Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Large corporations like Amazon received the vast majority of the Republican tax cuts in 2017, while workers who keep those companies running in offices and warehouses across the country got just six percent of the cuts. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

While Corporate Profits and Tax-Dodging Soared, Analysis Shows Just 6% of GOP 'Tax Scam' Benefits Went to Workers

In addition to promises that turned out to be "meaningless," the Republican tax reform effort included "egregious mistakes" that opened the system to increased corporate fraud

Julia Conley

A new six-month analysis of President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts details how workers received little benefit from the plan, despite the savings many of their powerful corporate employers received.

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) interviewed independent tax analysts and officials who were involved in the Republican Party's effort to sell the so-called American Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to the public—and within their own party ranks. Progressive critics have consistently called the law nothing nothing more than a "tax scam."

The GOP's insistence on a tax law which included the largest corporate tax cut in U.S. history—from 35 to 21 percent—resulted in companies saving about $150 billion in the first year after the passage in December 2017.

Trump and then-House Speaker Paul Ryan had spent months telling Americans they stood to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in taxes, with Trump telling one crowd that the average family would see a pay raise of about $4,000, a benefit that would "trickle down" from employers' corporate tax cuts.

In fact, CPI reporters Peter Cary and Allan Holmes wrote in The Guardian, companies instead distributed their savings amongst the few Americans who hold stock in their corporations:

The bulk of the $150 billion the tax cut put into the hands of corporations in 2018 went into shareholder dividends and stock buy-backs, both of which line the pockets of the 10 percent of Americans who own 84 percent of the stocks.

Just 6 percent of the tax savings was spent on workers, according to Just Capital, a not-for-profit that tracks the Russell 1000 index.

Far from the $4,000 raises Trump alluded to, CPI found, the average paycheck went up about $6, or $233 per year.

The report also detailed how Republicans pushed through a proposal which would force the government to borrow trillions of dollars, despite the GOP's frequent claims of opposition to adding to the federal deficit:

In a meeting that was the key turning point in the entire process, the Senate's most vocal deficit hawk, Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee,who wanted to create no new debt, sat down with the Senate's most strident supply-sider, Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who wanted to borrow $2.5 trillion to pay for the tax cuts. They agreed on borrowing $1.5 trillion over 10 years. The meeting lasted all of 10 minutes.

CPI drew three main conclusions from their extensive research into the effects of the tax cuts: that the law "was first and foremost a gift to multinationals;" that Republicans' claims that they aimed to "reform" the tax code without adding to the deficit were "meaningless;" and that it left the tax system vulnerable to abuse by corporations committed to tax avoidance.

The law "contained egregious mistakes, created massive new loopholes, and opened the door to new forms of tax avoidance," write Cary and Holmes.

The group's findings were released a day after a Monmouth poll showed that the long-term effects of Trump's $1.5 trillion tax plan have not been lost on the working families who were largely left out of its benefits.

Just 12 percent of people polled by Monmouth said they had "benefited a great deal from recent growth in the U.S. economy," and 18 percent said Trump's economic policies had helped the middle class. The poll was taken as the president points to low unemployment numbers, a growing GDP, and a strong stock market as irrefutable evidence that the economy is working for all Americans.

"Maybe Americans are better off than they were a few years ago on average," wrote Vice's Alex Norcia of the poll, "but maybe they’re also more aware of inequality, or have a sense of being cheated."

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

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·

Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo