Trump’s Broken Promises: GOP Tax Bill Fills Wealthy People’s Pockets, Takes Money From Middle Class, Poor

President Donald Trump is calling the Republican tax plan, which Congress passed Wednesday, his Christmas gift to Americans. But the final version of the bill significantly under-delivers on the sweeping legislation the president spoke about while on the campaign trail and throughout his first year in office.

The tax plan, approved by Senate and House Republicans last Friday, is about one-quarter the size of what the president initially promised, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Here are three ways the final tax plan does not live up to the promises that Trump made to the American people.

1. The cuts for the middle class are meager and temporary

Trump promised a “massive” 35 percent tax cut for America’s middle class, but the final bill lowers taxes for middle-income earners by about 10 percent and only for eight years, as they are set to expire in 2025. 

“This will be fantastic for the middle-income people,” the president told a group of reporters before leaving for Camp David last week. “This is going to be one of the great Christmas gifts to middle-income people,” he repeated, echoing a sentiment expressed over the course of his presidential campaign and throughout his first year in office.

Middle-income Americans will benefit by around $1,000 initially, according to Tax Policy Center estimates. But by 2027, the majority of middle-class households would get no tax cut, and some would actually pay more.

The middle class is defined here as the middle quintile of taxpayers, but the Republican Party has indicated that it considers earning up to $450,000 to be middle class. 

2. There will be significant tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy

“This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me,” Trump told supporters of the tax plan at a rally in late November. “This is not good for me.... I think my accountants are going crazy right now.”

It’s a talking point the president used frequently while working to get the tax cuts through Congress. He would say his rich friends were calling him up and saying they hate him, because the wealthy were not going to benefit from the cuts.

But high-income individuals actually receive the bulk of the cuts in the final version of the bill. The bill cuts the top income tax rate and the alternative minimum tax, which ensures that the ultra-wealthy pay at least a little bit to the Internal Revenue Service each year. The rate cuts for pass-through businesses, the corporate rate cut and the estate tax exemption also aid the richest Americans.

The largest cuts as a share of income will go to taxpayers in the 95th to 99th percentiles of income distribution. 

3. Individual income rates will not be simplified and are higher than promised

Trump’s plan sought to bring the highest individual tax rate down from 39.6 percent to 33 percent, a far cry from the ultimate bill’s top rate of 37 percent. Trump initially proposed only three brackets: 12 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent. As the final bill stands, the United States has the same number of tax brackets it had previously: seven.

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