On Wednesday, former vice president and current 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden falsely claimed that the Heritage Foundation said the 2017 Republican tax cuts “didn’t work.” Heritage, one of America’s most prominent conservative think tanks, quickly shot down the false claim, referencing its research on the widespread benefits of the tax cuts.
“Even the Heritage Foundation has pointed out that his tax cut did not work,” Biden said at a town hall in Spartanburg, S.C.
“Even the Heritage Foundation has pointed out that his tax cut did not work.” Biden sez
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) August 28, 2019
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been one of the strongest and boldest reforms of President Donald Trump’s first term in office,” Heritage spokeswoman Gloria Taylor said in a statement sent to reporters. Her email linked to an October 2018 study showing how Americans in each state have benefitted from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).
“The evidence is clear that all Americans are benefiting from the tax cuts,” Heritage’s Adam Michel, an informal advisor to the White House on the tax cuts bill, said in a statement. “Following the reform, Americans across the country had bigger paychecks and businesses increased investment, wages, and jobs. Average wage growth has been above 3% for the last 11 straight months and the lowest wage earners are benefiting from some of the largest wage gains.”
“Last year, The Heritage Foundation calculated what Americans across the country can expect from the tax cuts. The average household can expect about $26,000 more in take-home pay over the next 10 years thanks to the tax reform,” Michel added.
According to the Washington Examiner, when asked to defend his comments, the former vice president told reporters that “early on, [The Heritage Foundation] said they talked about whether or not it has stimulated the economy significantly. There was no great argument that it was, it stimulated the economy and generated significant growth relative to the amount of money that was being spent,” Biden said.
Biden pivoted to the debt. “And the debt is serious. I think the Heritage Foundation acknowledges that the increase of the debt by two trillion dollars is a serious problem. The point was, we have to deal with that growth will not be sustained as long as you have this gigantic debt,” he said.
Heritage’s Taylor shot down this “disingenuous” response. “What I find very interesting is that Biden is covering up an obvious gaffe with a pivot to concern for the debt and deficit—selectively deciding to be deficit hawk if you will,” she told PJ Media in an email.
“Heritage has a long record saying we don’t have a revenue problem, we have spending problem,” she added. “But the left, now concerned about deficits is at the same time proposing trillions in new government programs (M4A, GND, Free College, Min Wage) and proposing taxes on the rich to cover it. The reality is that they will need taxes on the middle class and radical increases in debt and deficit to pay for this stuff.”
“Pivoting to the debt as his concern on the tax cuts is completely disingenuous, especially when revenue isn’t the problem,” she concluded.
Taylor was referring to a recent Heritage study which found that taxing the rich at 100 percent and confiscating all corporate profits would still fall more than $13 trillion short of paying for the low estimate of the cost of the Green New Deal.
It remains unclear where Biden got the notion that the Heritage Foundation had ever attacked the tax cuts. His suggestion was truly bizarre.
In recent weeks, Biden has: claimed that he was vice president during the Parkland shooting last year; said that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids;” mixed up Margaret Thatcher with Theresa May and Angela Merkel; claimed that 40 students were shot at Kent State in 1970 — rather than the 13 who were shot; claimed that Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were killed in the 1970s — rather than in 1968; and more. He mixed up the locations of the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
In a moment worthy of satire, the former vice president actually dared to insist, “I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts.”
At what point do gaffes become evidence of senility?
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.