It’s now tax refund season, and Trump voters are faced with yet more proof that Republicans and the Trump administration care nothing for their best interest. Back in December of 2017 Republicans celebrated the passage of their new tax bill on the White House lawn, when Donald Trump remarked “It’s always a lot of fun when you win.”
Trump may have been oblivious to the fact that the majority of Americans were opposed to the new bill, but Mitch McConnell seemed to acknowledge this fact when he admitted that the GOP now had to sell the public on the benefits of the new bill. McConnell famously stated at the time: “My view of this is, if we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work.” If only Mitch would take his own advice.
Now that tax refund season has rolled around, many Americans are finding that their refunds are quite a bit lower, sometimes drastically so, than what they’ve come to expect. In fact, many middle-class Americans are finding they actually owe money to the IRS. Anyone familiar with middle-class America, or who knows what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, knows that the annual tax refund is something a huge swath of Americans not only look forward to, but have come to depend on.
Many are blaming excessive witholding practices for their lower tax refunds, but this is a tiny fraction of the problem. The main issue is that the amount of taxable income for the average American family has been increased due to the loss of numerous deductions and exemptions. The amount of taxes we pay is based on our taxable income. When we could deduct things like state and local taxes, real estate and property taxes, charitable contributions and many others that are no longer allowed, we reduced the amount of our taxable income, thereby reducing the total amount of tax we owed.
Since those deductions are no longer allowed, our taxable income is increased, meaning overall we pay much more in taxes. Sure, the larger standard deductions make up for some of it, but for many Americans, their refund is still much lower than what they’re used to.
Republicans have known all along that this would be the result, but they care more about staying beholden to their corporate overlords than they do about the average American. This tax bill was only intended to make the corporations richer at the expense of middle-class America.
Adrienne Lilly lives in Upstate New York with her two children. She works as a manufacturing engineer.