WaPo Calls Out Pelosi for Misleading Claim That 'Middle-Class' Americans Will See Higher Taxes Under Trump Tax Law

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi / Getty Images
April 10, 2018

The Washington Post fact checker on Tuesday gave House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) "two Pinocchios" for her misleading claim from last week that 86 million middle-class families will see a tax increase under the Republican tax reform law.

"Eighty-six million middle-class families will see a tax increase while they advertise it as a middle-class bill," Pelosi said at a town hall in California on April 4.

That claim is misleading, the Post found, since more than 80 percent of taxpayers are expected to get a tax cut and less than 5 percent are expected to get a tax increase under the overhaul, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Pelosi's 86-million number comes from the fact that, in 2027, the last year of the tax cut, a majority of Americans will see a tax increase, while only 25 percent of taxpayers will see a tax cut. The bottom 80 percent of taxpayers—who Pelosi classifies as "middle class"—will see a greater percentage of tax hikes.

Republicans had the individual tax expire over a decade to prevent going above a $1.5 trillion increase in the federal deficit over 10 years—but with the expectation that Congress will vote to extend the tax cuts when they begin to expire.

Many observers consider it unlikely that Congress will allow a giant tax hike to expire for a majority of Americans.

"Pelosi is not as careful as other Democrats to make clear she is talking about something in the future," the Post wrote.

"Given past performance by Congress, we would be shocked if lawmakers simply let the tax bill run its course and allowed it to raise taxes on tens of millions of Americans," the Post added. "Moreover, it is important for Pelosi to signal to her listeners that she is not talking about this tax year, when many will receive tax cuts. So she earns two Pinocchios."