By Josh Hoxie –
The more the public learns about the tax cut plan making its way through Congress, the more they hate it.
As the Trump tax cuts fly through Congress at breakneck speed, one has to wonder: What’s the big rush?
Surely a body known for gridlock and deliberation would want to hold hearings, interview stakeholders, and gather public input before restructuring the world’s largest economy. Instead, the tax-cut plan was rushed through both the House and Senate without a single public hearing or Democratic vote.
All the same, the public input so far is incredibly clear: People hate the Republican tax bill. Five recent polls confirm this.
A Quinnipiac national survey released December 5 showed voters disapprove of the bill by a nearly two-to-one margin (29% approve, 53% disapprove). ABC and CNN each conducted polls that showed an anemic 33% and 31% support for the bill. A comparable poll from Reuters put support at just 28%.
Perhaps most telling is a poll from Politico that initially pegged support at 48% in early October—a number that dropped 12 points to 36% in just two months.
In short, the more people learn about the bill, the less they like it. Hence the speed game on display in Congress right now.
It’s not that people don’t understand what’s in the tax bill: They do—and that’s why they dislike it. They’re becoming increasingly aware that this legislation is a heist—and they’re the victims, not the beneficiaries.
According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office, people making $40,000 to $50,000 would pay a combined $5.3 billion more in taxes by 2027. By contrast, households with income above $1 million would get a $5.8 billion cut.
Put simply, this is a direct transfer of wealth from $40,000-aires to millionaires. People get that, too.
The Quinnipiac survey showed 61% of the American public think—correctly—that the wealthy will benefit most from the plan. An ABC poll found nearly the same results. Less than a quarter of respondents to either poll believed the middle class was coming out on top.
Looking back to historical major legislation, the Washington Post found that this tax bill is the second most unpopular piece of major legislation considered by Congress in three decades. (What was number one? The failed Republican healthcare overhaul—the attempt to “kill” Obamacare—last spring.)
Congressional Republicans aren’t acting out of deference to the will of the people. They’re responding to the will of their donors, a fact they’re increasingly brazen about sharing publicly. They’re most concerned about protecting the private jet set, the folks who are already doing phenomenally well, at the expense of middle- and working-class families.
It’s not too late for Congress to change course.
Since the House and Senate passed two different versions, they’ve convened a conference committee to produce a final bill. The conference committee has the ability to end this mockery and restore faith to their disheartened constituents.
If they continue to prioritize wealthy campaign donors rather than the folks who actually pull the lever for them in the voting booth, they should have no doubt they’ll be held accountable.
Josh Hoxie is Director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies.