Politics, Moderate



Apparently Republicans want to kick the middle class in the face

Catherine Rampell on

It's not enough to give money to rich people. Apparently, Republicans want to kick the poor and middle class in the face, too.

I used to think the Republican Party's obsession with top-heavy tax cuts was about pleasing wealthy donors and maybe also fulfilling some misguided Randian fantasy. If the poor and middle class happened to be collateral damage, so be it.

But it's starting to look like shafting the little guy has become a feature, not a bug, of the GOP's budget-busting tax plan.

In years past, when Republicans wished to pass huge tax cuts for the wealthy, they at least offered a few goodies to so-called regular Americans. Take the George W. Bush tax cuts: They were also extremely weighted toward the rich, but some of the provisions helped the middle class and poor. The 2001 legislation made the Child Tax Credit partially refundable, for instance, which for the first time allowed many poor families to receive it.

More important, the Bush tax cuts didn't actually raise taxes on any households, according to estimates from the Tax Policy Center.

This time around, Republicans have taken a different approach. They're offsetting their tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy by hiking them further down the income distribution.

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Yes, it's true that lower- and middle-income households would get a tax cut initially. But according to Congress' own official nonpartisan scorekeepers, by 2027 the Senate tax bill would actually raise taxes on households making less than $75,000. That's the case even if you strip out the controversial effects of repealing the individual mandate.

No wonder this bill is less popular than any major change in federal tax policy since at least 1981.

But wait, it gets worse. Higher taxes aren't the only way in which Republicans plan to punish the poor and middle class. They also plan to gut the government services these populations depend on.

This tax bill is merely a prelude to, or perhaps an excuse for, shredding the social safety net.


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