Fox falsely claims Trump’s trickle-down tax cuts for the wealthy were directed at the middle class

Brian Kilmeade: “They totally mischaracterized” Trump's tax plan. “It was a middle-class tax cut predominantly, and the facts bear that out.”

On Tuesday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade proudly proclaimed  that former president and presumptive 2024 Republican nominee Donald Trump’s tax cuts, passed in 2017, were a “middle-class tax cut predominantly,” when in fact the individual and corporate tax cuts overwhelmingly benefited the rich.

In response to a news segment previewing President Joe Biden’s tax reform plan, which he will discuss today during a campaign stop in his hometown of Scanton, Pennsylvania, Kilmeade seemed intent to head off likely criticism Biden will voice of his predecessor's trickle-down tax giveaway to the super rich.

“They totally mischaracterized the president’s tax plan — tax reform from 2018,” Kilmeade said. “I mean, it is not for the rich. It took 1% off the top rate. It was the corporate tax rate that made us more competitive with other countries. So, it was at the foundation of it, it was a middle-class tax cut predominantly, and the facts bear that out. It’s not an opinion.”

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Citation From the April 16, 2024, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends

Kilmeade’s assertion was neither a fact nor an opinion — it was just false.

In reality, Trump’s tax cuts skewed heavily to the very wealthy. At the time, an analysis by Moody’s Investors Service projected that more than three-quarters of the $1.1 trillion in individual tax cuts would go to people earning more than $200,000 annually, and that economic benefits would fail to trickle down.

Future developments have only confirmed those predictions. An analysis by the Center for American Progress two years after the tax cuts were passed (and before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the economy) found that the benefits of Trump’s corporate tax cuts did not filter through to productivity or wage gains for workers, citing International Monetary Fund data that just 20% of that tax cuts went into capital investment and 80% to shareholder buybacks and dividends. A later analysis in 2024 by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that 40% of the benefit from individual tax cuts and 53% of the corporate tax cuts went to the top 5% of income groups, while also failing to boost worker earnings compared to high-paid executives.

During the segment, Fox correspondent Jacqui Heinrich also disingenuously attempted to portray President Joe Biden as a hypocrite for no longer drawing a middle-class salary.

“Biden often talks about his upbringing in a middle-class home, but his tax returns released last night show that he’s certainly climbed the brackets,” Heinrich said, touting the president and first lady’s total income of over $600,000 in 2023.

Nearly two-thirds of that figure came from the presidential salary of $400,000, which is set by Congress and hasn’t been increased since 2001. The rest of the Bidens’ income came from other sources, including first lady Jill Biden’s job teaching at a community college, as well as from pension funds, Social Security benefits, and income from investments.