Fox News guests and hosts had a big laugh Thursday morning at the smaller tax refunds being received by millions of Americans.
Most working people who have filed 2018 tax returns so far have been surprised at getting smaller tax refunds — or owing more in taxes — after they had assumed their refunds would be bigger because of Trump’s tax cut bill.
Charles Payne, the host of “Making Money with Charles Payne” on the Fox Business Network, was a guest on “Fox & Friends” to discuss the situation faced by the people who are upset about seeing a big decrease in their tax refund. The segment opened with the statistic that there has been an 8.4 percent decline in the average tax refund compared to 2018.
Payne explained to the “Fox & Friends” hosts the reason for the decline:
“Here’s the thing: For the most part, the IRS is telling everyone that they just simply did not make the proper adjustments on their withholdings at the beginning of the year. So they have been making all of this money.”
He then clarified that “the mistake” in withholding was made by either the employees or their employers. But Payne insisted that the IRS was not to blame, saying:
“IRS actually put a lot of memos out. They even made it pretty easy to go on their website and figure it out. This was at the beginning of last year. Of course most people didn’t do that.”
“While people were obviously seeing fatter paychecks they were still counting on that refund they always got, which is interesting because, you kind of hinted at it, that we would allow the IRS to have like a $2,000 loan, our money, right? Hold on to it because we overpaid.”
“So people should probably consider making these adjustments anyway, unless you want to give the IRS two or three grand of your money to hold for a year. Maybe they can make the interest on it and you won’t.”
Co-host Brian Kilmeade then pointed out a flaw in Payne’s reasoning:
“But here’s the problem: There are certain things that are gone forever and that is, in these blue states — in Illinois, in New York as well as Los Angeles, New Jersey (forget Los Angeles, also California) — you can no longer write off state and local taxes. So that’s gone.”
Payne acknowledged Kilmeade’s observation and claimed:
“These states have put themselves in a bad predicament because they have taxed their residents, they have created these obligations, they have made these promises and they need to find out some of the taxes that they can probably address rather than going back to the government and asking someone in Mississippi to subsidize a millionaire in New York City’s — to subsidize their mortgage. It’s ridiculous.”
What these Fox News commentators have done is blamed Americans for a problem that they did not create. The problem of not withholding enough taxes was created by the IRS and the Trump administration.
The IRS adjusted the paycheck withholdings of all American workers at the beginning of 2018 to make it appear that they were paying less in taxes by getting more take-home pay. The Trump tax bill also eliminated major tax deductions, such as state and local taxes, which were used by middle class workers.
Once again Fox News is covering up for the missteps of the Trump administration.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.