Making the pitch for his infrastructure and tax hike plan on Wednesday, President Biden said: “I start with one rule: No one. I’ll say it again: No one making under $400,000 will see their federal taxes go up. Period.”
But this is a lie. As Charlie Cooke has pointed out previously, White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained that the $400,000 refers to families. (See the official White House transcript here). In other words, people with combined household income of $400,000. That is the only way for the Biden plan to produce the revenue it claims to raise.
Psaki generated news at the time, because during the campaign, Biden led voters to believe he was talking about individuals. And many more households meet the $400,000 threshold than individuals do.
But by definition, “no one” refers to one single person — and so the plainest interpretation for an average person watching today is that he is talking about individual income.
At this point, Biden’s contradictory signals cannot be chalked up to mere slip-ups. It is pretty clear that when speaking to a broader audience, he wants to make them believe his tax hikes won’t touch individuals earning under $400,000. But when it comes to putting out budgetary details or answering questions to policy reporters, the White House says he is referring to household income so as to help make the numbers seem more plausible.