The average tax refund is down nearly 17 percent. Chuck Grassley and the rest of the GOP wish people would stop talking about it.
Republicans are scrambling to contain the fallout from the Trump tax cut — but this latest attempt, by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), is worse than most.
Speaking to reporters last week, Grassley expressed disbelief that people would care about how big their tax refund is.
“Isn’t it kind of stupid to look at a refund, what your refund is?” he said.
This isn't surprising coming from Grassley, as he doesn't think much of ordinary taxpayers. Instead, he only loves people rich enough to invest, as opposed to "those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies."
When they passed the Republican tax scam, Grassley and the rest of the GOP made a cynical calculation that they hoped voters wouldn't notice. They lowered paycheck withholding for 2018, which fooled many people into thinking they were getting a big tax cut.
But they weren't. Instead, they were mostly just paying less in taxes throughout the year — which meant their 2019 tax refunds would be much smaller than they were expecting, or that they might even owe the government money.
Nearly 70 percent of taxpayers get refunds of around $3,000, which they often depend on to pay off debt or cover big expenses. Grassley and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) tried to appease people by claiming in an op-ed that lower refunds are proof the GOP is keeping more money in taxpayers' hands all year long.
The thing is, the tax cut wasn't sold as a small measure whereby you'd see a few extra bucks each week but lose your refund. It was spun as sweeping reform and a massive benefit to all. With each passing day of this tax season, it becomes more and more clear how untrue that was.
The wheels have been coming off of the GOP tax scam for a while now. Prior to the actual filing season, GOPers like Paul Ryan could still lie to the American public and insist that the tax cuts were great because people saw a whopping extra $1.50 per week in their paycheck.
But now that tax returns are coming in, it's clear that Trump tax cuts only benefit corporations and the mega-rich.
Giant corporations like Amazon and GM are receiving over $100 million each in refunds, even as they saw profits well over $10 billion, thanks to the Trump tax cuts. United States banks wrapped up 2018 with an extra $28.8 billion in profits because of the tax bill.
Meanwhile, for regular folks, the average refund is down nearly 17 percent, falling from $3,256 to $2,703.
Theoretically, the GOP's withholding scam might have inspired people to turn out for Republicans in the midterms. And by the time the lower refunds kicked in for 2019, it would be too late for electoral consequences.
Of course, the 2018 midterms didn't go as Republicans had hoped — and they're now learning that people care deeply about their refunds.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.