Trump individual income tax cut: $89 a day for the 1 percent; 11 cents a day for the poor
Tax Policy Center

WASHINGTON—What can you buy for 11 cents a day?

How about five packages of ear buds candy, with a penny left over? Or 11 little plastic glow-in-the dark wristbands?

Those are some of the items we found on e-bay that the poorest among us could buy with Donald Trump’s tax cut.

The non-partisan Tax Policy Center took apart the Trump-GOP Tax Cut and Jobs Act – the $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich and business the GOP-run Congress rammed through last year.

Its scholars isolated the impact of the individual income tax cuts alone, and came up with an astonishing comparison: The bottom 20 percent of taxpayers will get an average tax cut next year of $40 when they file their tax returns next year, covering 2018. They’re the folks making $20,000 or less.

That works out to 10.9 cents a day.

And 27 percent of those poor taxpayers will actually see a tax hike when they send in their forms next April 15, the Tax Policy Center adds.

By contrast, the top 1 percent, who make $782,000 or more, will get a $32,650 tax cut. That’s $89.45 a day, 365 days a year, including Sundays and holidays.

So what can you buy for 11 cents a day? We went to e-bay to find out, by Googling that phrase.

Well, the glow bands, at a penny apiece, are one item. The ear buds candy at two cents a bag is another. So are some promotional mugs and imprinted drawstring bags, if you buy them in bulk, also each for two cents.

To give you an idea of how little the poor get from Trump’s tax cut, its daily payout isn’t enough for an electronic internet “He is risen” poster of Jesus Christ (20 cents). You’d need about two days of Trump’s tax cut for that.

But give a taxpayer $89.45 every day, and the story changes quite a lot:

There’s a “Pilot Namiki Custom Heritage Black Fountain Pen” for $89.38 at various pen stores. You get seven cents change, but that may not cover the sales tax. And two sets of four auto brake pads at $89.13 each. Now all you need is a car that needs new brakes every day.

There’s a 100 percent handmade Latex Rubber 1-Piece Gummi catsuit for $89.30. That’s something a 1 percenter could get his daughter. The women’s latex pants are the same price.

There’s a Shop-Vac Wet Dry canister vacuum cleaner for $89.27. It costs slightly less than the large canvas Tupac Shakur poster, the authorized Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe print, or a big Pokemon game, at $89.99 each.

Whoops, that’s a little bit more than the GOP tax cut is giving the 1 percent every day. They’d actually have to dig into their own pockets for an extra 58 cents for each of those last three items.

All kidding aside, there are a few other key findings from the Tax Policy Center report. They include:

“In most states, the change in after-tax income” from the income tax cut alone “will be close to the national average of +1.8 percent” next year, the report says. “However, the tax cut will exceed 2.1 percent of income in seven states,” Alaska, Louisiana, both Dakotas Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Though the report didn’t say so, Trump carried all but Washington, most of them by huge margins.

And the impact of Trump’s income tax cut “will fall below +1.5 percent” of after-tax income in three states: California, New York and Oregon.

A higher share of taxpayers in five states and Washington, D.C., will actually see tax hikes, thanks to Trump and the GOP capping the combined deduction for state and local income and property taxes at $10,000.

The hikes in New Jersey, Maryland and D.C. will hit almost one of every ten taxpayers, and will hit one of every 12 in three more, California, Connecticut and New York. Everyone else in those states, as in others, will see no change or a cut. Not coincidentally, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton carried all six of these heavily blue states.

The right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive pro-corporate cabal of lobbyists, lawmakers and honchos, lauded Trump’s trashing of the state and local tax deduction, the report said. It claimed taxpayers in lower-income states subsidize those in high-income ones. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., had a distinctly different view.

“Washington has launched an all-out direct attack on New York state’s economic future,” Cuomo said in his State of the State address. “It is crass. It is ugly. It is divisive. It is partisan legislating. It is an economic civil war. Make no mistake: They are aiming to hurt us.”

The entire report is available on the Tax Policy Center website.


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.