BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Republican Leaders’ Broken Promises on Taxes, the Budget, and Health
The House- and Senate-passed tax bills, from which a House-Senate conference committee will fashion a final bill, violate a number of promises from President Trump and other Republican leaders about taxes and health coverage. Here are seven of their broken promises.
Broken Promise #1: “[N]obody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, November 4, 2017
Reality: The Senate bill raises taxes on millions of low- and middle-income households in every year, Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates show — both before and after its individual tax cuts expire after 2025. McConnell later admitted that he “misspoke,” arguing that “you can’t craft any bill that would guarantee no one was in a special category that might get a tax increase.”
Broken Promise #2: “[E]verybody gets a tax cut.” – House Speaker Paul Ryan, November 8, 2017
Reality: The Senate and House bills would raise taxes on millions of middle-income families, and millions more households would gain little or nothing. (Like McConnell, Ryan later backtracked on his promise.)
For more, read about the claims that Republican congressional leaders are using to obscure this reality.
Broken Promise #3: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody.” – President-elect Trump, January 14, 2017
Reality: The Senate bill’s repeal of the individual mandate (the requirement that most people get health coverage or pay a penalty) would cause 13 million more people to become uninsured, raising the uninsured rate among the non-elderly from 11 percent to about 16 percent, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates. It also would raise premiums by an average of 10 percent in the individual market by 2027, according to CBO.
For more, read about why Republican claims that health coverage losses under the bill aren’t troubling are bogus.
Broken Promise #4: “[T]here will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.” – Steven Mnuchin (now Treasury Secretary), November 20, 2016
Reality: The Senate bill would give the top 0.1 percent of households an average annual tax cut of $182,000 in 2027, boosting their after-tax income by 1.7 percent, the Tax Policy Center estimates. Sixty-two percent of the bill’s net tax cuts would flow to the top 1 percent of households in 2027, without accounting for its impacts on health coverage. When including those coverage effects, those in the top 1 percent would receive tax benefits of $40 billion, while those in the bottom 99 percent would see losses of $30 billion.
Broken Promise #5: “Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the mailrooms and the machine shops of America — the plumbers, the carpenters, the cops, the teachers, the truck drivers, the pipe fitters.” – President Trump, November 29, 2017
Reality: Every income group with incomes below $75,000 would face tax increases under the Senate bill by 2027, on average, JCT and CBO estimates show. In 2025, only 54 percent of households with incomes below $200,000 would get a tax cut, but more than 70 percent of millionaire households would. In 2027, only 14 percent of households with incomes below $200,000 would get a tax cut, but 60 percent of millionaire households would, JCT estimates.
Broken Promise #6: “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.” – President Trump, inaugural address
Reality: Not only is the Senate bill as a whole heavily tilted against low- and middle-income families, but its Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion would only give a token increase of $75 or less to 10 million children in low-income working families, and less than its full CTC increase to 16 million more children. President Trump has opposed efforts to provide greater relief to these 26 million children by slightly shrinking the bill’s corporate tax rate cut.
Broken Promise #7: “[W]e’re planning revenue-neutral tax reform, which means you have to take away loopholes and special interest deductions if you’re going to lower tax rates.” – House Speaker Paul Ryan, February 8, 2017
Reality: The House and Senate bills would add $1.4 trillion to deficits over the first decade, the official JCT estimate shows. Mainstream economic estimates, including those of JCT — Congress’ official tax scorekeeper — contradict Republican leaders’ claims that the bill would largely or entirely offset that cost through economic growth. And the bills could cost much more after taking into account the expiring provisions, delayed tax hikes, and other maneuvers that hold down the official cost.