Trump May Plan to Fool Voters with Another Middle-Class Tax Cut Mirage Before Election

Tim Libretti, PhD
4 min readDec 16, 2019

Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow has hinted that another supposed middle-class tax cut may be in the works, a “Tax Cut 2.0” to be delivered — Surprise! Surprise! — in time for the 2020 election season, a bare naked ploy to try to convince average Americans he really cares about and their economic interests.

As the saying goes, “Buyer beware!”

Or, as George W. Bush famously put it, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Remember the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017? While most Americans did, it turns out, very likely receive some tax benefit, they didn’t even feel its effect for the most part. Why? Well, 60 percent of the total savings of the legislation went to the top 20 percent of earners, while the top 1 percent were gifted 17 percent of all the tax cut dollars. These numbers don’t even account for the enormous dollars dropped on corporations when their tax rate was slashed from 35 to 21 percent, a cut that further benefited the very wealthy disproportionately since they own the most stock.

What was left? The middle fifth of income earners paid about $780 less in taxes, less than $70 per month, and an even smaller and not-so-noticeable amount per paycheck.

Was there a larger benefit, though? Did the tax cut lead, as promised, to economic growth?

The short answer: Nope.

In fact, the United States lost more tax revenue than any other nation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as the nation’s tax-to-GDP ratio fell 2.5 percent from 2017 to 2018.

These tax cuts benefited the wealthy and did not trickle down, despite Trump’s promises that companies would invest in workers and not cut jobs. Companies like AT&T, Wells Fargo, and General Motors lobbied for them, promising to re-invest their tax savings in their workers and companies to the benefit off the nation as a whole. And yet all of these companies have engaged in massive layoffs or plant closings. AT&T has eliminated over 23,000 jobs since the tax cuts went into effect, despite receiving a $21 billion windfall from the tax cuts with the prospect of cashing in an additional $3…

Tim Libretti, PhD

Professor of Literature, Political Economy enthusiast, Dad, always thinking about the optimal world