• The Financial District


David Cay Johnston has condemned the 2017 Trump tax rewrite passed by a Republican-held Congress without a hearing or Democratic vote that “the rich made out like bandits” and raised federal debt by at least $1.5 trillion due to the economic slump even without the pandemic.

In his DCReport carried by Raw Story late on September 4, 2020, Johnston wrote “the first data showing how all Americans are faring under Donald Trump reveals the poor and working classes sinking slightly, the middle-class treading water, the upper-middle-class growing, and the richest among us luxuriating in rising rivers of greenbacks.” The Trump tax cut favored only the top 7% of the population who earn their keep from stock dividends and capital gains and not salaries and wages. “More than half of Americans had to make ends meet in 2018 on less money than in 2016, my analysis of new income and tax data shows. The nearly 87 million taxpayers making less than $50,000 had to get by in 2018 on $307 less per household than in 2016, the year before Trump took office, my analysis shows. That 57% of American households were better off under Obama contradicts Trump’s often-repeated claim that he had created the best economy ever until the pandemic. Trump policies help the prosperous and rich including half a million rich people who are not even filing tax returns yet are not being pursued as tax cheats,” Johnston reported based on IRS data.

The worsened economic situation for more than half of Americans contradicts Trump’s frequent claims that he is the champion of the “forgotten man” and his vow that “every decision” on taxes “will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” Johnston said. In the three years ending in 2016, the IRS identified 879,415 high-income Americans who did not even bother to file a tax return. These tax cheats owed an estimated $45.7 billion in taxes, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported May 29.

Under Trump more than half a million cases of high-income Americans who didn’t file a tax return “will likely not be pursued,” the Inspector General wrote. One of the Koch brothers was under IRS criminal investigation until Trump assumed office and the service abruptly dropped the case. DCReport’s five-part series last year showed, from a thousand pages of documents, that William Ingraham Koch, who lives one door away from Mar-a-Lago, is collecting more than $100 million a year without paying income taxes. “The Trump/Republican tax savings were highly concentrated up the income ladder with hardly any tax savings going to the working poor and only a smidgen to the middle class. Those making $50,000 to $100,000 for example, paid just three-fourths of one percentage point less of their incomes to our federal government. People making $2 million to $2.5 million saw their effective tax rate fall by about three times that much,” Johnston concluded.

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@2020 by The Financial District