Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday accused Republicans of launching a “desperate” effort to “spin their disastrous tax plan” by taking some of his recent comments on the bill “completely out of context.”
In an interview with CNN‘s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Sanders said “it is a very good thing” that some middle-class Americans will see a temporary tax cut as a result of the GOP tax plan. “And that’s why we should have made the tax breaks for the middle class permanent,” Sanders added. “But what the Republicans did is make the tax breaks for corporations permanent, the tax cuts for the middle class temporary.”
“The Trump-Republican tax plan is one of the worst pieces of legislation in the modern history of our country.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Right-wing media outlets—from The Daily Caller to Breitbart—quickly seized upon Sanders’ comments, characterizing them as a kind of grudging endorsement of the $1.5 trillion dollar tax bill.
“Jake Tapper Gets Bernie Sanders to Admit the Middle-Class Tax Cuts In the GOP Bill Are ‘A Good Thing,'” blared The Daily Wire, an online publication edited by Ben Shapiro. Infowars, Townhall, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also highlighted Sanders’ comments, usually de-emphasizing Sanders’ characterization of the tax cuts as a permanent gift to big business.
In a statement on Wednesday, Sanders aimed to “set the record straight,” slamming conservatives for distorting his words to conceal the harms their bill will inflict on millions of families.
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“The Trump-Republican tax plan is one of the worst pieces of legislation in the modern history of our country,” Sanders wrote. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, 83 percent of the tax benefits in that bill go to the top one percent at the end of 10 years and 60 percent of the benefits go to the top one-tenth of one percent. On the other hand, by the end of the decade, 92 million middle-class Americans will actually be paying more in taxes, including 8 million in the first year alone.”
After taking one last shot at the GOP’s “grossly obscene” bill—which President Donald Trump signed into law last Friday—Sanders offered a list of ideas that for tax reform “that permanently benefits all middle-income and working-class families without giving tax breaks to the top one percent.”
Sanders’ proposals included:
- Making “millionaires, billionaires, and large, profitable corporations” start “paying their fair share of taxes”;
- Permanently doubling the standard deduction;
- Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit; and
- Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable.
These proposals run counter to the Republican tax plan, which skews heavily toward the rich both in the short-term and over the next decade. While many American families will see their taxes lowered in 2018, benefits for the middle class are paltry compared to those that will be seen by the richest. And, as Sanders pointed out, they are temporary.
“After the middle-class tax cuts expire in 2025,” notes New York Magazine‘s Eric Levitz, “the bill will actually raise taxes on most U.S. households, while preserving a large break for the wealthiest 0.1 percent of the country.”
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