The vast majority of Americans dislike the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax plan, but while signing the bill into law on Friday, President Donald Trump highlighted one segment of society that loves it and can’t wait until it takes effect: massive corporations.
“Corporations are literally going wild over this, I think even beyond my expectations,” Trump said, just moments after touting the legislation as “a bill for the middle class.”
That big business is exuberant over the passage of the Republican tax plan is hardly surprising, given that the bill slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, in addition to many other sweeteners.
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For months, Trump and the Republican Party have attempted to portray their bill as primarily tailored toward low-income and middle class Americans—despite countless nonpartisan analyses showing that it overwhelmingly favors the rich. Trump also repeatedly insisted that the bill will cost him “a fortune” and that his accountants are angry with him for backing it.
“if Trump signing the tax bill this morning almost looks like he’s signing a check to himself, that’s because he kinda is.” —David Sirota, International Business Times
Now that the bill has passed both houses of Congress and been signed into law, however, Trump appears to be opening up about the tax plan’s central aims.
Discussing the legislation at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Trump said that cutting the corporate tax rate is “probably the biggest factor in this plan.”
As the Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake observes, Trump’s statement conflicts with the previous claim—deployed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and others—that the “entire purpose of this [bill] is to lower middle class taxes.”
“Is it possible they think corporate tax cuts will spur the economy and eventually benefit the middle class first? Sure. But wary of it looking like a giveaway to the wealthy and to corporations, Republicans have avoided even this kind of ‘trickle-down’ argument,” Blake writes. “They’ve been arguing that the middle class tax cuts are what this bill was all about, and Trump just said that’s not actually the main feature.”
Numerous analyses in recent days have also found that another favorite Trump talking point—that the bill will cost him “a fortune”—is totally false.
In fact, the opposite appears to be the case. A study (pdf) published Friday by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) found that the president “will undoubtedly be among the very wealthy who will benefit enormously from his tax plan.”
“Trump’s exact tax savings are difficult to estimate since he has refused to release his tax returns unlike every other president over the last 40 years—but it is likely to be at least $11 million a year and perhaps as much as $22 million,” ATF concluded.
David Sirota of the International Business Times—who has reported on a provision buried in the GOP tax bill that could enrich Trump and more than a dozen Republican senators—concluded on Friday that “if Trump signing the tax bill this morning almost looks like he’s signing a check to himself, that’s because he kinda is.”
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