Conservatives have consistently demonstrated that they don’t understand how taxes work — or are intentionally misrepresenting it to the public.
Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt seemed like she didn’t understand how marginal tax rates work during an interview with New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin on tax policy on Monday. Ironically, she did this during an interview that focused on how Democrats supposedly don’t understand economics.
At one point, Earhardt referred to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) idea to increase the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent. But the way Earhardt described it, she said it would result in the government “taxing 70 percent of your paycheck.”
This is, of course, not true. For one, top marginal tax rates have been much higher at other points in American history, and a 70 percent top rate might actually be low for what some economic studies suggest would be fair. For another, marginal tax rates begin taxing at higher rates as you go up the income scale, breaking up your money and taxing each bucket according to the marginal rate. Vox’s Alvin Chang has a visual explainer on how they work.
Goodwin didn’t correct Earhardt, but instead attacked Democrats for “ignorance” and said, “I frankly think American young people today are not being educated properly in schools. They don’t know the history of our country, they don’t know the history of other countries, they don’t understand economics.”
Ainsley Earhardt falsely claims that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to “tax 70 percent of your paycheck” pic.twitter.com/Cko4ctP0BM— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 14, 2019
Conservatives have been spreading the misinformation about tax rates ever since Ocasio-Cortez first floated her tax proposal during a recent 60 Minutes interview. Since then, a number of prominent conservatives have revealed that they either don’t understand how marginal tax rates work or are intentionally spreading misinformation about it — including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and head of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist.
Monday wasn’t even the first time misinformation about Ocasio-Cortez’s tax idea was spread on Fox & Friends. Last week, co-host Brian Kilmeade falsely claimed “she wanted people taxed as high as 80 or 90 percent if you make $10 million or more, where she calls them the ‘tippy-top.’”
Even after co-host Steve Doocy attempted to fact-check him, Kilmeade was undeterred.
“What she doesn’t understand, and what Barack Obama nearly fully understood ... is that if you actually want to inspire money to make money and be successful and hire other people, don’t take all of their money,” Kilmeade said. “If you take all of it, there’s no motivation there.”