Speed Reads

GOP tax plan

Trump and GOP promises about middle-class tax cuts were apparently swamped by ideology, lobbying, math

President Trump makes his final pitch for the Republican tax bill on Wednesday, with Senate and House Republicans aiming to have a final bill ready by Friday. But if Trump plans on touting a tax bill focused on the middle class, as he has been all year, the Republican plan isn't that. In all, The Washington Post says, the bill provides $1 trillion in tax cuts for businesses over 10 years, $100 billion in savings for estates worth $11 million or more, and $300 billion in temporary cuts for all households combined.

If Trump was serious about targeting the middle class and not the rich, he was ill-served by Republicans in Congress, the Post reports, though based on more than 40 public statements and interviews with top White House and congressional officials, "Trump and his top advisers have continuously prioritized corporate cuts." For many reasons — ideological, lobbying, and because Senate Republicans could lose only two votes — Republicans favored corporate tax cuts, too. There were extenuating circumstances, too, as when House Republicans planned to include a $300 "family flexibility credit," the Post reports:

But the night before they would release the bill, when top tax writer Kevin Brady (R-Texas) was trying to sort out the tax changes and monitor the performance of his Houston Astros in the final game of the World Series, they made a major change to this provision, according to a person briefed on the changes. ... Corporations were concerned their tax cut would last only eight years, a limitation that was necessary to keep the bill under the $1.5 trillion limit. Brady agreed. So in a last-minute decision, Republicans cut the duration of the family tax credit in half — ending it after only five years — to make the corporate tax cut permanent. In effect, Republicans handed $200 billion from families to corporations. [The Washington Post]

You can read more about how the stated middle-class goal became the GOP reality at The Washington Post.