyond his control, partially because he can't go back in a time machine and undo his own decisions:


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