Monthly Archives: March 2018

The richest Americans get a $33,000 tax break under the GOP tax law. The poorest get $40.

By Jeff Stein

President Trump talks with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) at the White House on May 4, 2017, after the House pushed through a health-care bill. (Evan Vucci/AP)

The Republican tax law passed last fall will give the richest 1 percent of Americans an average personal income tax break of about $33,000, while the poorest Americans will receive an average personal income tax break of $40, according to a new study published this week by nonpartisan analysts.

The Tax Policy Center, a D.C. think tank, has produced its first analysis of how the GOP law’s changes to personal income taxes alone — rather than that of the law overall — affect the rich and poor.

Previous TPC analyses have already looked at the overall distributional effects of the law, which included a giant tax cut to corporations and a reduction in the estate tax paid by the wealthiest families. The new TPC report isolates the impact of the law’s personal income taxes, suggesting that the corporate cut does not alone account for the law offering its biggest gains to wealthier Americans.

“While most of the corporate tax cuts flow to the top of the income distribution, what this shows is that even in the direct changes to the individual side of the tax code, most of those changes are still being allocated to the top,” said Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at TPC.

The report shows that the majority of Americans in all 50 states will get a tax cut under the GOP law but that the size of its benefits are uneven.

The biggest winners are the richest 1 percent of Americans, or those earning more than $732,800 every year. The smallest bump goes to the poorest income bracket, defined as earning less than $25,000 annually.

The size of the break is bigger for those …read more

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Trump promised $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending. He’s 1 percent of the way there.

By Heather Long

When President Trump won the election, many saw infrastructure as a chance for a bipartisan victory. (Jim Watson/AFP)

President Trump traveled to Ohio Thursday for a rally, hoping to revive interest in his plan to revamp America’s roads, bridges, railways and ports.

The president wants $1.5 trillion in new spending on infrastructure, but Congress so far has allocated $21 billion — slightly more than 1 percent of the president’s goal.

Among the president’s top economic plans for America — tax cuts, deregulation, infrastructure and renegotiated trade deals — infrastructure is the area where Trump has accomplished the least.

While Trump has vowed “the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history,” congressional leaders have more modest aims. They plan to move a few small pieces of legislation before the midterm elections, though the bills they’re looking at are mostly to reauthorize funding for existing initiatives and programs, not the massive new investment for which Trump is asking.

When Trump won the election, many saw infrastructure as a chance for a bipartisan victory: Both Democrats and Republicans have talked up the issue, and it has a lot of public support. But infrastructure has repeatedly slipped down the priority list. The White House hasn’t made a major push for infrastructure, and Congress is stuck: They can’t agree on a funding source, and they can’t stomach adding more to the federal deficit.

On Thursday, Trump spent much of his speech in front of hard-hat-wearing workers talking about other subjects: trade, immigration, tax cuts, the media and the revival of TV show “Roseanne.” Senior administration officials insist a big push is coming to woo lawmakers on infrastructure, even beyond Trump’s trip to Richfield, Ohio. Larry Kudlow, the new head of the National Economic Council, is expected to play a role in selling the plan to Congress.

But veteran lobbyists — on …read more

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Job growth is accelerating fastest in areas where Trump vote was highest

By Andrew Van Dam

An Archer Daniels Midland plant sits on the banks of the Mississippi near downtown Clinton, Iowa. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

As he ran for president, Donald Trump promised to lift up regions of the country that had been left behind by the economy. “I want to go into the neglected neighborhoods, the failing schools, the forgotten stretches of this nation, and unlock their potential for all of our people,” he said in September 2016.

The argument proved persuasive — many of the nation’s most economically distressed regions voted for Trump.

Now the early returns are in: In the first year of the Trump presidency, places that voted for Trump are doing better economically than at the end of the Obama administration. But that is not totally surprising, because the overall economy has continued to add jobs.

What may be more surprising is that not only are these counties adding jobs, but also job growth has accelerated the most in counties where Trump earned the most votes, according to a Washington Post analysis of Labor Department data.

In other words, even if the counties that supported Trump most are still struggling relative to the rest of the country, they’ve experienced the largest reversal of fortune.

It’s too soon to declare victory, however, and the current set of gains may well be short-lived.

But for now, the data indicate that the 10 percent of Americans living in counties that gave Trump the most support in 2016 saw average job growth of 0.6 percent in 2015-2016. They saw job growth of 1 percent in Trump’s first year. Expand to counties that were home to the top 20 percent of his supporters — places where he got 60.6 percent of the vote or higher — and the acceleration was a still-perceptible 0.2 percentage points.

Meanwhile, the 10 percent of people living …read more

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