POLITICS

'Fox & Friends' Host Falsely Claims Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Will Tax 70 Percent Of Paychecks

The congresswoman's suggestion was that a 70 percent rate be applied only to earnings beyond $10 million.

Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt told New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor Michael Goodwin that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wants to tax his paycheck at 70 percent, when that’s not what the congresswoman has proposed at all.

On “Fox & Friends” on Monday, Earhardt asked Goodwin about why he thinks Ocasio-Cortez has so much support within the Democratic party.

“When you hear they’re going to tax 70 percent of your paycheck, if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets her way, how do they have so much support?” she asked Goodwin.

Goodwin responded by saying that “young people today are not being educated properly in schools” and “don’t know the history of our country.”

“They don’t know the history of other countries. They don’t understand economics,” he said.

“She’s charming and delightful in many ways,” he said of Ocasio-Cortez. “She got an economics degree from Boston University and she clearly doesn’t understand how the unemployment rate works. She said that it’s low because so many people have two jobs. Now, how do you get an economics degree from a major college and not understand that that’s not how the unemployment rate works? How is that possible?” 

There is so much to unpack there.

For one, Ocasio-Cortez did not propose taking 70 percent of anyone’s income. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” the 29-year-old suggested applying this marginal rate only to earnings amounting to more than $10 million. This means that those impacted would pay a much lower share of their income overall and the average tax rate for working Americans could potentially go down under her idea. 

A report in CNBC explains how Ocasio-Cortez’s idea is in line with America’s economic history. While the top tax rate stood above 90 percent throughout the 1950s, deductions and tax avoidance led to taxes on the rich being “not that much higher,” according to a 2017 article by the Tax Foundation.

A top rate of 70 percent was active up until 1981, when President Ronald Reagan took office. The most affluent 1 percent were paying an average rate of 30.5 percent. By 1989, when Reagan left office, the top rate was reduced to 28 percent — but average tax rates for the most affluent had only slightly dropped to 27.9 percent.

Since then, the last three decades have had top rates below 40 percent. Many have tried to change that. Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed a 54.2 percent rate for income above $10 million in his 2016 presidential campaign proposal and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed 43.6 percent for earnings above $5 million.

As for the congresswoman’s comments on unemployment, she discussed her understanding of how it’s calculated in July 2018 after the press and many members of the GOP ripped her words apart. It’s unclear as to why Goodwin is bringing up the remarks again, half a year later.

Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on Earhardt’s remarks, but she did fire off a response on Twitter after President Trump weighed in.

When Trump took questions on his way out of the White House on Monday, a reporter asked the president about Ocasio-Cortez calling him a racist. To that, Trump said, “who cares.”

The newly elected representative tweeted that she got “under his skin” and that she’d “say we’d be taxing 70% of Trump’s income, but he probably hasn’t made more than $10 million in years - and that’s the real reason he’s hiding his taxes.”

CONVERSATIONS