For experts who pay attention to the tax code, Donald Trump’s lying about the U.S. tax burden has become something of a running joke—the kind of joke that makes you want to pull your hair out. But Trump continues to sell his tax plan repeating the same lies.
On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter repeating one of his favorite talking points: That the U.S. has the highest taxes in the world. The only problem? While Trump has made that point frequently—repeating it last month and the month before—it’s simply not true, according to every tax expert.
Will be going to North Dakota today to discuss tax reform and tax cuts. We are the highest taxed nation in the world – that will change.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
Here is what James Pethokoukis, a fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, said about Trump tweet:
This continues to be not true. https://t.co/p54Cq1EAkH
— James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis) September 6, 2017
The Wall Street Journal’s tax reporter Richard Rubin also responded to Trump:
To repeat, the US has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. However, the US is a low-tax country overall. https://t.co/6H7DonvRDG
— Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) September 6, 2017
If that’s not enough, two-well regarded Washington think tanks, the Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation, also contradict the claim. So why does Trump keep repeating something that both his would-be ideological allies and neutral observers call a lie?
Probably because it suits his political purposes and it sounds like something else many voters have heard which is true.
Corporate taxes represent only a fraction of total U.S taxes. The U.S. and other nations levy a variety of personal income, property, sales and other taxes. Economists have attempted to compare the U.S. tax system to other nations’, factoring these in too. The result: Among 35 developed nations the U.S. ranks fourth from the bottom, according to a recent study by the OECD.
While Trump’s frequently repeated talking point about the U.S. being “the highest taxed nation in the world” sounds like a different fact you may have heard before which is true, Trump’s assertion is not only not true, but close to the opposite of what is true.