It’s hard to sell a product you know people will hate. That’s the dilemma facing President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in slinging their latest gambit on overhauling the tax code. In essence, how do you get people excited about tax cuts for the rich when the people don’t want tax cuts for the rich? In a recent pair of speeches in Iowa, Trump offered a three-part master class.
Before we get into the specifics of the sales job, let’s briefly touch on what exactly is in the tax plan. An analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center of the tax plan House Majority Leader Paul Ryan put forward last year showed that by 2025, 99.6 percent of the tax cuts in the plan would go to the top 1 percent, those with incomes over $3.7 million.
Included in the plan is the elimination of the federal estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, and a dramatic reduction in taxes on the most profitable corporations. This is essentially the same plan Trump put forward both in detail during his campaign and in broad strokes while in office.
Now, you may be thinking, maybe this is what the people want! Well, if polling is to be believed, it’s the exact opposite of what people want. Poll after poll after poll shows that the public want to see higher taxes on the wealthy, not lower. For just one example, consider the Gallup poll that every year asks if upper-income households and corporations pay too little in taxes, and every year, without fail, since 1992, the majority says yes.