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Sarah Huckabee Sanders just walked back a big Trump talking point

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders walked back President Donald Trump's claim about taxes during Friday's press briefing. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump says that the United States is the "highest taxed nation in the world." He's said it on Twitter, and he's said it at rallies.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked during a White House press briefing why Trump keeps saying it, when fact-checkers have detailed why it isn't accurate.

Her response: “I believe there are specific sectors within the country that are among the highest taxed in the world."

Instead of "America," it's "specific sectors" of America. Instead of "highest taxed," it's "among the highest taxed."

Where do we rank?

Here's where America ranks in taxation in terms of taxed revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product (based on a Pew Research Center study from 2015):

  • Married couple, two children, single-income family at 200% of average wage: 34th in the world
  • Single person employed at average wage: 22nd in the world
  • Married couple, two children, one income average wage and one income at 67% of average: 30th in the world
  • Single person, two children making 70% of average wage: 34th in the world

The U.S. is closer to the top of the rankings in terms of corporate taxes; ranking third in the world, below Chad and the United Arab Emirates. That rate doesn't take deductions and exclusions into account, so the actual rate corporations pay is typically lower.

So, neither Trump's nor Sanders' claim is correct if they're talking about taxation overall.

However, if they're talking about corporate taxes specifically, then Sanders' "specific sector...among the highest" modification of Trump's statement is true.

What does Trump want to do about taxes?

The president's proposed tax plan would:

  • Lower the corporate tax
  • Lower small business taxes
  • Eliminate the estate tax
  • Cut taxes on high-income households
  • Increase deductions for low-income households
  • Increase the child tax credit
  • Result in approximately $2.2 trillion in net tax cuts, with the potential downside being that those cuts could increase the national debt.
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