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To: Editors and columnists
Date: October 17, 2017
From: Frank Clemente, executive director, Americans for Tax Fairness

As soon as this Thursday, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a budget resolution that would slash essential public services by $5.8 trillion while easing the way for consideration of the Trump-GOP tax cuts that will cost trillions of dollars and mostly benefit the wealthy and corporations. We urge you to write an editorial or column recommending that your home state senators vote “no” on the package.

The budget resolution will allow for a $1.5 trillion tax cut over 10 years that is not paid for by closing tax loopholes, meaning the costs will be added to the deficit. However, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center (TPC) estimates the costs of the tax cut at $2.4 trillion.

The ballooning of the deficit will jeopardize funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and other services that America’s families rely on. Moreover, many middle-class families will get a tax increase under the plan.

This threat to the basic living standards of America’s families is not abstract. The Senate budget proposes $5.8 trillion in cuts to federal spending, including nearly $500 billion from Medicare and $1.3 trillion from Medicaid and other healthcare programs. Another $650 billion may be cut from income security programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disabled individuals, and tax credits for working families, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Senate budget cuts and tax cuts are stark in their inequities:

  • A $1.3 trillion cut to Medicaid and other healthcare programs vs. a $2 trillion cut in corporate tax rates.
  • An $800 billion cut to housing, infrastructure, education, medical research, and other non-defense “discretionary” spending vs. a $770 billion tax cut for hedge fund managers, Wall Street lawyers, real estate developers (like President Trump) and other wealthy owners of “pass-through” businesses.
  • A $473 billion cut to Medicare a $440 billion tax cut for the wealthy (including Trump) from eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • A $200 billion cut to education, job training, and social services vs. a repeal of the estate tax costing $240 billion, which only benefits estates worth at least $5.5 million.

Go here for sources and more comparisons.

It’s worth noting that the tax plan’s corporate and business tax cuts make up the entire $2.4 trillion revenue shortfall estimated by the Tax Policy Center. The individual tax cuts are mostly paid for, although who pays is shifted from the wealthy to the middle-class. But corporate and business taxes, which are paid mostly by the wealthy, are reduced by $2.6 trillion over 10 years.

Republican acceptance of this huge increase in federal debt completely contradicts their policies and rhetoric going back decades. While most GOP members of Congress have consistently voted for budgets that slashed spending for services supporting working Americans, in the past they opposed spending increases or tax cuts that weren’t paid for. Some swing votes on the budget—including Senators Collins, McCain, Murkowski and Portman—co-sponsored a Balanced Budget Act that would have slashed trillions from Social Security and Medicare in the interest of fiscal discipline.


Based on the Tax Policy Center analysis, the richest 1% will get:

  • 53% of the total tax cuts in 2018 and 80% in 10 years
  • A tax cut of $129,000 in 2018 and $207,000 in 10 years, on average

They benefit so much because of the deep corporate and business tax cuts. The corporate tax rate is cut from 35% to 20%. (American corporations already pay just a 14% U.S. tax rate, according to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, a result of many generous tax loopholes.)

The top business tax rate on pass-throughs (partnerships, S Corporations, sole proprietorships) is cut from 39.6% to 25%.

Fully 70% of corporate tax cuts go to wealthier Americans. Just 14% of business owners would benefit from the new 25% top rate, and only 4% of all taxpayers—the wealthiest business owners—would get this tax cut, according to TPC. 

By comparison, more and more middle-class families will get a tax increase under the Trump-GOP plan. According to TPC:

  • 3 out of 10 middle-class families making between $50,000 and $150,000 a year will pay more taxes by the tenth year.
  • It will cost them nearly $2,000 more, on average, depending on their income (range is $1,300 to $2,500).

The tax increases are due, in part, to the elimination of two tax breaks important to the middle class: the personal exemption, which is $4,050 per family member, and repeal of the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT). The SALT deduction is used by over a third of taxpayers making $50,000 to $75,000 and by over half of taxpayers making $75,000 to $100,000, according to the Government Finance Officers Association. If SALT is repealed, federal taxes would jump by $1,800 for an average family in this last income group.

Go here for data on how the Trump-GOP tax plan effects your state’s residents – summarizing tax cuts for the 1% and tax increases for the middle class, the number of estates taxed each year, and the importance of SALT to your state’s middle-class taxpayers.  


Advocates of the Trump-GOP tax plan claim it will generate significant economic growth and create many jobs. Some even say the plan will “pay for itself.” The president claims the corporate tax cuts will give workers a $4,000 wage hike—per his Council of Economic Advisers. Each of these claims has been thoroughly debunked.

  • Economists have widely discredited the White House claim that workers will get a $4,000 raise from cutting the corporate tax rate. They’ve criticized the methodology of the study and pointed to the large body of economic research that says the wealthy get the lion’s share of corporate tax cuts.
  • Corporate profits are already near record highs; corporate taxes are at record lows. Many corporations pay little to nothing in taxes due to tax loopholes, while sitting atop mountains of cash. Profits are mostly used to pad the pockets of top executives and wealthy shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks. If corporations are not investing the profits they have now in their businesses and employees, there’s no reason to believe they will use money from tax cuts to expand operations, hire workers or raise wages.
  • Rather than spur growth, these tax cuts for the rich and corporations could hurt the economy and cost jobs by causing big cuts to education, healthcare, infrastructure construction and other critical investments. Tax cuts for the rich and corporations create few jobs compared with investing in education, healthcare and infrastructure.
  • Huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations do not pay for themselves through miraculous economic growth. History shows that they just increase the deficit and force cuts to services while the rich get richer.

Even conservative economists reject the economic benefit claims being made by the White House:

  • Bruce Bartlett, a top adviser to President Ronald Reagan who helped craft Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts, has concluded, “There’s no evidence that a tax cut now would spur growth.”
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget office, who as president of the American Action Forum is actively promoting the GOP tax plan, has conceded, “These tax cuts are not going to pay for themselves.”
  • Joel Slemrod, a University of Michigan economist who was another top economic adviser to President Reagan, has said: “Can tax cuts pay for themselves? The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that this is not true.”

The Trump-GOP tax plan, and the budget that will facilitate its passage and being voted on in the Senate this week, are bad for working families and bad for Main Street. The wealthy and corporations should not get one penny in tax cuts. Instead, they need to start paying their fair share so we can protect Social Security, healthcare, and public education from future cuts, as well as finance the investments needed to rebuild our infrastructure, improve education, expand health care, and research new medical cures. Such investments will create many more jobs than giving tax breaks to the well-off, and they will make working families much more productive and secure.



Vote Was on the House Budget Resolution in Congress that set the stage for Trump-Ryan Tax Plan

WASHINGTON — Earlier today, the House of Representatives voted 219 to 206 in favor of the Republican House budget resolution that proposed $5.8 trillion in cuts over the next decade to Medicare, Medicaid, education, infrastructure and other critical services while paving the way for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that would mostly benefit the wealthy and corporations. The vote was almost entirely along party lines, with 18 Republicans joining all Democrats against the resolution.

The budget resolution also set up a procedure for fast-track consideration of tax legislation, enabling Senate Republicans to bypass bipartisanship to pass a tax plan with just 51 votes, rather than 60 votes typically required for such contentious legislation.

Congressional Republican leaders and President Trump released a framework for massive tax cuts last week that will cost at least $2.4 trillion, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. The wealthy and corporations, which are primarily owned by rich shareholders, are the big winners. About 80% of the tax cuts will flow to the top 1% by 2027, when they would get a tax cut of $207,000, on average. That year under the plan, 3 out of 10 middle-class families making between $50,000 and $150,000 a year will pay $2,000 more in taxes, on average, depending on their income (the range is $1,300 to $2,500).

These large tax cuts will balloon the deficit and further jeopardize funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education. Included in the $5.8 trillion in cuts to services under the House-passed budget are Medicaid and other healthcare programs ($1.5 trillion), Medicare ($487 billion), and nutrition assistance ($150 billion).

“This budget resolution is the first step toward an immoral tax scheme that will hand trillions of dollars to millionaires and corporations at the expense of millions of America’s working families, many of whom will actually see a tax increase” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “These tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations will ultimately be paid for by cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, education, disability services, and other national priorities, while the expansion of the deficit will further threaten Social Security. The Republicans who voted to advance this plan owe their constituents an explanation.”  

Below is an explanation of the tax cuts proposed under the Trump-GOP tax framework compared with the spending cuts proposed in the House budget resolution.

A more detailed version of this chart with sources is available here:


Tax Breaks for the Richest 1%:

In the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans will get 53% of the total tax cuts in 2018 and 80% after 10 years. They will get a tax cut of $129,000 in 2018, on average, and $207,000 in the 10th year. [Source: Tax Policy Center]

Estate Tax Repeal:

The Trump-Ryan tax plan eliminates estate and gift taxes, losing $240 billion over 10 years and boosting the inheritances of the very wealthy. The federal estate tax is paid only by estates worth at least $5.5 million, just 2 out of 1,000 estates, or only 5,500 estates in all of 2017. [Sources: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and Tax Policy Center]

Repeal of the State and Local Tax Deduction:

The Trump-Ryan tax plan repeals the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), raising taxes on the middle class and undermining local public services. Repealing SALT would raise $1.3 trillion over 10 years. Taxpayers can deduct state and local property taxes, and either income or sales taxes, from their federal taxable income. Over a third of taxpayers making $50-75,000 use the SALT deduction, and over half of those making $75-100,000. An average family in this last group would see their federal taxes jump by $1,800 if SALT is repealed. In addition to boosting middle-class taxes, repeal of the SALT deduction will make local taxation more expensive, putting pressure on localities to cut budgets for services like roads and schools. [Sources: Tax Policy CenterGovernment Finance Officers Assoc.]

Updated Analysis: Trump’s Unpaid-For Tax Cuts May Total $5 Trillion In New Tax Plan

Failure to pay for tax cuts by closing tax loopholes may put Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Education on the Chopping Block

WASHINGTON, D.C.—An analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness of the tax framework released today by President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress shows that Trump’s tax cuts could total a massive $6.7 to $8.3 trillion, $3 to $5 trillion of which may not be paid for by closing other tax loopholes and/or by limiting tax deductions. The resulting jump in the deficit threatens funding of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and other vital services. The framework is very similar to key features of the tax plans previously released by President Trump and House Speaker Ryan, which is the basis for ATF’s analysis.

The table below summarizes the proposed tax cuts in the Trump-Republican leaders’ tax plan, along with estimates of their considerable costs. The new tax plan is likely to:

  • Provide massive tax cuts that largely benefit the richest Americans and biggest corporations—through direct tax cuts and indirectly through big cuts in corporate taxes, 80% of which benefit wealthier Americans, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.
  • Provide a modest middle-class tax cut, largely by doubling the standard deduction, although much of that could be taken away if the tax plan repeals the personal exemption and the head of household filing status.
  • Not come close to being paid for by closing tax loopholes, which will likely result in deep cuts now or next year to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and many other priorities working families depend on. These cuts were outlined in President Trump’s FY2018 budget, which proposed $4.3 trillion in cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, public education and other non-defense programs; and in the House budget, which proposed $5.8 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid public education and other non-defense programs and that is awaiting floor action.

“The idea that this plan would help average Americans instead of the wealthy and big corporations has been a hoax all along,” said Frank Clemente, executive director, Americans for Tax Fairness. “This isn’t ‘tax reform,’ it’s just a big giveaway to millionaires and corporations, and it won’t ‘trickle down’ to the rest of us. It won’t help small businesses, but it will help Wall Street hedge fund managers and real estate moguls like Donald Trump. This plan will not lead to robust job creation or economic growth, but its eye-popping cost will lead to deep cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and public education that will leave working families in the cold.”


Cost estimates are mostly from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, and are ten-year estimates except where noted.

$1.8 Trillion[1] Cut the corporate tax rate from 35% down to 20%, or by more than 40%, and repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT).
$390 – $660 Billion[2] Cut the top tax rate on business income from nearly 40% down to 25%, or by more than a third, on hedge funds, corporate law practices, real estate investment firms like President Trump’s and other wealthy “pass-through” businesses.
$900 Billion – $2.2 Trillion[3] Allow businesses to immediately deduct, or “expense,” the full cost of capital investments in vehicles,equipment, structures, etc. (Media reports indicate this tax break might be scheduled to expire after five years. But most of the revenue loss occurs in the early years, and once the break exists it may be hard to eliminate.)
$205 Billion[4] Establish a territorial tax system that would exempt American corporations from paying any U.S. income taxes on foreign profits.
$2 Trillion[5] Lower the top tax rate on individuals from 39.6% to 35% and reduce six other tax brackets to just two—12% and 25%.[6]
$445 Billion[7] Repeal the AMT which prevents wealthy taxpayers like Trump from using excessive deductions and other loopholes to sharply reduce or eliminate their taxes.
$708 Billion[8] Double the standard deduction to $12,000 for an individual and $24,000 for a married couple.
$239 Billion[9] Repeal estate and gift taxes, which would boost dramatically the inheritances of millionaires and billionaires, since the tax only applies to estates worth at least $5.5 million.[10] Trump’s heirs could gain billions of dollars.
$1.5 Trillion[11] Repeal itemized deductions other than charitable giving and mortgage interest.
$1.3 – $1.9 Trillion[12] Repeal the personal exemption and the head of household filing status; possibly expand nonrefundable credit by $500 per dependent. This could take away much of the benefit to middle-income people of doubling the standard deduction.[13]
$271 Billion[14] Repeal certain business tax expenditures.
$150 Billion[15] Deemed repatriation tax of up to 10% on accumulated foreign profits.
TBD Repeal/modify the state and local tax deduction.
$3.2 – $3.8 TRILLION TOTAL


[1] Tax Policy Center (TPC), “Dynamic Analysis of the House GOP Tax Plan: An Update” (June 30, 2017), Table 5, p. 12.

[2] TPC, “Options to Reduce the Taxation of Pass-through Income” (May 15, 2017), p. 6.

[3] The Tax Foundation, “Full Expensing Costs Less than You’d Think” (June 13, 2017). These cost estimates are based on current tax rates. If corporate tax rates are reduced, the cost of this tax break would decline.

[4] TPC, “An Analysis of Marco Rubio’s Tax Plan” (Feb. 11, 2016), p. 10.

[5] TPC, “The Implications of What We Know and Don’t Know About President Trump’s Tax Plan” (July 12, 2017), Table 2.

[6] A Tax Policy Center analysis of an earlier version of Trump’s tax plan with rates of 12%, 25% and 33% showed a revenue loss of $1.5 trillion (Table 2), so the cost of these rate cuts may fall between $1.5 and $2 trillion.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Ten Facts You Should Know About the Federal Estate Tax” (May 5, 2017).

[11] TPC, “The Implications of … Trump’s Tax Plan,” Table 2.

[12] $1.3 trillion figure is from TPC, “Dynamic Analysis of the House GOP Tax Plan,” Table 5; $1.9 trillion figure is from TPC, “The Implications of…Trump’s Tax Plan,” Table 2.

[13] Center for American Progress, “How Middle-Class and Working Families Could Lose Under the Trump Tax Plan” (June 13, 2017).

[14] TPC, “The Implications of … Trump’s Tax Plan,” Table 2.

[15] Ibid.

ATF Launches New Campaign Showing the True Costs of Trump’s Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and Corporations Will Show Visitors How Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Healthcare, Education and  Other Working Family Priorities Line Up Against Trump’s Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and Corporations

(WASHINGTON) — Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 425 endorsing groups united in support of a fair tax system, is launching a new campaign against Donald Trump’s and Congressional Republicans’ plans to slash taxes for the wealthy and corporations, which will threaten deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and many more critical services.

The online hub of the campaign is, where visitors can see how Trump’s proposed tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations would seriously harm working families.

For example:

  • The $1.9 trillion in proposed cuts to Medicaid and other healthcare services in Trump’s budget is similar in size to the $1.4 trillion to $2 trillion business tax cut Trump is proposing, which would benefit hedge fund managers and real estate developers like Trump.
  • The $193 billion in cuts to nutrition assistance in the Trump budget is similar to the revenue lost from Trump’s elimination of the tax on estates worth more than $5.5 million, which would cost $240 billion.
  • A $72 billion cut in services for people with disabilities will pay for half of Trump’s $150 billion tax cut on investment income for the wealthy.

The overall size of Trump’s proposed budget cuts, $4.3 trillion, is remarkably similar to the cost of the tax cuts that Trump is proposing – between $3.5 trillion and $4.8 trillion. It’s almost as if Trump had planned it that way!

“We can’t afford tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that are paid for by cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and other services that working families rely on,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “Side-by-side, there’s no denying it: Trump’s draconian cuts to services that will harm working families are intended to pay for his massive tax giveaways to big corporations and the wealthy. Helping the American people understand what’s at stake is how we will win the tax fight.” is an unbranded campaign hub that will provide resources for the public and allied groups in their fight against Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. It will include materials for organizers to use at protests, rallies, and town halls and provide regular updates on grassroots events and highlights from those events. ATF is coordinating a broad coalition of organizations mobilizing in Washington, D.C. and at the grassroots to oppose Trump’s tax giveaways.

Quotes from some of those coalition partners follow:

American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Lee Saunders, International President: “We need a budget and tax policy that lifts up working people, not one that weakens vital services like Medicaid and Medicare, all to pay for massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. President Trump and Members of Congress were elected to serve working people – people like nurses, firefighters, police officers and teachers who keep our communities healthy, safe and strong. We should put their priorities first, not the privileged and powerful.” 

AFL-CIO, William Samuel, Government Affairs Director: “President Trump and Republicans in Congress want us to believe our country is broke and we have no choice but to demand sacrifices from working people, but they want to waste trillions of dollars on tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations that send jobs offshore. We need a different approach that invests in good-paying jobs for working people in America and eliminates all tax incentives for corporations to send jobs offshore and stash their profits overseas.”

Center for American Progress, Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs: “The American people won’t be taken in by this scam again. They know from experience under the Bush era that tax cuts for millionaires and corporations will not benefit the U.S. economy, jobs, or the middle class. It’s frankly offensive that the Trump administration and Congressional Republican leaders continue to push this myth at a time when economic inequality and corporate profits are at historically high levels. Corporations and the wealthy already don’t pay their fair share, and giving them even more tax cuts would further threaten our health care, housing, transportation and schools.” 

Coalition on Human Needs, Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director: “First, Trump tried to repeal health care for millions to pay for tax cuts for the rich and drug and insurance companies. Americans rejected that, but now Trump is back with something even worse: trillions in tax cuts for corporations and the rich paid for by taking away health care, food, housing, education, job training, and many other vital services from millions of Americans. Don’t be fooled: this is a plan to make America weaker, poorer, and sicker, so the rich can get richer.”

Daily Kos, Mara Schechter, Campaign Director: “The massive tax cuts for the top 1% and big corporations that Trump and Paul Ryan are proposing are an assault on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and so much more. Just as we did in opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Daily Kos will mobilize our millions of online supporters against this unprecedented transfer of wealth from working families to the wealthy few.” 

Economic Policy Institute, Larry Mishel, President: “President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress will try to sell their tax cuts for the rich and wealthy corporations as a magic elixir that will create jobs and grow the economy. But they will generate neither economic nor wage growth for the vast majority. Corporate profits are already near record highs and corporate taxes as a share of the economy at record lows. It’s time they paid their fair share.”  

Indivisible Project, Angel Padilla, Policy Director: “Republicans think they can trick the American people into supporting their massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations by calling it ‘tax reform’ and using the vaguest terms possible to talk about what they’re doing. We know their game: this is nothing but a plan to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations paid for by taking away Medicaid, Medicare, and other basic services. The American people didn’t support tax cuts for the rich when they were in the Republican health care bill and they don’t support them through this ‘tax reform’ charade either.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Vanita Gupta, President and CEO: will highlight who will benefit from the Trump tax cuts— millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations—and who will be hurt, which is the rest of us. By slashing assistance to the most vulnerable and by cutting crucial programs like Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid, and food assistance, Trump will subsidize his tax cuts. This website should help everyone see clearly what is at stake for them and their families in this tax and budget fight and what they can do to make their voices heard.”, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, CEO and Executive Director: “President Trump’s plan to slash taxes on the wealthy and corporations would be a disaster for the country. It would wreak havoc on our economy and punish families that are already struggling to get by, redistributing wealth in ways that perpetuate and deepen inequities. This is not the right direction for our country. We need a plan that boosts our economy by investing in working families and strengthening programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, while at the same time investing in programs that boost health care, education, nutrition and safety. The Trump plan would threaten the wellbeing of women, communities of color, families, people who live in rural areas, and all those who struggle financially. Its enactment would create a crisis for our nation.”

National Women’s Law Center, Anna Chu, Vice President for Income Security and Education: “Millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations certainly don’t need any more tax breaks. But that’s exactly what the administration proposes. Instead, we must invest in women and families, work to secure higher wages that will put more money in the pockets of families, expand access to affordable health care, and provide services that are critical supports for people in need. Trump’s misguided tax giveaway for the rich and corporations is the last thing America needs.”

People’s Action, LeeAnn Hall, Co-Director: “The voices in the White House and Congress who are championing more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, and cuts in programs that provide necessary support for the poor, the sick, children and the elderly, do not speak for us. The millions of us who rose up against the Trump-Republican health care repeal will continue to rise up to defend and strengthen Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and insist that the wealthy pay their fair share for the services that sustain our communities.”