The very wealthy got most of the benefits under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
House Republicans are accusing President Joe Biden of raising taxes on working families, claiming that the expiration of part of Donald Trump's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2025 will increase the tax burden on the middle class and therefore will amount to a broken campaign promise.
But working- and middle-class people gained little from the tax legislation, which benefitted mainly the highest earners. In many cases, Americans saw higher taxes after the tax bill was enacted.
"Remember when Joe Biden promised to not increase taxes on lower and middle-income earners making less than $400,000 a year? That was FALSE!" tweeted Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko on Thursday. "Biden is allowing middle-class tax cuts to expire to achieve one of the highest tax burdens in American history."
"Biden PROMISED not to raise taxes on the middle class. Now he plans to end Trump's tax cuts. Get ready for higher taxes and more LIES," agreed Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson.
Arizona Rep. David Schweikert complained that Biden's budget proposal "Allows tax cuts passed in #TCJA helping hard-working Americans to expire. No extension proposed."
"The #BidenBudget would create $55 trillion in new taxes over 10 years – the highest sustained tax burden in American history," said California Rep. Michelle Steel. "The last thing American families need is higher taxes to pay for more out of control government spending."
They are upset that the individual tax rates set by the 2017 tax legislation — which was passed through the process of budget reconciliation without a single Democratic vote — were not permanent. GOP efforts to make them permanent have been unsuccessful.
According to a July 2019 Forbes analysis, the wealthiest fifth of Americans received 52.2% of the total tax cuts and the bottom fifth got just 3.3%. While those earning more than $1 million per year saw an average tax cut of $69,660, those making less than $75,000 per year saved less than $1,000.
And while most Americans saw some level of reduction in their tax withholding, 10 million families actually saw their taxes increase due in large part to changes in deductions and exemptions.
Biden's campaign promise did not include making Trump's law permanent. He promised not to increase rates for anyone making under $400,000 a year — and to increase them on those making that amount or above.
Biden has also pushed to cut taxes for the nonwealthy and has already done so. His American Rescue Plan, passed without a single GOP vote, included a 2021 tax cut of $3,040 for the average American. This, according to Forbes, was about double the average tax cut of $1,600 under the Trump tax law.
His proposed American Families Plan includes an array of tax cuts for lower- and middle-income Americans. It would also keep his campaign promise to raise rates for those earning $400,000 and above.
Republicans in Congress have unanimously opposed this, even though polling shows broad support for the idea. According to a late April Monmouth University poll, 65% of American adults support the tax increase for the wealthiest Americans and 33% oppose it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.