The Big Tax Problem in Trump’s Budget

Shutterstock | Rob Crandall

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There’s already been a huge backlash against the Trump administration’s 2020 budget proposal since it was released on Monday, and for good reason. The plan is disastrous for a myriad of reasons, but so far, there hasn’t been much discussion about the way it conceals – and even worsens – the consequences of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Those initial tax cuts are expected to add an estimated $1.85 trillion to the deficit in lost revenue from 2018 through 2028. This budget, however, makes things worse. The administration’s budget further extends those tax cuts, adding a whopping $1.1 trillion to the deficit on top of the already accounted-for $1.85 trillion in lost revenue. In doing so, the administration is essentially pulling a trillion dollars out of Medicare, Medicaid, and other important programs and handing that money to the wealthy.

And don’t be fooled by the GOP’s talk of their tax bill as a middle class tax cut – the benefits of this tax cut are wildly skewed towards the rich. Let’s look at on a personal level. According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2026, 63 percent of the extended tax cuts will go to the wealthiest 20%. In that year alone, the top 1% would receive an average of $40,180 tax cut compared to current law in 2019. Meanwhile, the poorest 20% of the population will receive an average tax change of -1%.

The administration’s budget slashes public services, underfunds important agencies, and cooks the basic math to make it look like spending (and not their own tax policy) is out of control. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the proposal goes a step further in actually raiding tax credits that help working people. The proposal aims to strip $67.6 billion from the earned income access credit, the child tax credit, and other dependent credit – credits that help working families save and provide for their kids and other dependents’ futures.

Further, it adds insult to injury by providing even more gifts in the form of tax incentives to rich folks, at the expense of the poor. It proposes a $45.5 billion school choice credit, to incentivize richer families to send their kids to private schools. This would spark a further funding exodus from already cash-strapped public schools.

These are just a couple examples, but without the supporting documents that go through budget policy line by line, it’s hard to say what the full extent of the tax disaster would be if this proposal ever became law. Though, if it’s anything like the outline suggests, it will definitely be an absolute catastrophe for the majority of Americans – just maybe not us millionaires.

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