Red ink, inequity and pain


To dive into an ocean of red ink for a tax cut that will do little to boost the economy is one thing. To pretend it benefits middle-class families is, at the least, cynical.

It is impossible to view either the Senate or House tax bills moving in Washington as anything but a boost to the wealthy.

Responsible analysis by respected research organizations makes this apparent. The wealthy don’t just do the best in this legislation — they are the clear focus of it.

New data released by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy offer several key illustrations of how the Senate Republican proposal released late last week will affect Iowans:

  • The middle 20 percent of families, people making between $59,300 and $87,080 (average $72,400) receive only 11 percent of the overall tax cut. Meanwhile, the top 20 percent receive more than half — 56 percent.
  • The average tax change for the middle group is a $760 cut. In the top 1 percent, people making $1.46 million a year, on average, the average tax cut is $36,450.
  • Nine percent of Iowa taxpayers would see a tax increase in this tax-cut bill — 13 percent of the middle group would see an increase, on average, $520. Only 2 percent of the top 1 percent would see an increase.
  • The bottom 60 percent of Iowa taxpayers would receive less than one-fourth of the total tax cut (23 percent), $493.2 million, while the top 1 percent would receive more, at $517.5 million.

Those who are promoting this bill should at least have the honesty to call it what it is: a new handout to the wealthy — one that everyone will pay for, to the tune of $1.5 trillion over 10 years, and an almost certain loss of critical services that benefit all.


2017-owen5464Mike Owen is executive director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project.