Cognitive Dissonance Alert!
March 6, 2013
Count on hearing this over and over until the state budget is signed into law, and no doubt for a while after that: Governor Walker’s state income tax cuts primarily benefit the wealthy and leave lower-income people out in the cold.
That’s the media/left-wing activist line and they’ll be sticking to it, undeterred by awkward details like the tax cuts not even being offered to those in the top two tax brackets.
Sometimes they’ll come right out and acknowledge that, simultaneously instructing the reader that all the benefit goes to the fat cats. For example, “Walker has touted his proposal as a ‘middle-class tax cut’ and pointed out that he only lowered income tax rates for the bottom three income brackets.” But the inconvenient truth didn’t stop the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from publishing this headline: “Much of tax savings from Scott Walker’s proposed cut would go to top 20%.”
Then there’s the always-helpful Associated Press, telling readers the tax cut would give more to the rich than the poor, “despite [Walker] billing it as a boon to the middle class.” After digesting that, those who read on for a few paragraphs find out the tax cut “would probably mean little to a family of four earning just $21,000.”
Why would that be? Because “with existing tax exemptions and credits, they currently would owe nothing and instead would get about a $575 refund.”
In other words, Walker’s tax cut is bad because it doesn’t give more tax relief to people who don’t pay the tax in the first place and who get a “refund” bigger than the tax cut for quite a few of those who actually do pay the tax.
We called this cognitive dissonance.