Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is weighing a policy shift that would “grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy,” and administration would create the policy while bypassing Congress. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed yesterday that Donald Trump “has asked the Treasury Department to take a look into it.”
She added, “This is something that has a lot of support from various people.”
And while that was hilariously vague, it’d be great to hear from some of these “various people,” because for the rest of us, the president’s plan is an awfully tough sell. The Washington Post’s Matt O’Brien made the case yesterday that the new tax cut Trump has in mind “makes no sense.”
President Trump campaigned as a different kind of Republican who would raise taxes on the rich so much that it was going to “cost” him “a fortune.” So, of course, he’s considering a plan that would almost exclusively give a near-exclusive tax cut to the wealthy investors who came out way ahead on his last tax plan – and this time he’d even bypass Congress to do it.
Nothing says populism like giving billionaires a tax cut by executive fiat.
O’Brien went on to explain that the idea behind the gambit may be to spur increased investments, all of the evidence from recent years helps prove those investments simply don’t materialize.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, meanwhile, estimates that 86% of the benefits of this plan, if implemented, would go to the top 1% of U.S. households – a group of extremely wealthy people who really don’t need yet another tax break.
A separate Washington Post analysis added this week:
Over the past 30 years, federal policymakers have made a number of changes to the tax code – including reductions in top income tax rates, capital gains tax cuts and estate tax cuts – that have resulted in a massive redistribution of national income from the poor to the rich.
The tax cuts signed into law by President Trump late last year – containing reductions to the corporate tax rate and lower rates for top earners – appear likely to accelerate these trends.
Donald Trump has apparently examined this policy landscape and determined that the wealthiest of the wealthy just haven’t benefited enough.
The next time you see someone describe the president as a “populist,” keep this story in mind.