There are plenty of controversial ideas in tax policy in the USA. Republicans often argue that lowering tax will enhance growth. Or that reducing taxes on corporations will increase wages. Many people disagree with these ideas, but they are at least arguable and not entirely implausible.

But the specific content of legislation and legislative proposals is not arguable and is a matter of public record. So if a tax bill proposes big tax cuts for the rich partially balanced by cuts in programmes for the poor and middle classes, that is not something that is debatable.

Hence my surprise to read this Twitter thread arguing that voters don't even believe the factual content of many Republican proposals:


I'm not interested in starting a debate about the specific merits of democrat or Republican tax policy. But the thread makes a specific claim about how voters react to policy. I've highlighted in bold the specific claims in excerpts from the thread:

  • When G W Bush postposed a post-9/11 stimulus to the economy it consisted of major corporate tax cuts and giveaways to the wealthy with little for others. When this was explained to voters:

    "It was so extreme that when political consultants tried to get reactions from voter focus groups, the voters refused to believe that they were describing the bill accurately."

  • When the Democrats were looking for ways to undermine the Romney campaign for the presidency, they tried some arguments about his views on tax but found:

    "when Priorities [a Democrat PAC] informed a focus group that Romney supporte the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing."

There is plenty to debate in the relative merits of different aspects of tax in the USA. But surely the factual elements should not be subject to so much voter skepticism.

Can it really be true that voters reject factual descriptions of Republican tax proposals?

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    Please focus this down to a specific claim and quote it. Claims need to be specific and explicit. The thread you cite gives two factual examples which perhaps can be used. All the rest is an opinion piece whose discussion is certainly more suited to politics.se. – Sklivvz Dec 3 '17 at 16:20
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    @Sklivvz The factual claim is simple: do voters refuse to believe factual descriptions of Republican tax proposals? I've highlighted the two factual sections in the source material that claim that. How can I be more clear? Please tell me exactly which part of the title or the last line (with the question in it) could be any clearer. – matt_black Dec 3 '17 at 16:37
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    Find a specific, factual claim, cite it verbatim and I'll try to see if we can reopen. – Sklivvz Dec 3 '17 at 17:46
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    This seems to be a question about the ability of humans to be stupid. I don't think this point has ever been in doubt. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 3 '17 at 20:31
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    "I'm not interested in starting a debate about the specific merits of democrat or Republican tax policy." But your source is making claims about the merit of R tax policy. If his claims about the policy are false, then they aren't fact. So people shouldn't believe them. Consider this restatement of your claim, "Voters refused to believe partisan Democrat lies about Republican policies." This is why we keep saying to get to the root claim. As is, this is way too broad to check. Presumably there is some focus group (or possibly poll) that disbelieved specific statements. – Brythan Dec 3 '17 at 22:59