During a White House news briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to explain why President Trump continues to lie about the United States being “the highest taxed nation in the world.” She replied by putting words in the president’s mouth.
“We are the highest taxed, ah, corporate tax in the, ah, developed economy — that’s a fact,” Sanders said.
But that’s not what Trump has been saying. As the reporter who asked the question pointed out, during a photo opportunity with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger earlier Tuesday, Trump flatly claimed on two separate instances that “we’re the highest taxed nation in the world,” without qualifying his assertion in any way. Trump has repeatedly invoked this false talking point while trying to sell his plan to slash taxes for corporations and the ultra wealthy.
Sanders suggested that while Trump might not be factually accurate, he was right in spirit.
“That’s what he’s talking about — we are the highest corporate taxed country in the, ah, developed economies around the globe,” she said.
But that’s not accurate either. While the U.S. does have the highest corporate tax rate among developed countries before deductions are taken into account, factoring them in shows that America’s effective corporate tax rate is in line with other developed economies.
After the reporter pressed her for the third time about Trump’s lie, Sanders again put words in Trump’s mouth, and suggested whether Trump’s claim is true or not is actually a matter of opinion.
“The highest taxed corporate nation — it seems pretty consistent to me,” Sanders said. “Sorry, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.”
But as NBC noted on the occasion of Trump falsely asserting that America is the highest-tax nation back in August, the claim is simply false.
“America’s tax revenue is 26 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is significantly lower than the average 34 percent other developed countries pay relative to their GDP, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Denmark, France and Sweden are among those nations that top America on taxes,” NBC reported. “The U.S. tax burden per capita — $14,115 — also is below average in relation to other developed nations, as well, data from the Tax Policy Center shows.”