President Donald Trump is attempting to sell his massive tax cut for the rich as a plan that will help the middle class, but his most recent lie about the plan has caused the Washington Post to declare it his “most insulting scam yet.”
The plan, which would massively cut taxes on top earners despite Trump’s insistence that it won’t, includes a key provision that literally only helps the richest people in America. Trump’s tax plan seeks to repeal the estate tax, which would allow a small sliver of the highest earners in America to save up to $1 billion in taxes – including Trump himself.
That’s obviously not a great selling point for a president who ran on a populist platform, so Trump has resorted to the tried-and-true Republican tactic of lying.
Trump has claimed that the estate tax repeal would help “millions” of small business owners and farmers.
This claim has already been widely debunked. According to the Tax Policy Center, estates worth under $5.5 million are also exempt from the tax. For a married couple, that number swells to $11 million. As the Washington Post notes, more than two-thirds of the estates taxed come from the top 10 percent of American earners and nearly a quarter are from the top 1 percent.
According to the analysis, just 80 taxable estates in 2017 would have qualified as small businesses or farms.
This week, Trump is planning to try and fool another key group into believing his massive lie – truckers.
Trump will give a speech in Pennsylvania Wednesday to hundreds of truckers where he will attempt to sell them on the estate tax repeal by claiming that it will help family-owned trucking companies pass on assets to future generations.
Tax reporter David Cay Johnston “burst our laughing and dismissed the assertion as ‘absurd’ and a ‘scam,’” in an interview with the Post.
Johnston’s “very generous” analysis found that an estate tax repeal would help maybe 30 or fewer companies.
“This is just another phony claim to protect billionaires from paying taxes on the gains over their lifetime. This is a political scam,” Johnston said.
Selling the estate tax repeal to a group that would never see benefits from such a repeal is a shameful snake oil salesman tactic but it’s just one of the lies Trump and Republicans continue to peddle in an effort to shower cash on the wealthiest corporate donors.
The tax plan would also repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax that ensures that the rich can’t deduct their way to paying next to no taxes. In fact, in the one Trump tax return we’ve seen (which was obtained by Johnston), Trump avoided paying much income tax on his $150 million in earnings in 2005, but was hit with an AMT of over $30 million. The AMT repeal would help the Trump’s of the world while helping few middle-class workers.
And while the basis of Trump’s tax plan is primarily cuts, the plan would actually raise taxes on workers with high state and local taxes. The plan would repeal the State and Local Tax Deduction, which prevents workers from being taxed twice for the same income by the state and federal government. In New York alone, it would cost 3.3 million workers an extra $17.5 billion per year.