The tax bill championed by Republicans like Reps. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) is doing exactly what critics warned: showering the wealthy with deficit-financed tax breaks, while leaving workers and the American middle class behind. The latest Gallup poll confirms, once again, a majority of Americans disapprove of the tax bill.
It makes sense that Americans continue to hold a negative view of the bill. For one, the overwhelming majority of the benefits are going to the already wealthy. In 2018, the richest 1 percent will see a tax break of more than $50,000, or almost $1,000 per week. The poorest 20 percent will see a mere $60 spread out over the course of the entire year, slightly more than $1 per week.
For Californians, the news is especially bleak. Tax hikes will arrive for millions of residents in the Golden State. Homeowners in Los Angeles will see a 30-year mortgage cost up to $76,000 more, thanks to new changes in the tax bill. In Orange County, Walters’ home-owning constituents could see a tax hike of $4,500 this year. No wonder 61 percent of Californians disapprove of the tax bill.
On the day the bill passed the House of Representatives, Walters boasted it would “allow hard-working Americans to keep more of their paychecks.” Rich corporations, meanwhile, are spending their Congressional kickbacks to enrich Wall Street rather than investing in workers, through record-setting dividend payments and stock buybacks.
According to USA Today, “it is the massive spending on dividends and share buybacks that critics pounce on, as this use of cash benefits the wealthy and company shareholders, rather than middle-class workers.” After all, the wealthiest 10 percent of households own an astounding 84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans, according to a New York University economist.
USA Today further reports that less than 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies gave bonuses to workers as a result of the tax bill. Republicans like Knight cling to flashy press releases from the few companies that did give a bonus, knowing they were the exception and not the rule. The majority of workers say they have not seen any increase in their own paychecks.
Republicans, including Walters, said the bill would be a boon to small business. Instead, the unfair advantage given to wealthy corporations drew a quick rebuke from small business owners, who soured on a bill heaping more advantages on those with the most resources.
Of course, the corporate kickbacks doled out are not free; Republicans in Congress decided to pay for the tax bill through a massive increase to the national deficit. Republicans like Walters and Knight ran for Congress on pledges to cut the deficit, only to vote for this bill, which along with other changes is increasing the deficit by more than $2 trillion. The fiscal recklessness of the tax bill even threatens America’s credit rating.
Claims that the deficit-financed boondoggle — promoted as “rocket fuel” for the economy — would lead to an abundance of new jobs and increasing wages for workers didn’t pan out either. The most recent jobs report from the Labor Department shows an economy performing largely as it did in years past. The economy continues to grow like it did under President Obama, except America is now saddled with more debt.
Thanks to a recent report, Americans now know 80 percent of gains from the tax bill are going offshore to foreign investors. In other words, the United States will borrow money to pay for an unpopular tax bill so that foreign investors can receive four out of every five dollars of economic gain. On top of that, there are provisions in the bill designed to incentivize corporations to outsource jobs and hide profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
The unpopularity of the tax bill isn’t only about its skewed rewards system. Massive changes to health care policy, which is leading to dramatic health care cost increases, is also an issue for the public.
In California, premiums are set to increase by up to 30 percent next year. In other states, increases of up to 94 percent are expected in the next three years, mainly due to Republican-backed provisions in the tax bill. Millions will lose health insurance, including 1.6 million in California.
The bill is so bad even Republicans struggle, and fail, when campaigning on its merits. In a recent Pennsylvania congressional special election, the bill was so unpopular Republicans stopped talking about it, pivoting instead to Trump-like race-baiting, anti-immigrant advertising. (In a district Trump won by 20 points, the Democratic challenger won.)
Americans across the country recently took to the streets to demand an end to what organizers call the Trump Tax. Marchers have plenty of reasons to be unhappy about a policy that’s failing them, and according to Gallup, they represent the majority of America.