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EDITORIAL: The Donald Trump tax reform bill and progressive misinformation

Donald Trump’s charges of “fake news” often represent his own inimitable method of attempting to deflect unflattering press coverage. But every once in a while, the president throws a bull’s-eye when it comes to highlighting the mainstream media’s leftward tilt.

Monday was Tax Day. Thanks to the landmark GOP tax reform bill of 2017, about 80 percent of wage earners saw a reduction in their 2018 tax liability. But polls consistently show that most Americans don’t actually believe they benefited financially. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 17 percent of those surveyed thought they would pay less in federal income taxes thanks to the new law.

There are few satisfactory explanations for this other than the obvious fact that Democrats and their media stenographers have consistently portrayed the Trump tax bill as a sop to the rich and an affront to the beleaguered middle-class. The slant was so blatant that Sen. Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, received plenty of press traction earlier this year with her absurd and mathematically challenged claim that lower refunds for some taxpayers equated to higher tax bills.

Lo and behold, The New York Times this week acknowledged the issue. “To a large degree,” Timesmen Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley wrote Sunday, “the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained — and misleading — effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a middle-class tax increase.”

In other words, this erroneous perception has been driven in part because of a media failure to call out the nonsense being spouted by progressive opponents of tax reform. Would these watchdogs have been so derelict were the political tables turned? How is it that Democratic misinformation spreads so quickly and becomes so ingrained? The answer is obvious.

This isn’t about whether tax reform was a good idea. While we will stand every time with those who believe wage earners have the right to keep more of their own money, the nuances of tax policy are a matter of legitimate debate. Instead, this is about a concerted effort by the Trump resistance and its allies in the press to distort and fabricate in order to smear the administration and intentionally mislead voters for political ends.

And the purveyors of this false narrative remain unrepentant, continuing to pound away. “As Americans rush Monday to finish with their own tax filings,” Politico noted this week, “their judgment on Trump’s beloved tax cut bill is pretty clear: Most really don’t like it.”

Perhaps if they hadn’t been deluged with so many falsehoods and fabrications on this issue, they’d have a more informed and accurate perspective.

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