BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Republican Leaders’ Broken Promises on Taxes, the Budget, and Health
Now that the House and Senate have both passed the Republican tax bill on party-line votes, we’ve updated our list of promises that Republican leaders broke by passing the bill. Here are seven promises that President Trump and other Republican leaders made about taxes and health coverage that the bill breaks.
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 Republican tax 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 bill raises taxes on millions of middle-income families, and millions more households will 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 bill’s repeal of the individual mandate (the requirement that most people get health coverage or pay a penalty) will 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 will 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: Even though Mnuchin continued to defend this comment after the bill was final, the Republican tax bill will give the top 0.1 percent of households an average annual tax cut of $148,000 in 2027, boosting their after-tax income by 1.4 percent, the Tax Policy Center estimates. More than 80 percent of the bill’s net tax cuts will flow to the top 1 percent of households in 2027, without accounting for its impacts on tax-related health provisions.
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 will face tax increases under the bill by 2027, on average, JCT estimates show. In 2025, only 53 percent of households with incomes below $200,000 will get a tax cut, but 64 percent of millionaire households will. In 2027, only 17 percent of households with incomes below $200,000 will get a tax cut, but 61 percent of millionaire households will, 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 Republican tax 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 14 million more children. President Trump opposed efforts to provide greater relief to these 24 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 bill will add $1.5 trillion to deficits over the first decade, the official JCT estimate shows. Mainstream economic estimates contradict Republican leaders’ claims that the bill will largely or entirely offset that cost through additional revenues from higher economic growth. (The bill passed before JCT completed a macroeconomic analysis of the final version, although its assessment is very unlikely to change significantly relative to the Senate bill, which it estimated would add at least $1 trillion even after accounting for additional economic growth.) And the bill could cost much more after taking into account the expiring provisions and delayed tax hikes that hold down the official cost but that may never take effect down the road.