President Donald Trump is no stranger to sharing conspiracy theories and manufactured facts. But Wednesday was the day he truly sealed his credentials as America’s purveyor-in-chief of populist mythology.
First there were the reports by the New York Times and Washington Post that he has suggested that the famous Access Hollywood tape — for which he apologized prior to the election — is fake.
Then he enraged Brits and other Europeans by sharing videos from a fringe British ultra-nationalist group that purportedly showed Muslims committing acts of violence. The problem is that one of the most prominent assailant’s featured was not a Muslim, and the other two videos came with no explanation. The incendiary tweets were quickly condemned by Britain’s prime minister. An unapologetic Trump then attacked Theresa May saying “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.”
But Trump saved his worst for last when he spoke to a crowd in St. Charles, Missouri, and offered a compendium of fables in support of the GOP tax cut plan. His claims included:
The plan would be a boon to the working class — “the people that like me best” — despite numerous independent analyses that have concluded that the wealthiest Americans and corporations would be the biggest beneficiaries. In fact, according to the Tax Policy Center, 63 percent of the total savings from the Senate proposal, which is expected to come for a vote this week, would go to taxpayers earning more than $150,100 while nearly 25 percent of the savings would go to the top 5 percent of earners.
That the plan is hard on rich people, like himself. “This is going to cost me a fortune,” he said. But in truth, as noted above, upper-income taxpayers would be the biggest beneficiaries. In fact, the tax cuts for the wealthy are permanent while the cuts that exist for the middle class are temporary. Meanwhile, the Senate tax bill would add $1.4 trillion to annual deficits over the next 10 years.
That the benefits from the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent would return trillions of dollars in offshore cash to the United States and would mean more jobs and higher wages for workers. But there’s little proof to support any of these assertions. American companies are already well-capitalized meaning they could add workers and raise wages already. Meanwhile, the heads of such U.S. companies as Cisco Systems, Pfizer and Coca-Cola have stated they will pass what savings they gain to shareholders rather than employees.
And that the tax cut plan has “tremendous support,” despite polls that show just the opposite. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, for example, U.S. voters disapprove of the GOP tax plan by a two-to-one margin.
Some have suggested that this is a make-or-break political moment for Trump given his lack of legislative wins. But on Wednesday, he seemed satisfied with making this a make-believe moment instead. Americans, thankfully, aren’t buying it.
Here’s hoping a majority of those in the Senate won’t either.