"Tax policy by conflict-of-interest" is how the government watchdog group Public Citizen described the Republican tax plan whose details were finally revealed on Thursday.
Robert Weissman, the president of the organization, released a statement shortly after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and some of his colleagues unveiled the plan, peppering the tax-focused news conference with stories of working Americans who would allegedly benefit from the new tax policy.
The real beneficiaries, Weissman said, would be the wealthiest Americans, including President Donald Trump:
The Republican tax scheme is a plan made for billionaires—exactly like the one in the White House. Provisions on the estate tax, pass-through corporations and the alternative minimum tax would directly benefit Trump and his family, easily saving them a billion dollars or more.
On Twitter, Public Citizen posted this image detailing the specific gains the Trump family would enjoy thanks to the plan.
The elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) would have saved Trump $30 million in 2005, according to analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness. The AMT was introduced nearly 50 years ago to keep wealthy Americans from avoiding income taxes using deductions and credits. The Tax Policy Center says the vast majority of taxpayers liable for the AMT make over $200,000 per year, while 0.3 percent have a yearly income of less than $100,000.
The proposed lower rate on pass-through corporations, in which the profits go directly to the business owners and are taxed on the owners' income tax returns, would slash Trump's tax rate by a third, costing the government at least $390 billion in revenue over the next decade.
And the end of the estate tax would save the Trumps up to $4 billion, assuming the president's net worth is really $10 billion as he claimed during the 2016 campaign. Republicans have pushed the estate tax as benefiting ordinary Americans, even though only about 0.2 percent of families pay the tax—since it applies only to fortunes of $5.5 million that are transferred or inherited.
"This tax sham is the product of the fundamentally corrupt system against which Candidate Trump ran: A rushed and secretive process, driven by connected insiders, stuffed with favors for the Big Donor class and potentially delivering the greatest transfer of wealth from regular people to the superrich in the history of the nation," said Weissman. "America cannot permit this bill, or any variant of it, to become law."