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Murdoch empire conspires to blame Biden for Trump’s trickle-down tax cuts expiring

Right-wing media are desperate to defend Trump’s unpopular tax cuts for the super rich by falsely claiming that Biden will raise taxes on the middle class

Murdoch-owned media outlets are pushing a smear campaign to undermine President Joe Biden’s middle-out economic agenda, falsely claiming he is “going to raise taxes on the middle class” if re-elected this year. In fact, Biden has repeatedly promised to maintain lower and middle-class tax rates and to let scheduled expirations of Trump's 2017 trickle-down tax cut scheme go into effect only for individuals with incomes above $400,000.

Trump's tax plan — a giveaway that overwhelmingly benefitted wealthy individuals and highly profitable and powerful corporations — was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress on a party-line vote in both the House and Senate in 2017 as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Trump and the Republican Party own all of the effects of the legislation, including the scheduled expiration of the income tax cuts at the end of 2025, which Republicans wrote into the law. (The GOP-controlled Senate failed to pass a permanent extension of the Trump tax cuts for individuals in 2018.)

  • Trump wants media to blame Biden for his own signature legislation

  • In an April 15 post on Truth Social, former president and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump misleadingly claimed that under Biden, “you will soon be facing colossal tax HIKES” due to the expiration of Trump’s 2017 tax cut legislation. explained, however: “As he has since the 2020 campaign, Biden’s FY 2025 budget vows not to increase taxes on people earning less than $400,000.”

    “In order to keep that pledge, Biden would have to extend most of the individual income tax provisions enacted in the [2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act] that are set to expire at the end of 2025,” further explained. “And that’s what Biden says he would do — but only for individual filers earning less than $400,000 and married couples making less than $450,000.” (As of 2022, an income of $400,000 was more than five times the median household income of nearly $75,000, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

    This isn’t the first time Trump and his right-wing allies have run this playbook against Biden. In 2021, just a few months into his term, President Biden produced a budget proposal that did not include permanent extensions of Trump’s fiscally disastrous tax policies. In response, a chorus of right-wing media figures falsely claimed that Biden had broken his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class and framed the looming sunset of Trump's tax policies as “a Biden tax hike.”

    The situation is reminiscent of a right-wing smear campaign directed at then-President Barack Obama in 2010 and 2012, when former President George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were set to expire. At the time, Fox News warned viewers that the Obama administration would enact the “largest tax hike ever,” ignoring Obama’s promise (which is similar to the one Biden makes now) to preserve income tax cuts for all but the top 2% of earners. The resulting deal between Obama and a Republican-controlled House of Representatives in January 2013 preserved most of the Bush Era tax cuts, with the exception of those benefiting just the top 1% of incomes.

  • Murdoch media falsely claim that Biden “would raise taxes on most Americans, not just the wealthy”

  • The Murdoch media empire — including Fox News, Fox Business, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal — are accusing Biden of breaking his promise to not raise taxes on households making under $400,000 by claiming that he will allow all of the Trump tax cuts to expire. In these instances they either ignore that his budget proposals actually keep that promise or dismiss his proposals as simply untruthful.

    These outlets are also relying heavily on a blog post from March by the right-leaning Tax Foundation, which generally supports reducing taxes and government spending. That post, however, simply analyzed what would happen if all the tax cuts expired, as they were designed to do by the Republicans who drafted and enacted them, and did not include context about Biden’s proposals to allow them to expire only for the highest tax brackets. In another analysis posted this week, the Tax Foundation also noted as precedent that after the Obama Era fight over Bush's lingering tax policies in 2010 and 2012, “Ultimately, most of the tax cuts were made permanent, with the exception of the reduction in the top marginal tax rate.”

    • New York Post: “Biden floats tax hikes for all, says Trump cuts will ‘stay expired’ if re-elected — prompting WH walk-back.” The article mischaracterized a speech Biden made to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, in which he described Trump’s tax cuts as having “overwhelmingly benefited” the wealthy, and further declared, “It’s going to expire.  And if I’m reelected, it’s going to stay expired.” The New York Post dishonestly stated that Biden had proposed “tax hikes for all.” [New York Post, 4/19/24; The White House, 4/19/24]

    • The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman wrote that “failing to extend the expiring provisions of Donald Trump’s signature reform would raise taxes on most Americans, not just the wealthy.” Freeman claimed that the expiration of all the tax cuts was “a promise Mr. Biden will keep if voters give him another term,” with no mention of Biden’s long-standing commitments to preserve cuts for those making less than $400,000 per year. [The Wall Street Journal, 4/24/24]

    • Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy falsely claimed that the scheduled Trump tax cut expiration would break Biden’s “promise not to raise taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year.” Doocy continued: “According to the Tax Foundation that finds if President Biden lets the Tax Cut and Jobs Act expire at the end of next year, which he says he’s going to do, somebody making $75,000 a year is going to pay about 1,700 more every year in taxes.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/25/24]

    • Fox White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich: “Biden also announced plans this week to let the Trump era tax cuts expire. Analysis from the Tax Foundation says that doesn't jive with his pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than 400 grand a year.” [Fox News, Special Report, 4/25/24]

    • Fox Business host David Asman: “President Biden says he plans to let Trump-era tax cuts expire next year. That would raise taxes for millions of Americans who earn less than $400,000, breaking his pledge.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 4/25/24]

    • Fox Business anchor Dagen McDowell: “Biden thinks letting the Trump tax cuts expire — translation: the biggest middle class tax hike in modern history — is actually a good thing.” Fox Business correspondent Grady Trimble added: “President Biden has vowed for years that under his tax plan, middle class Americans wouldn’t have to pay more. Letting the Trump tax cuts expire at the end of 2025 does seem to contradict that promise, but the White House says that is not the case. Instead, it’s saying the president is proposing cuts for those making less than $400,000 a year while proposing hiking taxes on the wealthy and corporations.” [Fox Business, The Bottom Line, 4/25/24]

    • Fox Business host Elizabeth MacDonald: “President Biden wants to get rid of the Trump tax cuts and raise taxes. That's going to raise taxes on the middle class.” [Fox Business, The Evening Edit, 4/25/24]

    • Fox Business host Charles Payne: “Whatever happened to the promise? Remember? No one under 400,000, which is such a nebulous number to begin with.” Fox & Friends co-host Lawrence Jones opened the segment by claiming, “President Trump’s tax cuts are set to expire and President Biden won't do anything to stop it, meaning tax hikes are on the horizon for many Americans.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/26/24]

    • Fox Business host Jackie DeAngelis claimed that the Biden administration would “spin” the news by claiming not to have raised taxes on incomes under $400,000, but only to have“let those tax cuts expire” for middle and lower-income families. Earlier in the segment, Fox correspondent Grady Trimble said the White House was “clarifying” that Biden does not want to raise taxes on lower income brackets, but DeAngelis seemed to ignore these remarks. [Fox Business, The Big Money Show, 4/26/24]

    • Trimble stated in a prepackaged report, “President Biden says if he’s reelected, he’ll kill the Trump era tax cuts … seemingly contradicting his campaign promise not to raise taxes on those making under $400,000 a year.” The report then included a comment from Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo declaring that Biden would not raise such taxes, but would instead “increase taxes modestly on the wealthy and also on corporations.” Trimble had already poisoned the rhetorical waters, however, by beginning with the false claim that Biden intended to raise taxes for middle class Americans. [Fox News, Special Report, 4/26/24]

    • Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo declared, “So much for middle-class Joe’s big campaign promise that he’s not going to raise tax on anybody making less than $400,000 a year.” Bartiromo then read out the Tax Foundation’s analysis of the increases that would take place if all of the 2017 tax cuts were to expire. She included neither context about the Biden administration’s plan to preserve the lower and middle-end tax cuts, nor the Tax Foundation’s own recognition that the 2012 fiscal cliff had resulted in tax increases for only the higher-end tax brackets. [Fox Business, Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street, 4/26/24]

    • Fox News anchor Dana Perino said, “President Biden is promising to let Trump-era tax cuts expire next year if he wins a second term, meaning that millions of Americans could soon face steeper tax bills.” Neither Perino, co-anchor Bill Hemmer, or Fox Business host Charles Payne even acknowledged Biden’s proposals to keep the tax cuts below the $400,000 income level. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 4/29/24]

    • Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner proclaimed: “So much for Scranton Joe, they say. President Joe Biden is now floating a tax hike for millions of working-class Americans.” Fox Business correspondent Edward Lawrence noted a response from the White House clarifying that Biden intends only for tax cuts for the wealthy to expire before rebutting, “But that’s not what he says, and he can't pick and choose what part of the law expires.” Lawrence failed to note that the 2017 tax cuts are set to expire because that is how the Republican-controlled Congress wrote the law in the first place, thereby requiring a new package to be passed in Congress in order to prevent the cuts’ expiration. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 4/29/24]

    • Fox anchor Sandra Smith claimed it was “the talking point from this White House, that those lower earners are not going to be affected, and it just does not appear to be the case.” Fox’s afternoon “straight news” program hosted Trump economic adviser Steve Moore, who asked rhetorically, “So how can Joe Biden say he's not going to raise taxes on people who make less than $400,000, at the same time that he wants to retire these tax cuts?” [Fox News, America Reports, 4/29/24]