Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) got pretty worked up Thursday night, right before the Senate Finance Committee approved a massive tax package on a party-line vote, when Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said the bill benefits the wealthy at the expense of the middle class — a view widely embraced by Americans. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders similarly insisted on Thursday that both the Senate and House version, which passed Thursday afternoon, will provide tax cuts to middle-class families, as President Trump has repeatedly promised.
Also on Thursday, the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress' official nonpartisan tax scorekeeper, estimated that by 2027, everyone making $75,000 or less a year would pay higher taxes under the Senate plan than current law. The tax increases would begin in 2021 for households making between $10,000 and $30,000, and creep up until 2026, when the individual tax cuts — but not the deep cuts to corporate taxes — would expire.
The Senate bill is a big gamble that deep and sustained tax cuts for corporations will spur sharp economic growth, and that businesses will use their windfall on hiring, wages, and investment. But the bill also picks winners — states Trump won, beer brewers, private aircraft businesses, citrus growers, the heirs of the super wealthy — and losers.
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Republicans argue that Congress won't actually let the individual tax cuts expire — a provision they added to conform to Senate rules that let them pass the bill with 50 votes if the bill doesn't increase the federal deficit by more than $1.5 trillion. But "middle-class families planning ahead can imagine two possible consequences from that decision," The New York Times notes: "Either an immediate increase in their taxes eight years from now, or an explosion in federal budget deficits, which could necessitate spending cuts to safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare."
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