OPINION: Press secretary has to clean up Biden's continued misstatement of who will bear bulk of tax burden

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Clint Cooper, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.
·4 min read
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Mar. 21—Promises, promises

The Biden administration long knew it would not be honoring then-candidate Joe Biden's August 2020 promise not to raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000, but it just forgot to tell the president (or he forgot to commit it to memory).

So Biden sat down with ABC's former Bill Clinton aide, George Stephanopoulos, last week and dutifully repeated the line.

"Yes," the president said, "anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase. If you make less than $400,000, you won't see one single penny in additional federal tax."

Well, not so much, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

She said Biden meant "families" instead of "anybody" and that the threshold would be about $200,000 rather than $400,000.

However, the candidate had been similarly clear in August in answering a reporter, who pointed out that Trump had been saying his opponent would raise their taxes.

"I will raise taxes for anybody making over $400,000," Biden said.

"So no new taxes for anyone under $400,000?" the reporter asked.

"No new taxes," Biden said. "There's no need for new taxes."

Who's Zooming who?

Meanwhile, out on the West Coast, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is playing the same game. At least twice in the past week, the governor said his family is enduring "Zoom school" like the rest of California.

Except that's not quite true.

At least three of Newsom's four children, ages 4 to 11, attend a private school in Sacramento County, which has offered in-school classes since Nov. 9 and had offered half days before that.

Worse is that the governor — likely facing a recall later this year because of his handling of the COVID-19 virus in the state — said in a news conference Oct. 30 that all his children had returned to their classrooms. And a Nov. 20 Los Angeles Times story confirmed their status there.

So the "Zoom school" comments — made both in his State of the State address and in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper — may have been an effort to convince Californians that he is one of them.

But his previous "Do-what-I-say, not-what-I-do" actions already have convinced residents of the Golden State that his word doesn't mean much.

Miss me, yet?

CNN, like fact-checking organizations that only drew attention over the past four years because they focused on former President Donald Trump, is dropping like a rock.

Since the 45th president left office in January, and was banned by Twitter en route, the left-wing news network is down an average of about a million viewers per night. Worse for their ad revenue, they've also declined 47% in viewership by the coveted 24-54 age group, which does most of the country's purchasing.

The network's daytime ratings also have tanked, falling about 600,000 viewers daily and about 44% in the 24-54 age group.

During Trump's last year in office, CNN occasionally topped Fox News in some ratings sectors, but now has fallen behind both Fox and fellow left-wing network MSNBC.

The former president, with his usual grandiose words, predicted such back in 2017.

"All forms of media will tank" when he leaves office, Trump said. "Without me, their ratings are going down the tubes."

MAGA miscalculation

A New Jersey teacher who in 2017 was forced to digitally edit out a pro-President Donald Trump "Make America Great Again" shirt a student wore in a yearbook photo will be paid $325,000 by the offending school district.

Susan Parsons, who also was the yearbook sponsor at a Wall Township school, said a secretary acting on the principal's behalf ordered her to edit the photo and make it look like the student was wearing just a blue shirt.

The teacher, who voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, said the district administration then made her a scapegoat for the picture, and that she received death threats. Initially, she was given a paid suspension.

In the settlement of a lawsuit later filed by Parsons, the school district did not have to make an admission of wrongdoing or liability. But it did reissue the yearbook with the original photo. Of her $325,000 settlement, which will be covered by the district's insurance carrier, she will get $204,000, and the rest will go to attorneys fees.