Before Biden and Trump Debate, Setting The Record Straight

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As Biden and Trump prepare to debate this evening, poll after poll show the economy as one of the top issues on voters minds.  To that end, Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund has created a short cheat-sheet on Trump Taxes, the economy, COVID and SCOTUS.

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Before The Big Debate, Setting The Record Straight: On Trump’s Taxes, Economy, Covid & Supreme Court

Trump’s Tax Dodging Reveals System Rigged for Rich; 2017 Tax Law an Economic Bust; GOP Virus Aid Targets Wealthy Over Workers; SCOTUS Pick Threatens Healthcare

Trump's Taxes

A New York Times’s investigation of President Trump’s federal income tax payments from 2000 to 2017 and the state of his business empire reveal how rigged the tax system is in favor of the wealthy, the fragility of Trump’s finances and the threat that poses to U.S. national security.

  • Unfairness of the tax system:
  • Trump, a billionaire worth $3.5 billion in 2017 per Forbes, paid no federal income taxes for 11 out of 18 years between 2000 and 2017 and paid just $750 in 2016 and in 2017.
  • By comparison, in 2017 a typical nurse or schoolteacher paid on average $5,400 in federal income taxes; a firefighter paid about $3,400; a bus driver, $2,400; and a childcare worker, $1,150.
  • While billionaire Trump was dodging millions in taxes, “regular Joe” Biden was paying his fair share of taxes every year. Over that 18-year span, Biden paid a total of $5 million on $16.4 million of income—a cumulative tax rate of 30%.
  • Donald Trump is vigorously exploiting a tax system he helped rig.
  • Donald Trump is the poster child for what is wrong with our tax system. He is a tax cheat and an expert at exploiting tax loopholes.
  • Trump exploits numerous loopholes that real estate lobbyists—including Trump himself—have crammed into the tax code. Trump made sure his 2017 tax law preserved all those goodies, plus adding a few more. Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut mostly benefited the rich and major corporations, especially the real estate industry.
  • Joe Biden’s tax plan will make our tax system much fairer by increasing taxes on the rich and corporations, raising substantial revenue needed to improve public services and making new investments to build an economy that works better for everyone. Biden’s plan will not directly tax any household making less than $400,000 a year.
  • Trump’s tax returns show he may be breaking the law. He wrote off as business expenses personal costs like the legal defense of his son in the Russia inquiry and his costly hair care. He paid himself and apparently his daughter Ivanka hundreds of thousands of dollars as “consultants,” even though they both already worked for the Trump Organization, thus artificially upping costs to lower tax bills.
  • Trump’s precarious financial situation poses a threat to U.S. national security.
  • Donald Trump’s businesses are failing, and his huge debts are a major national security threat. As the Times reports, Trump “is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with most of it coming due within four years.” It is not clear to whom this money is owed or what leverage they have over Trump.
  • Experts say that level of debt might block security clearances for most federal employees.

Trump & Biden Records & Plans On The Economy & Taxes

  • Even before COVID-19, Trump’s 2017 GOP tax law had failed to fulfill its promises:
  • On Fairness: It was not a middle-class tax cut. This year the top 1% will get as much in tax cuts—$78 billion—as the bottom 80%. Nearly 100 big profitable corporations paid zero federal income taxes in the law’s first year.
  • On Jobs & Wages: It did not improve wage gains for workers: average pay hikes in the first two years under the law lagged those under the last two years under Obama-Biden. Job growth did not accelerate either—it was nearly identical over those two periods.
  • On the Deficit & Economy: The tax cuts will not pay for themselves, but instead add $1.9 trillion to the national debt; the deficit soared in the first two years of the law. The law did not boost the economy: in those first two years, economic growth was very similar to the Obama-Biden years. Business investment did not boom.
  • Biden will raise taxes only on the wealthy and corporations to invest in working families.
  • He will not directly raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000, as confirmed by PolitiFact, org and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker.
  • He will use the $4 trillion of revenue raised to strengthen Social Security; improve healthcare, education, childcare and housing; and build a sustainable economy.
  • Moody’s Analytics recently declared the Biden plan would be better for the economy—and add 7.4 million more jobs—than Trump’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich, trickle-down policies.

Economic Response To The Pandemic

Healthcare Impact Of Supreme Court Pick