Trump keeps promising middle-class tax cuts. Here's why you shouldn't trust him.


The oft-pledged tax cuts for ordinary people somehow just never seem to materialize.

An enormous tax cut for middle-class Americans is coming soon, Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday, if he and his party win in November.

If this pledge sounds familiar, it's because he has made and broken it many times before.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal this week that if he wins a second term and Republicans regain control of Congress, he will cut taxes for the middle class. He declined to share any details of his plan with the paper, saying only that it would be unveiled in three months.

Hours later, Trump went on Fox Business Network and repeated his vague promise. "We are going to be doing a middle-class tax cut, a very big one," he claimed. "We'll be doing that. We'll be announcing that over the next 90 days."

Back in 2016, candidate Trump announced that if elected, he would offer a $4.4 trillion tax cut (which he said he would somehow pretend was just a $2.6 trillion tax cut for accounting reasons). He told middle-class families that they would see their tax bills fall by more than a third.

But in 2017, he instead pushed through a $2.3 trillion tax cut that mostly went to corporations and the very rich. Though Trump falsely claimed it would bring significant "tax relief for middle-income families," it did not. Millions of families saw their taxes go up and most Americans felt no impact from his unpopular Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

In October 2018, weeks before the midterm elections, Trump made an unsuccessful gambit to try to save the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Though Congress was not even in session, he announced he would push for "a very major tax cut" for the middle class "sometime around the first of November, maybe a little before that."

Though he claimed his administration was "studying very deeply right now, around the clock, a major tax cut for middle-income people," no such proposal ever materialized.

Last September, Trump told a congressional Republican retreat that in 2020 he would announce a "very substantial tax cut" that would be "very, very inspirational."

It is unclear how Trump intends to reduce revenue further without breaking another promise: as a candidate Trump said he would eliminate both the budget deficit and the national debt during his tenure.

The annual deficit passed $1 trillion in 2019 and the debt is currently at an all-time high of more than $23 trillion, despite what Trump has dubbed the "Greatest Economy in American History."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.