President Joe Biden doubled down last weekend on his false claim that billionaires pay a 3% tax rate, and that demonstrably dishonest assertion earned being flagged by Twitter.
The president called on the very rich to “pay your fair share” and said they should face a minimum tax of 25%. As he described it, “it’s about basic fairness.”
President Joe Biden this weekend proved the truth to the old adage that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” He claimed that billionaires pay only 3% in income tax… https://t.co/22O4uxEGmx
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) March 20, 2023
Apparently, it’s not all about the truth, according to FactCheck.org. The group noted that Biden made the same 3% claim twice in February despite the facts clearly opposing his argument.
The president’s assertion is based on a faulty economic analysis by the White House. The administration played fast and loose with federal tax laws that do not count unsold stock as income.
This study counted these unrealized gains as income and thus greatly inflated the tax burdens of the very wealthy.
Using this sleight-of-hand economics, the White House analysis estimated that the 400 wealthiest American families paid an average federal income tax rate of 8.2% from 2010 to 2018. Even if that were true, which it is not, 8.2% is substantially higher than 3%.
Federal income taxes, as everyone including the president knows, are based on income.
The Tax Policy Center noted that, when studying the income of the wealthiest Americans, the obvious conclusion is that they pay higher tax rates than citizens with lower income. The top 0.1% of earners actually pay an average of 25.1% in federal income and payroll taxes.
Their analysis showed that the middle 20% of earners, who have incomes from $59,700 to $105.900, pay an average of 12.3%.
Twitter’s rebuttal from its “community notes” provided sources contradicting the president ranging from Politifact to CNN. The post reads that “this claim has been repeatedly assessed as inaccurate.”
The social media platform added that the claim “relies on a theoretical calculation that treats unrealized capital gains as income even though current tax law does not.”
In other words, what former President George H.W. Bush once referred to as “voodoo economics.”
President Biden surely knows that his 3% figure is grossly inaccurate, and even if he doesn’t, his staff must. It is disingenuous of the president to attack the wealthy of the nation with wildly inaccurate claims that are easily disproved.