President Trump and congressional Republicans have pitched their tax plan as a boost for the middle class. "The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan," Trump told reporters during a meeting with lawmakers in mid-September.
But analysts at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center who studied the proposal reached a very different conclusion. They predict that nearly three-quarters of the savings from the tax overhaul would go to the top 20 percent of earners — those making more than $149,000. More than half the savings would go to the top 1 percent — people who earn more than $732,800. The tax breaks are even more tilted to the wealthy by the 10th year of the overhaul, when the Tax Policy Center projects nearly 80 percent of the savings would go to the top 1 percent of earners.
Administration officials have tried to discredit the center's analysis, noting the tax plan is so far just a framework with many of the details still to be filled in by Congress. "All I can tell you is that no one can make real detailed analysis of the plan yet, because it's not finished," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.
The Tax Policy Center analysts acknowledge having to make some assumptions as they did their review. They based those assumptions on reasonable sources, including past Republican tax blueprints and the administration's own April outline. The center has promised to revise its forecast as lawmakers fill in the blanks of the tax plan. But the big picture is not likely to change.