‘Harris presented these facts without nuance or qualification…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., was awarded four “Pinocchios” by the Washington Post for claiming that President Trump’s tax cut will hurt middle class Americans and “line the pockets” of the wealthy.
“The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year,” Harris wrote on Twitter. “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%.”
Harris’s statement is false because it doesn’t take into consideration individual paychecks.
The size of a refund “tells you nothing about a person’s tax bill,” the Post reported.
Harris also forgot to mention that while the federal law reduced overall tax rates, the deduction for state, local and real estate taxes was capped, which could impact tax refunds in states with particularly high taxes, like California and New York.
“Change in refunds does not equate to change in tax liability, since withholding amounts were adjusted,” Joseph Rosenberg, senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center, told the Post.
The newspaper also said Harris shouldn’t be surprised that tax cuts benefit wealthy Americans.
“As we have explained before, any broad-based tax cut is going to mostly benefit the wealthy because they already pay a large share of income taxes,” the report reads. “Because there are far more people in the middle class, there are fewer dollars to share per taxpayer when the savings from a tax cut are divvied up … If the wealthy end up with more money because they pay more in taxes, that’s not necessarily a fair way to look at tax legislation.”
Ian Sams, a spokesman for Harris, backtracked for the senator and claimed she was talking about the “long-term effect” of the tax cut, though she conveniently left that out of her original tweet.
Regardless, the Post said Harris’s tweet “combines two factoids into a highly misleading package,” and awarded her four “Pinocchios.”
“Harris presented these facts without nuance or qualification, making it appear as though the smaller tax refunds were evidence of a tax hike on the middle class,” the Post said. “In reality, the size of a tax refund reflects nothing about the size of a tax cut or a tax increase — and at least in 2018, the vast majority of middle-class Americans can expect to pay less in taxes as a result of the Trump tax law.”