Columns, Opinion

Max vs. Media: Dear Fox News, tell your viewers the truth about tax cuts

We’ve all heard the concept of being in a partisan or media “bubble.” However, the term bubble doesn’t really do justice to the phenomenon. Bubbles imply something is loosely contained and visible; however, these partisan and media bubbles are more like prison cells, ranging from minimum security to solitary confinement. Since I am left-of-center, I’ll make my point using the Fox News “prison.”

I still remember a time in high school when a teacher was discussing what newspapers and other objective news sources we could use for an assignment. Someone mentioned Fox News and I scoffed, remarking that it clearly favored Republicans. That person didn’t argue with me, they just said two words: it does?

A YouGov CBS poll found that only 58 percent of responders believed the current tax reform plan being discussed would favor the wealthy. While the plan is far from complete, one thing is clear: The tax reform bill will favor the American aristocracy.

Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, details all the lies in a Oct. 14 New York Times column — yes lies, not “falsehoods” — that Trump and the Republicans have been spewing to ensure a tax break for their campaign donors. Trump claims we are the highest-taxed nation, but we are actually the fifth-least taxed among developed countries. Republicans love claiming the Estate Tax is a death tax, but it only affects the wealthiest 0.2 percent of estates.

Cutting taxes doesn’t help workers, giving them raises does. Letting corporations pay less taxes and offering a repatriation tax holiday doesn’t mean they will decide to change their business strategy, it just means they will spend that money on stock buybacks and dividends so upper management fills its deep, vast pockets; this isn’t simply my opinion, this is what happened after the last tax holiday in 2005.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that the lowest 90 percent of workers will see a tax cut somewhere around one percent. Those ages 95–99 will receive a two percent cut, and the richest one percent will see an eight percent cut. Republicans will cite some version of trickle-down economics which argues that “job creators” will use the extra money to hire more workers and invest more, thus helping the economy as a whole. This idea is very flawed. Flaw one — job creators could just pocket the money. Flaw two — the wealthiest could invest the money overseas. Flaw three — giving money solely to the middle class could also help the overall economy.

But all of the lies and flaws in trickle-down economics don’t keep Fox News from letting lies go unchecked on its website. Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, argued in a Fox news article/op-ed (I honestly can’t tell the difference on Fox) that “another perfectly sensible proposal is killing the death tax, which unceremoniously celebrated its centennial last year. A Gallup poll last year found that 54 percent of Americans want it eliminated. The tax has a devastating impact on the economy by increasing costs on small businesses.”

Remember how I said the estate tax only affects 0.2 percent of estates? I failed to mention that just one percent of that 0.2 percent (.002 percent overall) of those taxable estates are small farms or businesses. And even these are just the wealthiest small businesses, not mom-and-pop shops struggling to get by.

Weber also claims that “the president’s tax reform framework further aims to help American businesses regain their competitive edge in a globalized economy increasingly stacked against them. It advises considering methods to reduce corporate double taxation, eliminating the corporate alternative minimum tax, and lowering the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the current 35 percent.”

The United States already has low levels of taxation, and the top corporate tax rate of 35 percent is rarely paid, thanks to a plethora of deductions and tax breaks. Low tax rates don’t give countries competitive edges in the long-run, just ask Ireland — but technological advancements do.

But the real issue I have with Fox News isn’t an explicit support of tax cuts, it’s the fact that I can’t find a source anywhere on Fox News that points out that the tax cuts benefit the wealthiest Americans almost exclusively. How do you think only 58 percent of Americans believe the tax cuts will favor the rich? My guess is the Fox News high security prison plays a factor in keeping out the truth.

I spent a dreadful night on Monday watching Tucker Carlson argue that immigrants are bad, that law and order is a western value (apparently those foreigners just love anarchy), debate a leftist economist who would not answer any questions, and relish in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Carlson loves to argue that immigrants help the rich while they are “shafting” the middle class — but has he even mentioned how great the tax plan is for the wealthy?

Hopefully I’ve missed something. Perhaps Fox News is providing journalism and not just clickbait for those on the right needing affirmation. Point me to an article, a news clip, something that demonstrates that Fox News is truly honest about these tax cuts. If you can’t, it’s time to tell Fox News its fly is open, and its aristocratic bias is showing.

 

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