On Thursday, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s presidential campaign released a video in which it claimed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton “vows to raise taxes on the middle class.”
“Trump wants to cut taxes for the super rich,” Clinton starts out saying to loud boos. “Well, we’re not going there my friends. I’m telling you right now, we’re going to write fairer rules for the middle class.”
The next line is the one the Trump campaign claims is her promise to raise taxes on the middle class. But the audio isn’t clear enough to determine whether she says “We aren’t going to raise taxes on the middle class” or “We are.” Watch Trump’s video:
Watch the full speech (relevant section begins at about 28:00):
Just before the clip that Trump pulled out, Clinton was talking about the “loopholes and special breaks” in the tax code that benefit the rich and worsen income inequality. She brought up the so-called “Buffett rule,” which she says means a wealthy man like Warren Buffett shouldn’t pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. She also promised to tax the wealthy more and use the money to invest in her priorities.
No matter what she may have said at the event in Omaha, Nebraska earlier this week, Clinton has consistently promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. She has pledged that those who make less than $250,000 won’t see a tax increase over and over and over again.
Clinton has backed those promises up with a detailed tax plan. The conservative Tax Foundation found in its analysis that her proposal would only raise taxes on the the wealthiest 10 percent of the country without raising them on the middle class, while the centrist Tax Policy Center found her plan would very modestly increase taxes on the middle of the income distribution, by $60 over a decade, while the wealthiest fifth of the country would pay $6,739 more. Moody’s Analytics concluded that taken together, Clinton’s economic proposals would increase incomes for the poor and middle class.
Trump’s plan looks very different. While all income levels would get a tax break under his plan, the richest get by far the largest benefit: according to the Tax Policy Center, the top fifth would be more than $32,000 richer, while the top one percent would get a $1.78 million boost.
Meanwhile, advisers to Trump have said they will at some point release a revamped tax proposal that doesn’t cost the government quite as much revenue, and they have proposed raising rates on the middle class. Moody’s found that the average American household would actually see its income stay flat over his presidency thanks to the detrimental effects of his other economic proposals, such as undoing trade deals and deporting immigrants.