“Two things can be true at once. President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul is slanted to the rich, as Democrats say and Republicans like to ignore. It also comes with tax cuts for average people, which Democrats bypass in slamming Trump’s “betrayal” of the middle class.”
AP fact-checks statements made by “political players over the past week.”:
TRUMP: “The bottom line is, this is the biggest tax cuts and reform in the history of our country. This is bigger than, actually, President Reagan’s many years ago.” — remarks to reporters Friday.
THE FACTS: Not so, in either case. For months Trump has refused to recognize larger tax cuts in history, of which there have been many, or to grant that other presidents have enacted big tax cuts since Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The White House won’t explain how he arrives at his conclusion.
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: “You’re delivering on that middle-class miracle.” — to Trump at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.
THE FACTS: Modest doesn’t usually make for a miracle. Pence’s praise to the boss reflects Trump’s assertion that “it’s a tax bill for the middle class,” as he often put it, but average people are not the prime beneficiaries of the tax cuts. Aside from businesses, rich people get the most.
DEMOCRATIC SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: “Their bill increases taxes on lots of middle-class people. … According to the Tax Policy Center, the top 1 percent of earners in our country gets 83 percent of the benefits.” — remarks Tuesday.
THE FACTS: The tax cuts are not nearly as lopsided as many Democrats are portraying them. Almost all of the middle class would initially pay less in taxes.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, House Democratic leader: “86 million middle class families get a tax hike.” — tweet Wednesday.
THE FACTS: She’s ignoring all the middle-class tax cuts before 2027; that year, taxes will be slightly higher for the middle class unless the cuts are extended.
TRUMP on his tax legislation: “Obamacare has been repealed in this bill.” — remarks Wednesday.
THE FACTS: It hasn’t. The tax plan ends fines for people who don’t carry health insurance. That’s a major change but far from the dismantling of the health law.
TRUMP on his predecessors: “They put American energy under lock and key.” — speech Monday.
THE FACTS: On the contrary, energy production was unleashed during Obama’s presidency, largely because of advances in hydraulic fracturing that made it economical to tap vast reserves of natural gas. Oil production also greatly increased, reducing imports. Before the presidential election last year, the U.S. for the first time in decades was getting more energy domestically than it imports. The government estimated this year that the U.S. could switch from being a net importer of energy to being a net exporter as early as 2019, depending on what happens to oil prices, energy resources and economic growth.
TRUMP: “Over the profound objections of the American people, our politicians left our borders wide open.” — speech Monday.
THE FACTS: Even as literary license, “wide open” does not describe the border enforcement, refugee vetting or deportation record of recent years, however flawed some controls might have been.
TRUMP tweet Monday, knocking the media for refusing to say “Republicans are 5-0 in Congressional Races this year.”
THE FACTS: That’s because they aren’t. In this year’s House elections, the score is 5-1 for Republicans. Democrats held a California seat.