Republicans are trying to sell their unpopular tax scheme to give handouts to the rich by claiming that people who make nearly half a million dollars a year are "low- and middle-income."
The talking points circulated by the Republican Party to sell its new tax bill refer to taxpayers earning $450,000 a year as "low- and middle-income." It is an early sign of the deception the party is willing to undertake to pass the unpopular legislation.
The document put out by House Republicans, which was handed out in a closed-door meeting, claims that the bill would lower the tax rate "for low – and middle-income Americans" from 39.6 percent to 35 percent so "people can keep more of the money they earn."
But as New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman quickly highlighted, for the purposes of the GOP, "That rate starts at income ~$450K"
In reality, the median household income in the United States is $59,039 — nearly $391,000 less than what Republicans are describing as "low- and middle-income."
The bill was designed from the start to give a leg up to the extremely wealthy. It was written in secret by the Trump administration working in concert with congressional Republicans, and is loaded with gifts and handouts for wealthy individuals and corporations.
Speaker Paul Ryan has been one of the most visible supporters of the bill and the effort to tilt the economic system toward the wealthy. He gushed that he was "really excited" about getting the bill made into law, and even threatened to make Congress work through Christmas to make his dreams come true.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin even said, "It’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class."
The rich Republicans behind the bill aren't being subtle. Ivanka Trump has been deployed both on Capitol Hill and around the country to push for the legislation. She stands to haul in an estimated $4 billion, along with her siblings, if the estate tax is repealed, as the bill calls for.
Donald Trump needs passage of the bill, or his entire first year in office will be a legislative goose egg. He has put the full force of his unpopular presidency behind it, and the early polling shows that has hurt. Currently, the Republican plan is doing worse than the previous GOP plan to privatize social security, which was a debacle for George W. Bush.
Ryan also desperately needs this win, as he has failed to achieve any significant legislative accomplishments during his tenure as House speaker, despite having total party control of Congress and now the White House.
Under those circumstances, it's no wonder Republicans have to lie to America and pretend a six-figure salary is "low" income.