Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the Economic Club Of New York in the Grand Ballroom of the Midtown Hilton Hotel on November 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Steven Ferdman/WireImage)

Trump Push for 'Middle Class' Tax Cut Ahead of 2020 Derided as Admission That 'His First Tax Cut Was a Scam'

"This is an acknowledgement that Republicans' original tax plan was heavily skewed to the wealthy, the middle got almost nothing, and people at the bottom got literally nothing."

Jake Johnson

Advisers to President Donald Trump are reportedly working on a plan to slash the "middle class" tax rate to 15 percent, a pre-election effort that tax experts and progressive critics slammed as an admission that the first round of Republican tax cuts did nothing for most Americans while further enriching the wealthiest.

"Here we go again," Americans for Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente said in a statement Tuesday, pointing out that the 2017 GOP tax law was also sold as a "middle class tax cut."

"Raising the idea of a new 'middle class tax cut' is an admission by the president that his first tax cut was a scam. It wasn't aimed at the middle class but aimed at his wealthy friends and big corporations."
—Frank Clemente, Americans for Tax Fairness

"What's the line, fool me once…? A vague, election-year promise of a huge tax cut for the middle-class should be viewed very skeptically," said Clemente. "Raising the idea of a new 'middle class tax cut' is an admission by the president that his first tax cut was a scam. It wasn't aimed at the middle class but aimed at his wealthy friends and big corporations. Why should we expect anything different now?"

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a team of Trump aides led by National Economic Council director and Wall Street ally Larry Kudlow is exploring a number of proposals that would further cut taxes, including some that would disproportionately reward the rich.

The plan under consideration would likely aim to cut the tax rate for those who earn between $30,000 and $100,000 to 15 percent. The Post notes that the "current marginal tax rate for someone making $90,000 is 24 percent."

Such a tax cut, according to the Post, "would give tax relief to the middle class and the rich, since the rich also pay marginal taxes on the lower rates."

Michael Linden, a tax expert at the Roosevelt Institute, said "depending on where it starts, a 15 percent rate would be a relatively small tax cut for middle income people."

"This is an acknowledgement that Republicans' original tax plan was heavily skewed to the wealthy, the middle got almost nothing, and people at the bottom got literally nothing," said Linden. "I'm not sure having a second go at it is going to solve anything."

Stephen Moore, a right-wing Heritage Foundation economist who has worked with the Trump White House on tax policy, is "also pushing for a change that would allow capital gains to 'roll-over' tax-free if they are reinvested in a different stock," the Post reported.

In response to Moore's proposal, Post columnist Catherine Rampell warned on Twitter, "Don't be fooled."

"That 'middle-class tax cut' the Trump administration is floating is actually a Trojan Horse designed to effectively eliminate capital gains taxes for the rich," said Rampell.


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

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Research Reveals How PR Firms Have Spent Decades Fueling Climate Misinformation

"The best time to stop working for fossil fuel clients was 20 years ago, when we had much more time to stop the climate emergency. The second best time is now."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Decry US Gun Control Failures After 'Truly Sickening' Michigan School Shooting

"A 15-year-old shooter may have picked up the weapon, but Congress—through its inaction on gun violence—may as well have handed it to him."

Brett Wilkins ·


New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


With SCOTUS Set to Hear Abortion Case, Anti-Choice Groups Prepare to Enact 'Post-Roe Strategy'

Right-wing groups are lobbying lawmakers to pass state-level restrictions and ban sales of abortion pills, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Julia Conley ·

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