plan

(ZH) Based on what we already know about the proposed Trump tax reform, which can be summarized as follows:

  • collapse the seven individual income tax rates to three (12, 25, and 35 percent),
  • increase the standard deduction,
  • eliminate personal exemptions,
  • increase the child tax credit,
  • eliminate most itemized deductions,
  • repeal the individual and corporate alternative minimum taxes,
  • repeal the estate tax,
  • reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, tax pass-through business income at a top rate of 25 percent,
  • allow businesses to fully expense investment in equipment and machinery for at least five years,
  • adopt a territorial tax system that would exempt the foreign earnings of US corporations from US tax

… moments ago the Tax Policy Center released its analysis of what the practical impacts of the Trump tax plan will be on the broader population. Below we present the key findings.

The tax plan will cost $2.4 trillion over the first decade and $3.2 trillion over the second decade, on a static basis

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  • The proposal would reduce federal revenues by $2.4 trillion over the first ten years and $3.2 in the second decade. This means that absent a matched deduction in spending, US deficit and debt will increase by a similar amount. This is a problem as a Senate GOP budget resolution unveiled on Friday only allows for adding $1.5 trillion to the debtimplying a revenue shortfall of just under $1 trillion.
    • The business income tax provisions—including those affecting corporations and pass-through businesses—would reduce revenues by $2.6 trillion over the first ten years. Elimination of estate and gift taxes would lose another $240 billion. The individual income tax provisions (excluding those related to business income) would increase revenues by about $470 billion over the same period.

While many Americans will benefit, the biggest gains will go to the 1%, whose after-tax income would increase by over 8%.

  • In 2018, the average tax bill for all income groups would declinetaxpayers in the bottom 95 percent of the income distribution would see average after-tax incomes increase between 0.5 and 1.2%. However, and where the Democrats will have a field day, taxpayers in the top 1 percent (incomes above $730,000), would receive about 50 percent of the total tax benefit; their after-tax income would increase an average of 8.5 percent.
  • Between 2018 and 2027, the average tax cut as a share of after-tax income would fall for all income groups other than the top 1 percent. In 2027, taxpayers between the 80th and 95th percentiles of income (between about $150,000 and $300,000) would experience a slight tax increase on average.
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The problem is that at the same time, taxes for substantial portion of taxpayers will go up:

  • In 2018, about 12% of taxpayers would face a tax increase of roughly $1,800 on average. Where it gets worse is that many of those who form the backbone of the upper-middle class, or more than a third of taxpayers making between about $150,000 and $300,000, will pay more, mainly because most itemized deductions would be repealed.

Fast forward to 2027, when the overall average tax cut would be smaller than in 2018, increasing after-tax incomes 1.7 percent. Taxpayer groups in the bottom 80 percent of the income distribution—those making less than about $150,000—would receive average tax cuts of 0.5 percent or less of after-tax income. However, taxpayers making between about $150,000 and $300,000 would on average pay about $800 more in taxes than under current law. And the one item which Democrats will love: about 80% of the total benefit would accrue to taxpayers in the top 1 percent, whose after-tax income would increase 8.7 percent.

It gets worse: by 2027, taxes would rise for roughly one-quarter of taxpayers, including nearly 30 percent of those with incomes between about $50,000 and $150,000 and 60 percent of those making between about $150,000 and $300,000.

According to the Tax Policy Center, the number of taxpayers with a tax increase rises over time. This is because the plan would replace personal exemptions, which are indexed for inflation, with additional credits for children and non-child dependents that are not indexed for inflation. In addition, indexing tax brackets and other parameters to the slower-growing chained Consumer Price Index means that over time more income is subject to tax at higher rates.

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Finally, there is of course, the repeal of the state and local tax deduction, a move which is expected to be widely hated by homeowners across the US, but as the chart below shows, by democrat states far more than republican states.

As BofA writes, blue states with high state and local taxes will be the most adversely impacted from the loss of this deduction. Thus, opposition in the Senate will mainly come from Democrats, while Republicans will mostly be on the same page. But, the situation should be more contentious in the House. Data from the Tax Policy Center reveals that 26 of the top 50 districts in terms of SALT deduction usage had a Republican representative. Republicans will likely face more internal pushback from these members. Ultimately, a House bill would fail if two dozen Republicans (and every Democrat) were opposed.

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