Scoring Trump’s Tax Cuts So Far: $280,000 for Rich Lawmakers, Pennies for Workers

By Kayla Kitson
Research and Policy Director, Americans for Tax Fairness

The Trump-GOP tax law was sold as a boon for the middle class. But many months after its passage, there are no signs that working Americans are getting the pay raise they were promised.

The Trump administration claimed the corporate tax cuts would eventually lead to wage increases of up to $9,000 a year for ordinary workers. But so far, workers’ wages remain stagnant.

Tracking by Americans for Tax Fairness shows that only about 400 out of America’s 5.9 million employers have announced any wage increases or one-time bonuses related to the tax cuts. That’s about 0.007 percent.

In fact, real wages have actually declined since last year after accounting for higher gas prices, prescription drug prices, and other rising costs.

If that weren’t bad enough, Trump and the GOP now want to come after the services that working families rely on.

Shortly after signing the tax cut package that will add nearly $2 trillion to the deficit over a decade, Trump proposed a budget that would cut $1.3 trillion for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Cart Act. The House Republican budget went even further, proposing $2.1 trillion in health care cuts.

Both budget proposals contained hundreds of billions more in cuts to food assistance, income security, education, and more.

Working families are seeing little benefit from the Trump-GOP tax giveaway — and would be devastated by the cuts to services that have been proposed to help pay for it. But a few people are basking in their new tax-cut windfalls:

President Trump: Though he claimed his tax plan would “cost him a fortune,” the new law will undoubtedly make him one.

Trump refuses to release his tax returns, so we can’t know his exact savings. But he’ll benefit greatly from the lower top individual tax rate, the lower corporate tax rate, and especially from the 20 percent deduction for “pass-through” business income (income from S corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and sole proprietorships that’s taxed at the individual rather than the corporate level).

The Trump Organization, which is a collection of 500 pass-throughs, could save over $20 million a year from that deduction alone. And the law gifted Trump’s industry — real estate — with myriad new loopholes.

Members of Congress: 53 Republican members of Congress who voted for the law could each enjoy $280,000 a year in tax cuts on average.

This includes millions of dollars each for Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Diane Black (R-TN), who serve on the committee that wrote the law. The day that Rep. Buchanan — who could get up to $2.1 million in annual tax cuts — voted in favor of the tax cut bill, he rewarded himself with a multi-million-dollar yacht.

Big Pharma: Prescription drug companies have profited handsomely in recent years by price-gouging customers and public health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. They also shifted lots of those profits offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.

The Trump-GOP tax law rewards Big Pharma for its years of offshore tax avoidance with a steep discount on the amount due on its stash of offshore profits. Americans for Tax Fairness estimates the 10 largest American drug firms will save a collective $76 billion from this provision alone.

Big Pharma will also benefit from the new lower corporate tax rate and a new international tax regime that taxes future foreign profits at half the domestic profits rate.

While this elite group of tax-law winners are enjoying their tax-cut spoils, the majority of Americans are left holding the bag.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work