Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

In a new video, Patriotic Millionaire Eric Schoenberg shows his tax return to explain how the GOP tax proposal is designed to benefit the wealthy like himself.  (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Rebuking Trump, Millionaire's Viral Video Shows How GOP Plan Is 'Just Big Tax Cut for People Like Me'

The "plan will make the rich richer and leave everybody else to pick up the bill"

Andrea Germanos

Hours before Republicans are expected to release the final version of their tax bill, a new video illustrates how the plan "is a perfect demonstration of how the wealthy use their power to bend the rules in their favor."

The video, released by NowThis, features Eric Schoenberg, a millionaire who—unlike President Donald Trump—has released his tax returns, and uses them to give a crystal-clear look at how the proposal will benefit the super rich like himself and the president.

Watch the full video below:

Schoenberg, a member of the Patriotic Millionaires, a wealthy group that advocates for policies that would foster greater equality, says that "the Republican plan will make the rich richer and leave everybody else to pick up the bill" and goes on to show exactly how.

He does this by showing parts of his 2015 tax return, a year for which he and his wife had an adjusted gross income of $1.3 million on which they paid $325,000 in income tax—just under 25 percent.

Yes, this rate is low, Schoenberg says, because the system is already set up "in favor of rich people by taxing investment income at lower rates than labor income." For low- and middle-income taxpayers, that labor income—in other words wages and salaries—is the bulk of their income. Yet that line on the return for Schoenberg and his wife shows around $35,000—a small fraction of their overall income.

The problem, as he explains, is that "salaries and wages face a top income tax rate of about 40 percent but dividend and capital gains face a top rate of only 24 percent."

"That means," he continues, "that a lawyer or athlete who had a salary that matched my [labor] income in 2015 and had the exact same level of deductions would have paid almost $40,000 more in tax than I did. For two people with the exact same income, the person who is already rich pays less tax than the one who isn't."

The plan is "just a big tax cut for rich people like me."As bad as the existing tax system is for rewarding the rich, the current plan under consideration in Congress would exacerbate the problem, he said, "by also lowering the rate on 'pass-through' business income." (That's business income "passed through" to owners and taxed at the lower individual rate.) For Schoenberg and his wife, that amount in 2015 was nearly $705,000.

In contrast to the Republicans' framing of the proposal as being a benefit for the middle class, he says, "I estimate that our tax bill would have been over $100,000 less under their plan, saving over 30 percent of my taxes. Imagine the billions this will save the Koch Brothers. Or Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Or Donald Trump."

He also calls the so-called "tax reform" Trump's "greatest ever con"—an assertion that could be put to rest by Trump releasing his tax returns.

Simply put, Schoenberg says, the plan is "just a big tax cut for rich people like me."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·

'What Betrayal Looks Like': UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

"Whatever our so-called 'leaders' are doing," said Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, "they are doing it wrong."

Jake Johnson ·

Critics Warn Biden That 30% Methane Reduction by 2030 Not Good Enough

Following the new U.S.-E.U. pledge, climate campaigners called for an urgent end to fossil fuel extraction and major reforms of agricultural practices.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo