UPDATE: 9NEWS took the unusual step of a second try at analyzing the GOP tax bills–and this time reporter Brandon Rittiman goes into commendably greater detail, and gets the bottom line much closer to right:
We explained that under the House bill, about seven percent of taxpayers in unusual situations would pay more taxes instead of getting a cut. That number jumps to 24 percent of taxpayers after a decade, according to the Tax Policy Center, which is often cited by members of both political parties.
That increase over time is largely due to the fact that the GOP plan does less to adjust deductions for inflation each year…this effect is much more severe in the early Senate version of the bill. [Pols emphasis]
In fact, the TPC analysis of the Senate version figures that slightly more than half of taxpayers would see a tax increase after a decade.
Like we said. Kudos to 9NEWS for taking another look at this, and giving their viewers a vastly more accurate snapshot of where the legislation is as of now.
Accurate, and troubling.
A “Verify” segment from 9NEWS last night is provoking much discussion today, giving what appears to be a diametrically opposite answer to the big question about the Republican tax “reform” bill to most analysis–is the GOP really about to pass a bill that hikes taxes on the middle class in order to give tax cuts to the rich?
9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman says no–and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.
NO, IT DOESN’T RAISE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS TO FUND TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY
Numerous Democrats both on and off Capitol hill have made the claim that the GOP bill will raise taxes on the middle class in order to give a tax break to the rich.
The Washington Post (which gave this claim four “Pinnochios”) traced this back to a Democratic talking point that seems to have gone through a tortured game of telephone.
In fact, the GOP tax bill gives almost everyone a tax cut, which is why it comes with a steep price tag…
9NEWS is putting a very large amount of stock for this claim on a fact-check performed by the Washington Post on November 2, which corrected a math error from a number of Democrats about a previous version of the bill. But since then, numerous other studies have come out showing that large portions of the middle class will indeed pay more in taxes while the rich pay less–CNBC reported last week:
…The Tax Policy Center said that while all income groups would see tax reductions, on average, under the Senate bill in 2019, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay higher taxes that year than under current law. By 2027, that proportion would grow to 50 percent, largely because the legislation’s personal tax cuts expire in 2026, which Republicans did to curb budget deficits the bill would create. [Pols emphasis]
Curiously, 9NEWS cites an older study from the same nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzing the House-passed bill instead of the newer study analyzing the Senate bill–which appears to be substantially worse in terms of hiking taxes on the middle class down the road. But the biggest problem is with the blanket claim that the bill “doesn’t raise taxes on the middle class to fund tax breaks for the wealthy” is that they are apparently only looking at the 2018 tax year. Obviously, the bill affects much more than next year’s taxes. And as these studies clearly indicate, millions of middle class families paying more not less is baked in the proverbial cake.
Given that the tax bill’s details are a moving target subject to change at any time, and indeed have changed even since 9NEWS put up this “Verify” segment last night, we feel some cause to give the benefit of the doubt. But we just can’t find any way to accurately claim this bill doesn’t take from the middle class to give to the rich. Especially considering the proposed undermining of the Affordable Care Act and the inevitable program cuts that will be forced in the future due to over a trillion dollars of new deficits, that is not a “verifiable” statement anybody can stand behind.
And it’s not likely to age well.