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- Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a story about tax cuts and a beer tab during Monday’s White House press briefing. The story, which attempts to explain why benefits of a tax cut would mostly go to the wealthy, has been floating around the internet since 2001. Sanders read the story to explain the effects of the forthcoming Republican tax bill.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders kicked off Monday’s press briefing with a story about a bar tab to try to explain who would benefit from the plan.
The Republican tax reform framework has been criticized after a Tax Policy Center analysis showed that 80% of its benefits would end up with the top 1% of income earners in the US.
Sanders used an iteration of a decades-old chain letter that explained the distribution of tax cut benefits for people of various income levels. In this case, the analogy was a bar tab.
The parable makes the argument that since wealthy people pay the largest burden of taxes in the US, they will also receive the most benefit from a tax cut. It also suggests that wealthy people will leave the US if they are made to pay more in taxes.
During the briefing, Sanders said the story has been “floating around the internet for awhile” before launching into the story. According to Snopes, the story has been passed around for nearly two decades and been attributed to a variety of economics professors.
The origin of the story, which originally referenced the bill at a dinner rather than a bar tab, appears to be a letter to the editor from a March 2001 edition of the Chicago Tribune.
The story was then reprinted at various outlets in various forms, most notably in a column from the conservative writer William F. Buckley for National Review in April 2001 in which he attributed it to “a friend, via the Internet.”
The beer iteration Sanders read appears most similar to a version of the story from the conservative-leaning Independent Journal Review in 2014, which was attributed to “David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. – Professor of Economics.” However, according to Snopes, Kamerschen denies being its original source.