There's a lot of noise out there about the GOP tax bill that will surely pass Congress and end up on President Trump's desk Wednesday, but there are a few lies that are so egregious that we have to address them.
Outside of Democrats and opponents to the Republican tax bill saying it will literally kill thousands of people, which is almost too stupid to debunk, here are the top three lies made about the GOP efforts for tax reform.
1) Ron Insana: "It is not a middle-class tax cut."
On MSNBC Tuesday afternoon, CNBC contributor Ron Insana argued that the GOP tax bill isn't a break for the middle class. Speaking with MSNBC host Chris Jansing, Insana said that Trump can't make the argument six months from now that he helped out the middle class.
"I think every analysis so far, whether it's a Joint Committee on Taxation, whether it's a Tax Policy Center, shows the majority of the benefits going to the wealthiest 5 percent, 10 percent of the population, even the top 0.1 percent will benefit from this," Insana explained. "There are all kinds of loopholes in the pass-through entity, the so-called LLC or other corporate provisions that were going to benefit others. Very difficult to figure out exactly what the loopholes are at the moment. I just got off the phone with my own accountant trying to understand in detail what this means. But it does not help individuals who are below $100,000. In fact, it probably doesn't help individuals who are below $200,000, given the analysis we've seen thus far. It is not a middle-class tax cut."
According to the Tax Policy Center (part of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution), which many regard as left-leaning, the GOP tax bill would reduce the tax burden on individuals and families of every income group in the country. Eighty percent of taxpayers will get a tax cut next year, meanwhile, less than 5 percent of taxpayers will see a tax increase of more than $10.
Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation came to a similar conclusion.
In some ways, Insana is right. It's not a middle-class tax cut. It's an every-class tax cut.
2) Sen. Claire McCaskill: Medicaid cuts are paying for low-income tax cuts.
You've probably seen the video that's gone viral in November of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., going after Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, over the Senate version of the GOP tax bill. In it, she rails her Republican colleagues for what she believes are cuts to Medicaid to help pay for the low-income tax cuts.
"So, in order to save these poor people $43 billion, you’re cutting $364 billion from the same people," McCaskill said.
Hatch responded by saying, "Senator, if you would just yield for a second, there are no cuts to Medicaid in this bill."
"I beg your pardon. This is the CBO score, Mr. Chairman. I’m reading right off of the CBO score – $179 billion in reduced Medicaid subsidies," McCaskill yelled.
"Well, there are no cuts," Hatch replied.
That's when McCaskill got even more intense. "I beg your pardon. That’s where the money is coming from. Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from? Is there a fairy that’s dropping in on the Senate?"
She continued. "The money that you are spending is coming out of Medicaid and subsidies to people who make less than $50,000."
The problem with McCaskill's logic is that she thinks she's connecting the dots when there aren't any dots to connect. The GOP tax bill doesn't cut Medicaid subsidies.
As the Senate Budget Committee argues, the Senate version of the tax bill does not reallocate savings from Medicaid to pay for things like low-income tax cuts. The money brought in from their projected 2.6 percent annual economic growth will be what pays for tax relief for the working class.
3) "All the tax cuts go to the rich."
This is a lie that's been featured in mainstream publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post. The idea that the top 1 percent will benefit the most from the Republican tax bill is often the go-to talking point that Democrats and liberals like to trumpet when tax reform is even discussed. But, in the case of this particular bill, it's inaccurate.
According to the Tax Policy Center and analyzed by Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute, the share of all combined federal taxes paid by the wealthy will actually increase, not decrease. The top 1 percent, at this time, pays for 27 percent of all federal taxes, but only gets 21 percent of the tax cuts. Meanwhile, the bottom 80 percent pays for a third (33 percent) of all combined federal taxes, but gets 35 percent of the tax cuts.
This law, it turns out, actually shifts a greater portion of the tax bill onto the wealthy.