In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other members of...
Carolyn Kaster

GOP tax plan’s champions are also its beneficiaries


When the debate over the Republican tax plan began in earnest, the GOP’s talking points focused largely on the middle class. That, we now know, was rather ironic: the middle class receives modest benefits in the short term, and if the Republican plan is fully implemented, these same households face a tax hike in the long term.

But making matters slightly worse is the fact that many of those selling the regressive package also stand to benefit most from the proposal. As CNBC reported, that includes members of Congress.

Dozens of lawmakers stand to reap a tax windfall thanks to a loophole inserted in the sweeping GOP tax overhaul bill, according to a review of federal financial disclosures. […]

Those benefits will now go to roughly four dozen Republican House and Senate members who voted for the bill, according to an analysis of personal financial disclosures for CNBC by the Center for Responsive Politics. They include Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Bob Corker of Tennessee and James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee and Vern Buchanan of Florida.

There’s also Donald Trump’s cabinet to consider. The Guardian  reported the other day on an analysis from the Center for American Progress.

Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary; Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration; Betsy DeVos, the education secretary; Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary; and Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, will benefit to the tune of $4.5 [million] from changes to the estate tax, according to the CAP.

The same article also highlighted the effects of Republican changes to rates on “pass-through” income, which will reportedly deliver estimated annual benefits to Jared Kushner between $5 million and $12 million, and $2.7 million for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

And then, of course, there’s the president himself. The New York Times published this gem:

President Trump would save about $11 million on his taxes, if the new Republican tax overhaul were applied to his 2005 tax return, a New York Times analysis has found. The savings would be a roughly 30 percent cut. He would also save another $4.4 million on his eventual estate tax bill. […]

On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “In some ways, particularly on the personal side, the president will likely take a big hit.” Last month, Mr. Trump said he would be a “big loser” under the tax bill.

In fact, high-income earners like Mr. Trump are likely to benefit disproportionately from the new law. Nearly 43 percent of the tax overhaul’s total benefits will flow to the top 5 percent of taxpayers, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

A Washington Post  analysis added, “The Republicans’ first legislative triumph of 2017 will ensure a financial windfall for the president and his family in a way that is virtually unprecedented in American political history, experts said.”

Stepping back, the political cynicism is just staggering. Those selling the regressive policy stand to make a bundle, while those on the receiving end of the sales pitch stand to end up with very little (and in the long run, less than nothing).

When Tom Edsall said one “cannot be too cynical” about the Republican policy, he was right.

Tax Policy and Tax Reform

GOP tax plan's champions are also its beneficiaries