After promising that every American would receive a tax cut under their tax reform proposal, Republican leaders are struggling to explain away the fact that their own analysis reveals that on average, families earning between $20,000 and $40,000 a year from 2023 onward will see a tax increase.
On Monday, Fox News host Sandra Smith asked House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-TX) about the apparent contradiction. He responded by pretending the tax increases did not exist, since people would no longer have to do the things that provided them with tax credits.
“If you look at every different income range, you’re gonna see everybody in those income ranges get a tax cut. What one person does versus another, as the Speaker said, we’re closing a lot of special interest loopholes. That doesn’t mean somebody will no longer be able to pay less in taxes, it means they just don’t have to alter their behavior. They are gonna be paying less in taxes because every rate will go down and we simplify the code.”
But these “special interest loopholes” are not for behaviors that Americans are reluctantly taking just to save money. They are for basic, often mandatory things, like paying state and local taxes, paying medical expenses, and paying interest on student loans. The notion that tax increases won’t affect people because everyone’s income range gets a rate cut simply pretends that these increases won’t happen for thousands of families, as if they could simply opt out of those costs.
Scalise then changed the subject to highlight that the simplified tax code — without all of the deductions that people have long relied on — will enable most Americans to complete their taxes on a postcard — a time saver that would come as little consolation to a family paying thousands more in taxes under the plan.